A. Richard Allen





2008 - IMAGES 32

Richard is a restless aesthete, painter and jobbing illustrator. He lives in England.

Richard’s illustration has appeared in many newspapers, magazines and books around the world. Notable clients include the New York Times, The Wall St Journal The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Times, Guardian, Telegraph, Independent, The Folio Society and HarperCollins. 


The image was a self-initiated piece worked-up from sketchbook images.

“Winning the AOI Images awards was, undoubtedly, satisfying recognition for time spent whittling away in isolation. Without courting disaster or resentment, plaudits, brickbats or the indifference of the cosmos are best taken with a stoic equanimity. Zen pronouncements aside, gongs are always gratefully received.”

BRIEF: The award-winning entry was minimally directed. The piece was a conscious move away from this 'ligne-claire' style, dispensing with linework, paring down the composition; it also plays more with dramatic tension- what is left out of a scene, what is anticipated, as much as what was shown.

MATERIALS: Assembled digitally using painted and found textures and patterns.

RESEARCH: I may have used Google images to check if the cuckoo clock resembled the real things but most elements used no reference. I doodled and tweaked.

PROCESS: I think the materials answer above probably covers this.

RESISTANCES: The art direction was, as far as I remember, a breeze. 

INSIGHT: Persistence in doorstepping clients and dogged self-belief seemed key to building momentum in my early freelance days.

DISTRACTIONS: I recall few diversions at the time of producing this image. No displacement activities, unhealthy dependencies, quotidian mundanities, gnawing self-doubt. 

NUMBERS: Lottery numbers? Bank details? Vital statistics? Bible prophecy numerology?

FINAL THOUGHTS: I do recall Quentin Blake announcing the award with the mildly deflating words, 'and now for the thorny category of self-promotion'. He had a point; self-promotion isn't really illustration.

Allen Allen