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Richard Kilroy Graduated from Leeds College of Art & Design in 2010, he currently lives in London. Some of his clients include Dior, Vman, Topshop, Ponystep, and I.T Post


What was your first break in the industry?

I’d say it was probably being asked to be in the Dior Illustrated show about two years ago. I had only just finished university, moved back in with the parents temporarily and was signing on while trying to freelance. I got a phonecall on the way home from the job centre from the curator at Somerset House, telling me I was one of five illustrators picked by Dior to be a part of their exhibition on Rene Gruau. Surreal to tell you the least! Not only that, Jasper Goodall, one of my biggest inspirations, was one of the other five.

Is the market hard to crack?

It can be tough for fashion illustrators, to most people it doesn’t have a definitive place in the industry, it’s most often used to accompany articles as opposed to flourishing in it’s own right with editorials or campaigns. I started reading The Face when I was 16, in the last two years of it’s closure. It introduced me to the possibility of great illustration work combined effortlessly alongside great photography and layout. The Face closed 8 years ago and I don’t feel I have seen it done as well since.

Where do your ideas come from and who do you admire?

Well to be honest the only kinds of ideas with my work come from ideas of composition, line, shadow etc. I use source photography for faces but never use editorial photography because a) it’s recognisable and b) it’s a photographer’s work with their own personal value. I try to go through as much catwalk photography as possible, and I like it when the models look harsh, thin and slightly gloomy. There are also so many illustrators and photographers I admire. David Downton, Richard Gray and Julie Verhoeven are just incredible illustrators at the top of their game, and really show that there can be a market and place for high profile illustrators. I’ve been blessed as two of them have featured in my magazine, Decoy, so we’ll see if I can make it a hat trick. Photographers I like are Herb Ritts, Lindbergh, Goude, Newton and Bourdin.

How did Decoy fanzine come about?

Well being so interested in magazines and layouts from a decade of reading a colossal amount of them, it was just an easy way of putting everything I enjoy into one format. The whole zine culture thing has really taken off again over the last few years and the idea of self-publishing just seemed natural, and my degree meant I was also taught graphics and layouts. It’s a small personal project and only available through my site for now, I should have never called it a ‘magazine’ though as it’s a newspaper format and self-published, and now the title has kind of just stuck! 

Image: Dior Homme by Richard Kilroy.