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Q&A with Ryan Snook

Illustrator from Canada

My name is Ryan Snook and I'm an illustrator from Canada.

How did you get started in art and illustration, what is your background?

I went to college for illustration. I finished school in 2003 and have been working professionally since then as a freelance illustrator. My start in illustration was very slow. Just a handful of jobs my first year. Took me a while to build a solid portfolio to land me more work. By my second year I was supporting myself completely with illustration.

Where did you study? Looking back, would you recommend your path for beginners in design/illustration?

I studied at Sheridan College in Oakville Canada. I would recommend it. Great school with great teachers. I enjoyed my time there. Met great friends and talented illustrators. Learned a lot and gave me confidence to go out and pursue this as a career path. There are lots of things you have to learn on your own. Stuff school can't or just doesn't have the time to teach you. But as a foundation it was a great start to my learning.

What is a turning point in your professional career?

Going digital. When I started colouring digitally it helped save time and gave me new tools to improve my work. Recently I switched to completely digital, no inking by hand anymore and my work improved again. Taking advantage of new technology and experimenting with different tools is a great way to improve your skills and make better work.

What is your ideal work environment?

I like to work in my studio all day alone. I like to work hard from 9am to 5pm then enjoy my evenings and weekends with family and friends. I work better when i keep work and life separate. It also makes me a happier person. Right now my studio is on the second floor of our new house. I just have a desk and a reading chair in there. Still haven't set it up. Just moved in and started working. It's not much to look at right now but I have plans for it.

Where are your favorite places in Toronto?

We used to live downtown Toronto but moved to a house in the suburbs. My favourite places are parks. I guess having a 1 year old has informed that. My favourite thing to do is get out of the house and go for long walks and take my daughter to the park.

Who are the designers and illustrators, colleagues in Toronto or outside you admire most?

There are some great illustrators and designers in my area. Jacqui Oakley, Jamie Lawson, Jen Hsieh, Kyle Reed, Michael Byers are just a few of the many talented people living and working nearby that come to mind.