Rich Verlander | Illustration and being weird

Rich Verlander - Illustration and being weird


It all started for me with a roll of old lining paper and a packet of crayons, at the age of about 5, probably an attempt from my parents to stop me drawing on the wallpaper.

I always had a vivid imagination, others have said weird (which I’m not disputing).
The urge has been there for as long as I can remember to get the pictures out of my head and onto paper, canvas, digital screen, or whatever other media was to hand at the time.

I was read lots of stories as a kid, and I think that helps develop a keen visual imagination.
I can remember (even now) the faces of the characters from some of those early stories that would form in my head as my mother read to me.

I currently live and work on the Isle of Wight, but was born in London in the early 70’s during (in my humble opinion) the golden age of kids cartoons, these also had a great influence on my sense of visual humour.

My parents moved to the Island during the 80’s, and I found it a little hard to fit in to the rural scene after being a London kid.

But art came to the rescue there too, as I found the other kids liked my drawings, and would often ask me to draw their favourite cartoon character on the cover of exercise books, and folders…..not so popular with the teachers however…oops.

I was fortunate to have had some encouraging art teachers through my school career, and I went on after A-levels to study Art & Design at both Portsmouth College of Art, and Norwich School of Art and Design.

After leaving college, and failing to find employment in the art world, I spent many years in retail management, but art was always there running alongside it. And now finally at the ripe old age of 47 I can say Im a full-time struggling Artist.

Rich Verlander - Illustration and being weird

My Work is illustrative mostly, I take great pleasure in bringing characters, whether human, animal, or imaginary creature, to life on the page.

I don’t really have a ‘style’, I kind of work organically on each piece of drawing, letting the character dictate how they evolve and turn out..(told you I was weird). I also find if I try and restrict myself to a signature style (as I have tried in the past), I feel ‘hemmed in’ and that I’m missing out on something. So my work ranges from cartoon, company logo design, to classic children’s illustration, and gothic horror.

I do dabble in ‘proper arty-art’ now and again, my favourite being portraiture, particularly children, there’s something joyful about capturing a kids smile just right.

My paid work is mainly on commission brief, which can be interesting and challenging in equal measure. I like the interaction with the client, and working towards something that they are 100% happy with using their ideas and mine in combination. It’s good to see how someone else’s mind works, it stops me getting blinkered.

Digital media plays more of a role in my work these days, and I find the the use of graphic software, and digital drawing tablets invaluable. The digital landscape allows me to tweak and redo a piece over and over, until I’m happy (I’m bit of a perfectionist).

A lot of my own designs I transfer to products, as they lend themselves to garments and hard media such as ceramicware, mugs, plates, etc, and of course everyone loves a T-Shirt right?, the modern canvas of our time.

I have a hot press in my Studio/Lounge, so I’m able to print a lot of the media from digital file myself up to A3 size.

These are challenging times for all artists, and making a living at it isn’t easy, but if you gotta create, you gotta create!!.

Rich Verlander - Illustration and being weird

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