Illustrator Sean Ryan‘s “badly drawn models” portraits are a viral sensation with a really odd bit of charm to them, you’ve all heard the saying “so bad it’s good”, well get ready to witness “so bad it’s BRILLIANT“! We can’t help but love these distorted & fascinating drawings of beautiful people, that both capture and exaggerate the striking features of the models they are based on so simply and inexplicably well that (to the fashion conscious) all individuals pictured are pretty well immediately recognizable, even at a glance.
You currently hold 56k and climbing followers on Instagram! What gave you the idea to base Badly Drawn Models off of this social media platform in particular?
I guess social media has changed so quickly over the past few years. For example, when I first started uploading my drawings of footballers, I primarily used Facebook, which was quite effective and ultimately led to The Guardian seeing them. However, I don’t really use Facebook much these days for my illustrations. Their organic page reach policy has made it a waste of time, and I think other platforms such as Tumblr and, particularly, Instagram, are much better suited to sharing art.
Instagram has been particularly important for me, particularly with Badly Drawn Models, because it’s allowed me to communicate with models and fashion icons that, only a few years ago, I would never have dreamed that I could contact. Now, by tagging someone in a post or sending a DM, I can communicate with people all over the world. It seems crazy to get my work reposted by massive fashion icons.
Are you personally aware of any famous fans that you have gained from your portraits?
Quite a few of the people I’ve drawn have gone on to repost their portrait or started following me – Edie Campbell, Edward Enninful, Kelly Mittendorf, Bella Hadid, Rhiannon McConnell, Soo Joo Park, Hari Nef, Issa Lish and Stella Lucia (to name a few) have all reposted their portrait.
Just yesterday, Marc Jacobs commented that “he loved” a drawing I posted of him.
In addition to Badly Drawn Models you also have separate series of portraits of Badly Drawn Authors and Badly Drawn Rappers etc. Please tell us a bit about your love of sketching figures in the spotlight, and how you go about selecting each celebrity that you would like to draw!
To be honest, I start with a small list of those figures that I really want to draw – so maybe my favourite 10 authors and 10 favourite rappers. I’ll find images on Google Images and then, as I’m searching, it’ll prompt me into searching for related authors or artists. By the end of the day, I usually have a huge list of people I want to draw.
I’ve been meaning to draw David Lynch for about a year now, so it would have to be him. I’m a huge fan of his work, so it would be an honour if he asked me for a portrait. This interview could be the inspiration I need to finally draw him.
What are your current plans for the future of Badly Drawn Models?