Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Bryan studied Art History at the state’s Wesleyan University where she also worked as an art handler in the print collection. Inspired by great printmakers like Rembrandt, Durer and Goya, she learned how to make etchings and engravings, printing her own illustrations to develop her skills. Today she works in pen and ink but achieves the etched look using extremely fine line work.
Clients love working with Bryan because during her labour-intensive process she supplies regular updates, collaborating closely with them to reflect their vision.
Most of Bryan’s images begin as ink on paper, however she will also use Adobe Illustrator to transform the work into a colourful, textured compositions.
In a world of CGI, with impossible images full of colour, intensity, movement and digital effects, Bryan’s artwork offers a soothing haven for the mind, where the hand-drawn line reigns supreme and beautiful depth and detail are conjured through simple yet expertly executed crosshatching.
Question: What led you to become an illustrator? August: I needed a career after college and nothing else seemed very interesting. Question: Did you study illustration at college? August: No, I studied South Asian art history at Wesleyan University. Question: Where did you grow up? August: New Haven, CT U.S.A. Question: Where do you live now and what drew you there? August: I live in London. It was a bit of a random choice but my work is flexible so why not try something different? Question: Describe your studio for us August: I only work in public, mostly at coffee shops, because I get sad when I’m not around other people. Question: Describe the view from your window August: Afternoon sunlight hitting the neon sign over a falafel restaurant. Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration? August: My everyday life. Question: Do you collect anything? August: Museum catalogues and antique illustrated books. Question: Do you keep a Scrapbook? August: I carry a diary, a sketchbook, and a film camera wherever I go. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? August: I’m a singer-songwriter and have performed on city streets around the world. Question: What is the first record you bought?August: Simon and Garfunkel, Sounds of Silence.
Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed August: I put together a little book of my sketches, photos, and thoughts from when I lived in Paris last year. Question: What would be your dream job/commission? August: The New York Times or the New Yorker. Question: Why is illustration such a powerful medium? August: It’s art that anyone can understand, regardless of their background or education. Question: How much of your work is hand drawn? August: All of my work is hand drawn but I do commissions on a tablet to make editing easier. Question: How do you envisage illustration evolving? August: I just hope that even as technology advances, people will continue to value art for its beauty and its power to communicate beyond words. Question: Who is your art hero? August: Lucian Freud and Käthe Kollwitz. Question: Do you have a method for dealing with the feeling of having no ideas? August: Stop looking for inspiration and just start drawing. The inspiration will catch up with you eventually. Question: If you could travel back in time, who would be the one person you would want to meet and why? August: I would love to meet the author Henry James.I read a beautiful biography of him and I’m convinced that we would understand each other somehow.