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Willie Ryan

At 10 years of age, Willie Ryan had a conversation with a friend at school and decided that it would be a good idea to become a commercial artist. So he drew his way through school and eventually ended up living in Hastings with a view of the sea and a career as an illustrator. Besides drawing his bold graphical images, he loves playing guitar and has ambitions to record something and play live. He lives with his twin children who also play instruments, and his artist influences include Hergé, William Heath Robinson, Aubrey Beardsley, Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell. Willie’s future ambition is to sofa surf in Nashville, Tennessee.


Willie has a BA in Graphics and Illustration from Central Saint Martins in London.


To begin with, he scribbles down words and basic doodles on lined paper, often using the web to find reference images of people if any appear in the picture. Sometimes he’ll also take reference photos. He then creates roughs using ink and scans them in to be traced in Illustrator to create a vector drawing that he can tweak, scale and resize until the illustration is perfect.


Willie’s images are simple, graphic and minimal, with a limited palette of strong, flat colours. He works in two styles. For one, he creates bold emblems and icons using line work or flat, contrasting colours. The other is more figurative with a diagrammatic or instruction book feel to it plus, of course, a touch of humour.

Client list

The BBC The Economist Ford UK The Guardian Heinemann The Independent Lloyds Bank Chase Manhattan Oxford University Press Pan Macmillan Quirk Books Random House The Telegraph USA Today Volkswagen London Zoo Friends of the Earth Vauxhall/Opel Fruit of The Loom
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The Three Bucket Method
Chevrolet Magazine commission Willie Ryan for some graphic illustrations demonstrating how to get a 'showroom gleam'.
Scientific Icons
Willie Ryan works with Rodale Publishing on a series of icons for a scientific treatise.
Willie in the Flesh
Willie Ryan takes part in the Coastal Currents Open Studio in South East England.
Dad's Guide to Keeping it Real
Willie Ryan was commissioned to create this Father's Day GIF
Maritime Alphabet
Willie Ryan completes 26 illustrations for the maritime organisation Trinity House.
Get Closer with Listerine
Willie Ryan creates the art for Listerine print ads.
The Motor Trade
The Telegraph motor supplement commission Willie Ryan for three graphic illustrations.
The Interpreter's House
Willie Ryan illustrates the cover for #59 of The Interpreter's House Journal.
Eighties Rock
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