Illustration We Love: Ruan van Vliet

Hi everybody! Here’s a nice little interview with one of our fave illustrators right now, Ruan van Vliet. We reckon we first stumbled upon Ruan’s good looking and highly amusing illustrations on Twitter. In the following interview Ruan reveals his dream project, what his typical working day looks like and whose artwork he’s currently digging.

1. Hi Ruan, tell us a bit about yourself

Hello Patrick and Lucy! Thanks for having me. I’m an illustrator based in Dublin, Ireland. I’m also a drummer and play in a few different groups. I live near the zoo and can hear the lion growling at night.

Patches for Vans
You're Never Alone with The Decisions That Haunt You

2. How do you make your work? What materials do you use?

I mostly use Stabilotone crayons to draw, sometimes Prismacolor pencils. I sketch and plot a bit and then try to draw the “real one” as freely as possible, avoiding being too precious. I’ll give it between one and three goes and then splice together the nicest lines in Photoshop, which I also use to do my colouring in.

3. Do you listen to or watch anything while you work? Music, TV, podcasts, etc?

Music is always on when I’m drawing, a lot of my procrastination is choosing the right thing to put on. I like things slow and gentle in the morning, with a bit of a bop after lunch and then shouty and tense when it’s the home stretch. 

Postcard by Ruan van Vliet

4. What’s your typical working day like?

After being freelance for so many years I’ve accidentally fallen into the strict regimen of classic office hours, Monday to Friday work life. I’m trying to unlearn this squareness and properly utilise whatever downtime I get – go swimming when it’s nice out, see a movie at 2pm on a Tuesday, that sort of thing.

Be Good or Be Gone by Ruan van Vliet

5. Tell us what your dream project would be

OK so I’m painting this mean old rich guy’s house, painting a mural I should say, and it’s the height of Summer and it’s Ferris Bueller’s neighbourhood. His trophy wife is smouldering by the pool all day, she’s bored and has a taste for danger. All of a sudden we’re running away together, his henchmen are circling in a helicopter, bullets raining down. I quickly paint a Wile E. Coyote style tunnel on the side of the house and off we go. Next thing you know we’re in a nice cozy pub in Dublin at Christmastime and I get an email on my phone saying that the mean old rich guy has paid my invoice, we both laugh and cheers our drinks and then I wake up.  

Illustration by Ruan van Vliet

6. You’re based in Dublin right? Where would you take us on a fun day out in the city?

Honestly I’d prefer if I could come and visit you if that’s ok? 

Get out me way ye wankers by Ruan van Vliet

7. Do you have any top tips for budding illustrators? 

I would say to any budding illustrators reading this, give me a shout if you have any specific questions you think I could help with. You can find my email easily enough. You can find anyone’s email easily enough. And there’s no reason not to reach out and ask for help. Just don’t be a pest with it. 

Dublin Inquirer Cover by Ruan van Vliet

8. Who are your current fave creatives? Is there anyone you’d like to big up?

I feel like I’ve answered this question with Ross Carvill too many times now so I’m NOT gonna say him.
Instead, another young Irish person who I think I found through Ross, Rachel O’Regan, whose work is constantly making me jealous:

Christ Church Cathedral Temporary Hoarding by Ruan van Vliet and Fergal Adams
Christ Church Cathedral Temporary Hoarding by Ruan van Vliet and Fergal Adams
Christ Church Cathedral Temporary Hoarding by Ruan van Vliet and Fergal Adams

9. What are you currently working on? Do you have any exciting new projects coming up?

I’ve just finished my first animated short, The Snare. It’s my first time animating, doing sound editing and stuff like that, it’s my ever first long term personal project. I finished the animation in April and it’s been sitting dormant since so it was nice to come back to it and not completely hate it.

Thanks so much Ruan! You can see more of his wonderful work at and follow him on instagram @ruan_van_vliet and twitter @Ruan_Gotobed.

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