Richard Kilroy is a fashion illustrator, writer and editor. He graduated with a BA (Hons) in Visual Communication in 2010.
It would be an understatement to say that Richard Kilroy has been busy since completing his studies, before even graduating he received an unexpected call commissioning him to produce a work for Dior illustrated: René Gruau and the Line of Beauty, an exhibition at Somerset House in London celebrating the work of renowned illustrator René Gruau as one of just five illustrators to have new work included in the exhibition.
Since then his portfolio has included artwork for Canali stores worldwide, the cover of the New York Observer and commissions for clients including A Magazine Curated By, Numéro, Paul Smith, Selfridges, SHOWstudio and Vman. Richard was most recently selected by Elton John to create the promotional campaign images for Diamonds, his Ultimate Greatest Hits, with illustrations featured in the special edition package and promotions including billboards and tube posters. (to be released November 2017).
Other recent commissions in 2017 include a visit to the Couture houses in Paris to record outfits for French newspaper supplement Les Echos Weekend, visiting the ateliers of Dior, Schiaparelli and Chanel amongst others to draw live from fittings and castings.
Image: Richard Kilroy for John Smedley ©Richard Kilroy
Not just content with drawing, Richard has also created and published five issues of Decoy, a limited edition publication commissioning some of the most prominent illustrators in fashion. In February 2015 his book Menswear Illustration was published by Thames & Hudson, the first book of its kind to survey contemporary menswear illustrators.
In 2013 a selection of ten of Richard’s works became part of the V&A's permanent collection of fashion drawings. As well as working on commissions and Decoy, Richard has previously tutored at Central St. Martins, London and as a visiting lecturer at the Royal University of Art.
Richard tells us “It's always a double life with work. Income wise it's pretty even between commissions and tutoring, I wouldn't have one without the other! I tutor 2-3 days a week on average, then work in my studio space at home on illustrations.”
Can you tell us more about your time at Leeds Arts University and how the course helped you in starting out professionally?
My first two projects in first year were photography, not drawing, and actually received the highest marks in my degree. Although it would seem contradictory to my focus on being an illustrator, I photograph my subjects first to make the drawings, and it was important to be able to have that step. Having a module on website design was also very important for me to be able to promote my work in a clean, simple and effective way.
I think the flexibility of the course was personally beneficial for my practice. As an illustrator, it wasn't just about being able to draw, but to be able to learn how to apply my work and promote it.
What are your plans for the future?
It’s very important to me that while I continue with commissions I develop my style into new paths with personal work and don’t become known for always doing the same style. More personal projects including publishing and layout will continue I think, perhaps a small book of new drawings. As someone who writes and lectures in the field you become very aware of not only the positives of your work but also the shortcomings and possibilities!