A Serious Man: Interview with Ryan Tippery

Aug 06

A Serious Man: Interview with Ryan Tippery

Recently Prismacolor intern, Samantha DeCarlo, touched based with up-and-coming artist Ryan Tippery. Check out her interview with this colored pencil artist from Chicago!

As a graduate from the American Academy of Art in Chicago with a BFA in Illustration, Ryan Tippery possesses a specific skill set in drawing, specifically with Prismacolor colored pencils. His subject matter focuses on elements of the human condition and nature, often depicting the figure struggling with an inner conflict, or detailing an aspect of the Earth most people overlook.

Naturally a deep-thinker, he finds inspiration from anything that provokes him to “stop and make [him] ponder about something [he] wouldn’t have regularly been pondering on.” To him, “art at its most basic form is the creation of something…anything c

reated no matter its intention is in some way shape or form artistic.” Ryan has allowed us to pick his brain to better understand the capacity of his work.

How do you start working as an artist?

I used to go through a lot of planning, but lately I’ve kind of just been letting my hand move on paper and not getting in the way. I find that I’m happier with my work when it is free-flowing, letting my brain make decisions naturally instead of fo

s your favorite effect you create in your work?rcing anything.

I tend to focus on the overall feeling or emotion you get from a piece. Even before expressing a story or main idea, I feel that I can create mood. I like the idea of feeling an emotion when you look at something but not really knowing why.

Who inspires you to create?

It’s hard to say “who” really inspires me because my artistic interests seem to change very rapidly. I also am interested in a lot of different styles at the same time. I really enjoy the work of Joao Ruas (feral kid) and Ivan Solyaev. They both do a wonderful job of creating a mood and both are just hands down extraordinary artists. I also get inspiration from artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Cy Twombly. I find appreciation in many styles.

Can you tell us about your process for creating a new collection or piece?

In my personal work like I said before, I kind of just let things happen. When taking on commissions recently I’ve been given very loose instructions, like… respond to this quote, or idea. I like dealing with airy things that can be interpreted in many ways. But like most artists if I feel like I’m in a rut or like I’m hitting a wall. I will write, writing usually sparks my creativity and gives me a clearer idea of what I’m trying to accomplish. I don’t even generally do thumbnails, I’ll just write down what I’m planning, and when I read it later I completely understand what I was going for.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

I like having no powers. It’s humbling.

What Prismacolor products do you use, and do you have any tricks
for that particular medium?

I use prismacolor colored pencils. I really enjoy the texture of the pencil. I usually will start with a couple thin layers just to understand where my lights and darks are going to be, and then I put the rest down heavily. This gives a chance for the wax to build up on the paper, which makes it much easier-in my opinion-to blend.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists or best advice you
have ever received?

Never give up, always create, and don’t force yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel fun or natural. In the end your natural talents are what will get you noticed, oh and social networking.

Finish this sentence: I am…only all I see sometimes”

To see more of Ryan’s art, visit his website!



  1. Ryan Tippery – Effigy, 2012 - [...] Art by Ryan Tippery, a colour-pencil artist from Chicago. “His subject matter focuses on elements of the human condition …

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