Winner of last year’s 2016 Creative Awards design competition, Richard Horne’s graphic design and digital illustration work has a vibrant energy to it. The young creative combines analog techniques like pen and pencil with digital tools to complete pieces, often hand drawing his artworks before scanning them into Photoshop where he applies the vibrant hues that inform his distinctive palette. The theme tying together his portfolio is a unique view on skate and street culture in Cape Town and Johannesburg, which is exemplified by his youthful character drawings and streetwear label Average.
Fresh out of college, we catch up with Richard about his passion for street culture, fashion, and the digital world of creativity.
What did you study and where?
I studied Graphic Design at Ruth Prowse School of Art.
How and why did you become interested in digital design and illustration?
I have always been into cartoons and I’ve been drawing since I was a kid so as I got older, I started looking for careers in the creative industry and that’s when I found graphic design. I enjoyed traditional techniques but I’ve always wanted to go into the digital world of creativity. In my college’s design course there were a lot of drawing and illustration classes and it was only in the second year of my studies that I really started to grasp what digital illustration is and that’s when I got passionate about working as an illustrator. I enjoy illustration this much because it combines everything I love creatively and that it gives you the opportunity to grow and explore.
Please tell us about some of the themes and ideas that you’ve been exploring in your student work.
Some of the themes that I explored in my student work were skateboarding, streetwear fashion, and subcultures. My thesis was based on the street culture scene in Cape Town and South Africa, the growth that has been happening in these sectors and how illustration and design plays an important part in it.
How did this feed into your final project? What was the concept and how did you execute it?
Exploring those topics really gave me a better understanding about the things that I’m passionate about and how I could reflect it through my illustration. In one of the final projects that we had done I was able to use both illustration and design and I used all my knowledge of street wear and street culture. As a project I started a clothing brand that is inspired by the street culture and is for the street culture and also staying true to my visual language as an Illustrator and designer. The brand’s name is Average. I’ve always felt average whether its been academically and or in other parts of my life so I wanted to take the whole concept of what is considered average and change it to how I have always seen it. I think I best executed it in the Math Lit Paper 2 t-shirt graphic. I wanted the brand fit into the street wear scene that I am interested in and also have similar qualities to what a lot of successful street wear brands have while also being somewhat different. I created a series of illustrations called “Our Youth” looking at the youth through street wear trends and I designed a corporate identity for the brand. I then used the illustrations on the t-shirts and on skateboards. Aside from the “Our Youth” series I created, the Math Lit Paper 2 t-shirt graphic, the vector style illustration shows the mark I received was 50% but to me it was a A+ because I sucked at maths and wasn’t really into it and getting an average mark meant that much to me. I guess that was the whole concept of the brand and just using it as a canvas to not only show my skill as a designer and illustrator but also creating a starting point to get my foot into the street wear scene as I am so passionate about it.
What has your experience as a student been like? What valuable lessons did you learn along the way?
My experience as a student has been crazy. I really went through a lot but I felt like I learned so much in the three years I studied. I never had art in school so going into college I wasn’t really sure of what to expect at all but I’m glad I decided to do things the way I did. It wasn’t easy at all but I learnt lessons that I couldn’t have learnt anywhere else. One of the best things I learnt was to not underestimate myself and to just work as hard as possible. Winning first place in the Creative Awards Poster Design Competition was one of the moments I realized that you have to keep pushing and working hard and things will work out for the best, no matter where you come from or what you’re circumstances are. Also NEVER be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand something and Youtube is your best friend. One more very important lesson that a friend of mine and talented illustrator Russell Abrahams taught me is: REFINE, REFINE, REFINE. Never be satisfied with your first draft and always push your work to be the best that it can be.
Please tell us about your creative process.
My creative process is pretty mellow and varies according to the project I am working on. I usually just put on some music and write some words relating to what I am doing and then I do some scamps based on these words. I also sometimes look at different references online. If I’m doing illustration work I love looking at look books for inspiration. After doing most of the planning I do a rough sketch on paper before doing the final. I enjoy inking sketched out artworks traditionally with pen and ink and coloring it in on Photoshop. More recently I have just been sketching in Photoshop and doing everything digitally, just to improve my hand style digitally.
What’s the best piece of advice you received while studying?
The best piece of advice I got while studying came from a friend of mine, Elton Dick. Who is a graphic designer and the owner of Loki Clothing and he was also one of the reasons I got into graphic design. He told me to always stay creative. No matter what job I’m working on or where I find myself, he told me to always push the boundaries and be creative. Whether its photography, design, painting, illustration or clothing. Those words really stuck with me and have helped me creatively in trying new things and thinking out of the box.
Where do I see myself on 10 years?
My dream and goal right now is to be a full time illustrator so in 10 years I would like to have been working in the creative industry for a good amount of time and have built up a strong client base. I also want to have consistent work coming in and have good exposure as an illustrator. I would also want to have developed my brand more. Hopefully reaching more people and really impacting the local scene, adding to what is an already an amazing street culture. Skateboarding is also important to me so I definitely want to take the brand further in that direction too. I just want to have a stable income doing what I love and continue to embracing Cape Town and South Africa for its diversity and having a impact with my visual language. To end it off on in 10 years time I want have done at least 2 collaboration projects with Vans, haha!
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