Southern Ontario-born illustrator Peter Ryan is definitely an ideas man. His illustrations are rich with clever visual metaphors and layers of symbolism that make them interesting and engaging to unravel.
We’re glad that we were able to take a look at some of the preparatory work that goes into Peter’s illustration as the concepts are fundamental to the kind of images he creates. The second of the images below is a cover Peter created for the Houston Press.
The article was about child abuse that had taken place at a summer camp so it was interesting to see how he handled such a serious topic. The other concepts he came up with are equally as interesting to take a look at, too. He explains the process he goes through to come up with ideas like these.
I draw/paint/silkscreen/whatever gets the job done. My illustrations are my best attempt to communicate a simple idea, sometimes I try to be a little funny. Every assignment is approached knowing there is a problem that needs to be solved and, without a doubt, there is a solution somewhere— often, that takes a lot of thinking but when I get lucky, it’s obvious.
I then do my best to not ruin everything with my rendering skills. It feels nice when all those stars align.
I’ve included a few random pages from my current sketchbook— but they all look like this. I fill up a sketchbook every 6 weeks or so, then archive them away with an elaborate filing system based on star wars stickers (true) for use at a later date.
The pages are pretty frantic, just getting down the idea and moving on. Often, when I go back to have a look at what I came up with, it’s hard to tell from the drawing. I feel a real sense of urgency when I’m trying to come up with ideas.
© Peter Ryan, 2014