Check out these cool tattoo illustrations by Anna Rickards

In the last month or so, I’ve been recruiting new members of the Inkluded family! There are now 9 lovely, creative individuals who will be contributing to this website and bringing you tattoo thoughts, stories and more. I will be introducing them all properly over the next month or so!

One of those people, is Anna Rickards, from Glasgow, who is a freelance artist and illustrator. As well as letting me quiz her about her work, she’s also created some exclusive Inkluded illustrations, which I am so excited to share with you all!

Let’s kick things off…

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Beccy Rimmer (BR): Hey Anna! Tell Inkluded peeps what you do…

Anna Rickards (AR): The most accurate description of what I do would probably have to be ‘manic scribbling’. I draw sketchy, cartoony pictures that are usually of people, because I find people the most interesting to draw. Most of the time I stick to black and white line drawing, but I occasionally crack out the colours on really special occasions. 

BR: What does ‘art’ mean to you?

AR: I think that art can be anything that you want – it’s a form of individual expression that varies from person to person. In my case, art is using a couple of pen strokes to create something that stands out; to me, it’s not about photorealism or perfect likenesses but about capturing the essence of what you’re drawing instead, in a more stylised way. I think what’s best about art is that there are no rules, meaning that you don’t ever have to stick to one specific style or technique. 

BR: Do you focus on mainly illustration?

AR: Yes, illustration is what I do the majority of the time. I’ve illustrated leaflets, posters, a number of educational resources for schools and I’m currently working on a children’s book, which is very exciting. 

A lot of the time I just grab a pen and see what happens! Often it will come out a lot better the less I worry over it, because the lines will be much looser, meaning I often do the best drawings on the backs of important documents and on post it notes rather than in sketchbooks. In the past I’ve done a lot for the charity From Yesterday For Tomorrow, which is a charity that wants to endorse tolerance and fight prejudice in society. One of the things I did for FYFT was a series of drawings depicting the treatment of gay men during the Nazi regime, which looked like this: 

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I’ve also been working on a series of illustrations for a beach-themed picture book, which should be finalised in August. I won’t publish any of the official book art yet but here’s a bit of the concept work I did for it!

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BR: Where do you find your inspiration?

AR: Two cartoonists that I really admire are Quentin Blake and Shel Silverstein – they both have really distinctive art styles that I like a lot. Dr Suess is another favourite! When I’m drawing, I only very rarely draw from life. Most of the time the people I draw are characters from my own head. I find it quite difficult to make things/people look realistic, so most of the time I don’t bother! 

BR: What are your plans for the future?

AR: What I’d love to do in the future is to work in 2D concept art or storyboarding at an animation studio. The video game industry is another industry that looks for similar artwork, so that would be a possibility too. I’d also love to create my own books and merchandise on day, so watch this space! 

BR: Any big things you have learnt along the way?

AR: One of the most important things I’ve learnt about art is that it’s best to just do what you enjoy, whenever you want to do it, and not beat yourself up about it if things don’t turn out how you want them to. I’ve been very fortunate in that my drawings have made me a lot of friends and given me opportunities to explore a lot of different creative projects.

BR: Any advice for budding artists?

AR: Just a little advice for any budding artists: keep drawing! Contrary to popular belief, there are a whole lot of jobs out there for artists if you just look. If it’s what you’re passionate about then don’t give up!

Anna has created some exclusive illustrations, just for Inkluded, based around tattoo culture and imagery. On a scale of one to ten, how awesome are these? Thanks Anna!

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Words: Beccy Rimmer
Illustrations: Anna Rickards