Interview: Pavel Ripley

In conversation with art director Pavel Ripley, originally from Russia, now living in Portugal.

What was your journey into the arts?
I have been drawing since I was a kid and then never stopped. I was drawing on the last pages of my exercise books during school lessons. I was drawing at home using my parents as models. But no one took it seriously back then and I didn’t graduate from any art schools and was a self-taught drawer.

High school graduation with the necessity to choose the profession and the university was the turning point. I’ll be grateful to my sister for the rest of my days for helping me to convince our parents to let me study graphic design, because back then in the mid-2000s it didn’t seem like a good plan in their opinion.

How do you use sketchbooks? Are all works in sketchbooks leading to final designs or does the process of the sketchbook also serve other purposes?
I draw almost every day trying to experiment with different materials and techniques and thinking about this practice as a warmup or workout for creativity on the one hand and therapeutic meditative practice to calm down and get into the flow on the other. So it’s almost like doodling without any specific reasons but then, I use some of these drawings, techniques, and ideas in large-scale art pieces or commercial projects.

How often do you draw/design in a sketchbook?
As I mentioned before I try to draw every day but without any pressure and of course, I have days, weeks, and sometimes even months without drawing at all.

How is the work you do in sketchbooks related to your commercial practice?
First of all, like daily basis practice, it affects my vision and feel of balance, rhythm, contrast, and all this stuff about composition. Also when I work as an independent artist/designer on commercial projects I often use a lot of finds from sketchbooks, sometimes even scans of pages in their original form.

Do you have any advice for designers or students as to the ways to use a sketchbook?
Practice at least 15 minutes a day every day but if you have more time for this draw more! Skills are always come with practice and hard work. The main thing here is the process, not the result. And the sketchbook is a great tool for it. Also try absolutely different techniques and themes for your work to make the process fun. Use different sets of things or symbols as objects of your interest to stay on track for a long distance drawing one unit from the set a day.



The sketchbooks of Pavel Ripley explore both imagery and typography. Collage and ‘the grid’ are explored in this series of engaging graphic forms.

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