Behind the Board: Illwookie

Behind the Board: Illwookie

We are back! By popular demand, we've been searching the globe for some of the raddest artists we felt complimented the essence of skateboarding. First up, UK Based Illustrator Illwookie.

[Board coming soon]

Will Richards a.k.a Illwookie is an illustrator based in Brighton, UK. Specialising in a blend of bold and simple illustration, iconography and branding, Will has garnered an ever growing and diverse international client base including Nike, Vans, P + Co. and many more.

This or that:

Coffee/Tea: Coffee
Breakfast/Dinner: Dinner
Morning/Evening: Evening
TV/Book: TV
Beer/tacos: Beer
Paper/Digital: Paper
City/Country: Country
Netflix/Youtube: Netflix
Money/Fame: Moneeeeyyyy
Spirit Animal: Otter

"Sometimes I’ll have an idea straight away and I kind of think, ‘what’s the point in trying to explore other ideas when this one fits the brief so well!’ Other times I’ll really struggle and need to wade through the crap to get to an idea I like. I pretty much work entirely digitally so I can quickly go from rough to final product if I have a tight deadline, although I try to make analog personal work from time to time. So I’ll start with a super rough sketch on my iPad and develop that sketch to a point where I’m happy with the composition. Then I’ll go over the sketch to make the line work and I’ll usually take that into photoshop where I use an action set by True Grit Texture Supply to roughen up the lines and give it a kind of stamp effect. This almost completely takes the control away from me for a second which I enjoy because it’s always quite chaotic and can give you varying results, from there I often slightly rework areas that have lost and important details. Then, if the design needs it, I’ll go back in and add colour and texture."

Illwookie on the design + process

How did you get started in your career?

I started designing t-shirts for my friends' bands in uni, the bands began touring with bigger bands and those bands/ their labels would get in touch for work. From there clothing brands began to see my work on these t-shirts and started getting in touch. Now I work with a huge variety of clients wolrd wide from clothing brands to bakery’s to jiu jitsu dojos.

What is your favorite project you’ve worked on ?

I love to work with brands and companies that i’ve been a fan of before they got in touch, I’m actually currently working on what is probably my favourite project in a while. I am designing some merch for Dark Arts Coffee based in London and Japan who I have been a big fan of for some time now. They have been super nice and the brief has been super open so it’s been great to play around with ideas.

What inspires you as an artist?

I have learned in the past year that travel plays a huge role in my inspiration, as we’ve not been able to travel so I have not been very inspired.. So to get my head back in the game I started playing around with totally new ways of making work that i’d not tried before and began painting loads.

If you could no longer work as an artist, what would you do instead?

Maybe a postman or a gardener

Who is your ultimate dinner guest?

A professional dungeon master

What is the single item you can’t live without?

I really, really hate myself for saying this but probably my phone :(

A quote you live by

Carpe that diem baby

What is your ultimate superpower?

Telekinesis, cos I think you could like stand on a surfboard or something and make it fly so you can kinda fly too

What is the most useless talent you have?

I’m good at video games which has no real use I suppose

If you could time travel, when would you travel to, and why?

I’d travel back to like, the building of the pyramids or stonehenge or something to see if it was really aliens...

Favorite movie/TV show ever?

Constantly changes but just finished Sopranos which was pretty great

Share with us the best fact you know

of all the breakfast cereals, shredded wheat would make the best pair of trousers because of their woven structure

About Illwookie: 

"I have been an illustrator for about 10 years, 3 or 4 of which have been full time freelance. I live and work in Brighton, UK. I currently share a studio space in the centre of town with 5 other awesome illustrators; Edward Tuckwell, Sophy Hollington, Laurie Avon, Olivia Waller and Hannah Forward. (Do check them all out on insta!) Before Covid I also used to co-run an art market in town called Creative Differences. I also run an apparel and homeware brand called Odd Lines"

You can reach Will on instagram @illwookie or via email at 



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