Paul Richardson’s Very tall umbrellas…

Paul Richardson’s illustrations are so beautifully simple and so inspiring at the same time. It saddens me I cannot upload more! From personal illustrations to animation characters Paul’s’ work is utterly magical.

Introduce yourself/tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Paul Richardson, I am 22 years of age, and I currently live and study in Glasgow, Scotland. I have always been creative, by way of drawing mostly; since being at school, I’ve always learned best my seeing things, which is probably why I started drawing, instead of reading and writing, like many of my friends. My use of words isn’t very strong, so I think art helped me out of that struggle. Please forgive my conversational tone, I write as I think. I’m no wordsmith.

What and who inspires your work?

It’s difficult to say what inspires me. I’d say anything and everything. I am constantly observing, and if I see something that strikes me, it may lead me to create my own interpretation of it. It can be something as commonplace as a shadow on the wall. In addition, I like finding something beautiful in something that other people may overlook. I like that maybe my work can remind people that there is beauty in everything; you just have to look a bit harder.

Also, I find music a great stimulant for creative work. I usually listen to soundscapes or music relevant to the work I am doing- it gives me an extra bit of “umph”.

I love Tim Burton and Edward Gorey as illustrators, I always have done, as they give such wonderful atmosphere to their images and are not afraid to be different. I don’t really consider myself as very different, but I admire those who pioneer. Victorian Neo-Victorian and steampunk are my vices. I am a big fan of film noir and animated films, I find their dynamic angles, camera movement and use of light very useful.

What process do you use for drawing? 

My process is horrifically straightforward. I’m afraid there are no real magic tricks and illusions with me.

Usually I draw an image by hand on paper and then scan these images into the computer, where I will digitally render them. I like that in most of my images you can still see my construction lines. I prefer my pictures not to be pristine, because my mind isn’t pristine. I don’t like to draw without a very clear idea of what I am going to do. Many of the drawings I do are (day) dreams I’ve had therefore cannot use references. I prefer working from my head; it feels a bit more like work that way. I like having to think about how exactly, for example, the light would fall on that part of the face or just how the arm bends. It may take a few tries, but I like the “problem solving” approach. “A drawing is an enquiry,” as my old art teacher Norman used to tell my class constantly. “Are you enquiring enough?” And since then, I prefer seeing a drawing or illustration as just that. I am posing a question. The answer might not be crystal clear, and might be a little rough around the edges, but I prefer to interpret it my way.

Tell us a little about your gay themed images?

Well, all of my work is very personal. I don’t really create my pictures for other people, they are just my way of externalising what is inside of me. This might be considered selfish, but I use my drawings much like other people keep a diary, where their innermost thoughts and feelings are externalised and then hidden away. I just draw my diary instead and I don’t really mind people looking at it. More often than not, my work is not literal, so I’m not really being too exposed. Being a gay man, naturally, there are some gay themes running through my work. I feel we are still at a point where things of a homosexual nature are still considered a bit, taboo? Is that the right word? Like a fart in a lift, it’s there but no one wants to talk about it. Or seedy, or secretive. I like to show the innocence and simple beauty being gay can involve. I very much doubt we’ll see a gay love story being the main plot of a Disney animation in the immediate future, so I might as well create some images involving that theme. For me. I did initially want to create images for gay greetings cards, for marriages, civil partnerships, or just for someone special etc. Perhaps that’s something that I will look into in the future though I think I’d want to do a line of cards that include gay themed cards also, although not just specifically those.

What’s your favourite thing to draw?

I love drawing people; people in environments, or just them alone, depending on what style of image I am going for. Recently I have started doing a few digital paintings though I use reference for these. Yes, I am a bundle of hypocrisy. I find a different challenge with these, as they do have to look like the person being studied. The reason I started doing this is that I find I constantly lose the ability to draw. I have some very good days, where work just flies out of me, and some days where I can be sat trying to draw, but it’s like squeezing blood from a stone. Nothing comes out, apart from the odd expletive. As you can see, I digress; I lose the topic so easily. I like to draw people and figures. A lot of my work features people whose faces aren’t clear. I have found that many people can relate a bit more to a picture if the figures aren’t given a solid identity. It could be someone you know in that picture. It could be you. It’s reflection. Shouldn’t I want you to feel connected to a piece? I feel that it’s a bonus, for sure.

What’s your favourite piece of artwork you have done and why?

My favourite is probably the picture of my granddad, probably because it’s the most personal. Its no masterpiece, there is no technique in it to be honest, nothing is done for the sake of it, it is a complete memory, so I had to just try and get the memory on paper as quickly as possible. It was about three o’clock in the morning, and I just really missed him for some reason, I have no idea what brought it on. It’d been five years since he had died, so I wasn’t particularly grieving. However, I just had to draw him. Whenever I’d stayed at my grandparents house as a child, I’d always come down the stairs in the morning and my granddad would always be already sat at the kitchen table by the window, sporting huge black-rimmed reading spectacles, flat cap hung on the back, with his cup of coffee and the newspaper he’d just been out to get. It is the strongest memory I’d had of him, so I had to record it. It’s called “Good Morning Fred,” and in doing that picture it helped me, so I gave it to my Grandma as a present. I find I get all I need out of my work by simply doing them, and the process. After that, it’s up to anyone else.

You seem to draw a lot of Disney characters, is this something you would like to pursue one day? Ah yes, the Disney characters. Well, I find that seeing as they are very well known, it sometimes it helps to show people you can draw if they see a picture of a character they recognise and see it done well. Or perhaps in a way they’ve not seen before. I did a picture recently of Belle, the main character Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, and I drew her in a semi-realistic way, that people might not have seen, and the general feedback was very positive. People then give your own original artwork a chance because they’ve seen something they recognise.

When I was little, after my dreams of being a meteorologist (I was six at the time,) went down the drain, because I realised chasing tornadoes meant I had to move toAmerica, I decided that I’d love to work for Disney. In later years, I still love animation, and film making in general, especially the lighting, sound, and storyboarding processes, and I find I do not quite know where I want to go from here. Case and point, I am currently studying a Musical Theatre degree. I am a through and through creative. Who says I can’t have my thumbs in that many pies. In this climate, I’d say I need more thumbs.

See more of Pauls work on his Facebook page “Very Tall Umbrellas