3rd Rail Print Space Kickstarter Q&A Series: Tony Riff

London-based illustrator Tony Riff learned to draw by copying different styles of cartoons which has helped him to develop his own whimsical style. His work can be described as ‘a colourful mixture of mind blowing, intellectual & playful drawings’. We have asked Tony to create a t-shirt design exclusively for 3rd Rail Print Space Kickstarter. Read on for more details about this exciting collaboration.

Can you tell us about the piece you’ve created?

It follows a pretty similar formula to some of the personal work I do in my spare time, although usually I would just mindlessly doodle things on a page as a stream of consciousness, with this it’s a little more planned out, usually I’ll have a few main ideas, but I’ll often leave room to make up some other doodles on the spot while I’m still sketching out the rough outlines, so it’s a nice mix of improvising and planning.

Did you have to modify your process because you were creating for a screen print?

My work in general is pretty screen print friendly, Some of the first freelance jobs I ever had were t-shirt designs, so that process has bled into a lot of my work, most of it is fairly flat with minimal colour so I don’t feel too restricted if I’m making something that’ll eventually be screen-printed.


3rd Rail Print Space Kickstarter Q&A Series: Tony Riff


You have a very distinctive style, how did you develop it?

Lots and lots of drawing. I wish there was some cool story behind it, but that’s it really! when I was younger I just copied different styles of cartoons that I watched ( Ren and Stimpy, the simpsons, ect ) so now it’s just a hybrid of all the things I was exposed to, a lot of the stuff I draw is mood driven, sometimes I want to go full blown cartoony, but on the flipside of that I might feel like doing something that leans towards the graphic side a lot more, although there’s usually a cartoonish element in there somewhere. Cartoons are in my DNA at this point.

You’ve worked on some really exciting projects, what’s been your favourite?

It’s a tough one, but I think my favourite was an ad campaign for rolling stone magazine a few years back, the concept for the artwork was pretty insane, so there was a lot of freedom in terms of what kind of work I could contribute to it, also it was a collaborative project with other artists, so it was interesting seeing the piece develop once all the artists work had been put together.


Tony Riff Illustration

Which 3 creative tools can’t you live without?

Pen. Pencil. Sketchbook…drawing by hand is still the best.

Any exciting projects lined up for 2018?

Just wrapped up some visuals for next years NASS festival, I painted there this year so it’s been fun working on more behind the scenes stuff this time around, will probably be painting at next years one too, it’ll be cool being there and seeing how they’ll use my artwork as part of the visual identity ( plus all the other stuff that comes with being at a festival of course!)


Tony Riff’s t-shirt is available to order exclusively through our Kickstarter: bit.ly/printpeckham

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