Richard Kilroy is a fashion illustrator, writer and editor. He graduated with a BA (Hons) in Visual Communications 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. Richard was one of just five illustrators to have new work included in the exhibition. Since then his clients have included Topshop, Canali, Hobbs, British Knitwear Label John Smedley and actor Idris Elba.
In 2014 Richard held an exhibition of new work ‘The Cosmo Sketches’ in collaboration with Tom Greyhound, Paris & A Magazine, and in the same year produced illustrations for French magazine Numéro. Richard also publishes Decoy, a limited edition publication focusing solely on fashion illustration, now in its fourth edition. In 2013 a selection of ten of Richard’s works became part of the V&A's permanent collection of fashion drawings, and then in February 2015 his book Menswear Illustration was released.
As well as working on commissions and Decoy, Richard is also a tutor at Central St. Martins, London and 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?
Just to expand on my own visual styles of work and ways of working. My tutor at Leeds Arts University, Graham Tansley asked me in a tutorial once what my five year to ten year life plan was, and it was to improve the perception and usage of fashion illustration, so I guess it's to continue this.