January 7, 2011
Ryan Blomberg is an illustrator living in Brooklyn whose work has graced the pages of fashion blogs, magazines and independent literary journals. His style ranges from intricate pen and watercolor pictures of building facades and everyday objects to campy crayon drawings of daytime talk-show hosts. Today he tells us a little bit about his current work and future ambitions.
Helen Schumacher: Where did you go to school? What did you study?
Ryan Blomberg: I went to school in Oregon for photography, where I took it too seriously and now can’t stand it—which was probably a good thing, because it made me realize how important fun, purely visual art is.
So how did you go from photography to illustration?
I’ve always loved drawing and I’ve always loved illustration. I would just “read” magazines for the images when I was young. I remember being really young and realizing that somebody actually draws this stuff—that it doesn’t just come from some kind of picture machine. I think this is why I don’t like things to be too polished; it let’s you really see where it’s coming from and who’s behind it. Eventually I realized that I should probably take my own work more seriously, which can still be a challenge.
What materials do you use?
I use pen and gouache mostly. I’ve always been interested in simple line work and color. I sort of don’t know how to draw without my favorite pen I’ve been using for the last 13 or so years. For my cheesy caricatures I use marker and crayon, because I want them to look like bad fan art.
How would you describe your current work?
Lately I’ve been working on architectural drawings with lots of detail. I’m also trying out my own take on fashion illustration. I always try to keep my work relatively classic. It’s totally about the line quality for me. I like things to look slightly unfinished; that way you see the process, instead of just a polished image. I gloss over things if they look too nice.
Do you have a work routine or schedule?
Well, I work a standard Monday through Friday job and usually try to work on drawings at least three or four nights a week, whether it’s after work, while watching movies, or when I can’t sleep.
Do you have daytime gig?
I work for a large magazine publisher in the fashion department archives.
Who or what are you inspired by?
I’m always inspired by the old fashion and cartoon illustrations that I come across at work. I’m constantly printing them out and pinning them to my walls until they get so cluttered that I just have to clear them out and start over.
You just won a million dollars playing scratch-off lottery tickets, how do you spend the money?
Buy a cabin, a van and a lot of ferns. Peace, girl!
Any future projects we should know about?
I just did some t-shirts for [the Manhattan and Brooklyn clothing boutique] Oak.