- September 4th 2017
This Autumn/Winter 17 we’ll be introducing you to the three artists behind our Barbour International T-shirt capsule collection, finding out what influences their graphic style and the ideas behind the final designs.
First we meet Ryan Quickfall to discuss how his passion for motorcycling and motorcycle culture inspires his work, and share his tips for designing your own Barbour International T-shirt in our latest competition. Find out what Ryan had to say…
You are an avid motorcyclist, how has that passion resonated into your work as a designer?
I have been fairly lucky in that I have managed to, quite unintentionally, mix my two passions as a Motorcycle racer and a designer. I try to build into my work as much of the atmosphere and passion that is so strongly associated with motorcycle culture. Motorcycling feeds every part of my work and I think it shows in my portfolio.
In particular, how did your love of biking manifest itself into the graphics on the t-shirts for the AW17 Barbour International collection?
For this new range I really pulled from an era of motorcycling that I think is full of energy and soul. Those old scramblers and desert sleds are really raw bikes, it’s an era I would have loved to be part of.
Tell us more about you and your work – you race bikes as well as being a designer – is that correct?
Yes, I work full time as a designer, illustrator and an artist. My work is used in many motorcycle publications throughout the world. In my spare time I race my flat track bike in the Dirt Track Riders Association championship. It’s a really great bunch of folk and although the championship is competitive it doesn’t have to be. It can be pretty relaxed, which is what I like.
Can you give us more insight into the designs you created for the AW17 Barbour International t-shirts – what was the inspiration or story these illustrate?
The main inspiration behind the designs was the great era of the 60’s and 70’s off road scenes. Scrambling, desert racing, motocross. Those guys were no nonsense, riding stripped-back, heavily engineered bikes. It’s the bare bones of motorcycle riding I think, tearing up the dirt, no mucking about. These boys were the real deal if you ask me.
What motorbike do you currently ride and what bikes have you had in the past?
I have ridden a few different bikes on the road. But now I only have my race bike. It’s originally based on an old Armstrong. But it’s been through a few changes and builds by my mate Mike Hill from Survivor Customs. It’s a really nice and fun bike to ride. Although I think the bike is far more capable than I am!
What was the last great motorbike ride you went on and what was so memorable about it?
My best and most memorable ride was actually a race. I’ve ridden thousands of miles on road with mates which is pretty good fun. But on track it’s something totally different. The last race at King's Lynn was really good, I think I rode harder then than any other time. Winning isn’t everything for me, there are loads of little achievements in each race and it’s as much a race against myself as others. It’s great to feel you’re getting faster at each race meeting.
You create illustrations of the likes of Sideburn magazine and exhibit your work in solo shows – is there anything you are working on at the moment that you think our readers would be interested in?
I’ve just finished up a really fun illustration for Classic Bike magazine. It’s based on a feature about a guy who has written a film script. It’s pretty interesting. I’m also working on some new print releases and generally just keeping at it day-to-day. It’s a hard balance to strike, making enough time for my personal work whilst bringing in enough to pay the bills, but it’s a good grind!
What is your design process when working on a brief such as the one from Barbour International?
Normally I will try and find imagery that brings my ideas together. Then I will sketch some basic ideas. From there I will develop a few into better sketches, moving bits around and working out a good layout. Next, I either put the sketch onto the Lightbox or refine it into a final inked illustration, which I’ll then scan in, digitally colour and set up for print. Or I’ll sometimes scan the sketches in directly and draw the lifework digitally. Which way really depends on the time allowed for the project.
As you know we are giving our social followers the chance to design the graphics for a t-shirts that will be available exclusively in House of Fraser – what are your top tips for designing a motorcycle inspired t-shirt print?
I think the best advice I could give is to make sure you use your own style. It’s been said a million times before, but the more work I do, the more I realise how true that is. My next tip, is to make sure you get across the essence and spirit of the scene. So, if it’s a racing piece, you want to express as much speed as possible even if you have to take a bit of an artistic liberty on it. If it’s a scene of people hanging around bikes, you want it to look like a scene you want to be part of.
Also, if a motorcycle is meant to be a specific type of bike, make sure you research the details that make it. Often it’s easier to suggest the bike rather than the specifics of its model. Just be conscious that people will look for details!