Richard Haines is a New York-based illustrator that often strolls around the city looking for interesting looks. However instead of being armed with a camera, Richard chooses for a pencil and a piece of paper in order to capture the looks of often young stylish guys.
How do you work as a street style illustrator? Do you take pictures first, or you find them from the Internet? Describe your process…
It depends. If I have time, and I feel like the person I’m drawing has time, I’ll sketch them on the spot. That’s fun and creates a very intimate, spontaneous feeling. If we are both in a rush, I’ll take a few photos with my iPhone, and do the drawing when I get back to my studio. I usually don’t use images from the Internet, unless I’m doing something editorial, and I need to create a scenario, then I’ll google the environment i.e. ‘man walking dog in park’ then i look for images similar to that.
What makes it different than photography?
That’s a really good question. I can only speak for me, but recently I saw a show of Matisse’s work and he talks about reducing the figure to the simplest form in line, and I guess I’m reaching for that too. To capture a person’s essence in a few, edited lines is very challenging and exciting. So that’s my goal, and that’s how for me it’s different from photography.
What is the difference between illustrating street style and runway looks?
Usually runway is very very fast. The models are out and walking by and in a second they’re gone, so it really becomes an economy of line-taking it down to it’s essence. What I love about drawing on the street is the interaction with the person-the conversation-the ability to pick up the person’s nuances, their personality, why they chose to put themselves together the way the do. I love that…
What kind of people do you pick out?
Well, they’re usually young guys, and a lot of them in this neighborhood (bushwick, a part of Brooklyn). Most of the guys turn out to be artists or musicians or writers or guys in fashion-creative people who put themselves together in a quirky, unique style.
Why only guys from Brooklyn?
Well, it’s not only Brooklyn, but I live here, and I find that there’s an enormous amount of creativity here, and it’s exciting capturing that in drawings. I’ll draw guys anywhere-Manhatan, Paris, Milan, but this is home and this is where I spend most of my time.
What do you do besides this?
In between drawing I manage to find time to hang out with my daughter, eat and sleep, and the rest is draw as much as possible!