L'Officiel Art

Anything You Can Do, Ricardo Fumanal Can Do Better

The London-based illustrator showcases his breadth of artistic mediums and diverse talents.
Reading time 7 minutes
Ricardo Fumanal shot by Zachary Handley

Although Ricardo Fumanal’s background is based in graphic design, he seamlessly made the transition to illustration, broadening the scope of his work, while maintaining his diverse capabilities. Describing his creative process, Fumanal gives L’Officiel USA insights into what sparks inspiration, how he found his true path after receiving an education in graphic design, and his collaboration with fashion designer Adam Selman. The multi-talented artist cannot be confined to one genre, as he has already expanded from hand-drawn illustrations to design illustration, as well as collaborating on A.S.S. (Adam Selman Sport) and launching a personal project of t-shirts called Sticky Ricky.

Showing no signs of slowing down, the Spanish artist’s creative nature becomes apparent when he describes the process behind his hyper-realistic drawing. Drawing inspiration from everything from magazines to books to the internet, one thing is clear, Fumanal is a visual person, gaining perspective for his own work from found imagery in the world around him. The breadth of his work is impressive, as is his composition and unique style of design, demonstrating his individuality and personality throughout his pieces. Centering around the physical form, the artist gives us insights into the creative process behind his art, as well as giving a glimpse into the inner workings of his mind.

You moved from Northern Spain to Barcelona to study graphic design. Where did this interest stem from?

Leaving high school, I didn’t have a clear idea of where I was heading professionally. I was a creative kid who demonstrated a strong interest in art and drawing as a hobby but I never knew that this ‘hobby’ could ultimately become my career. I always felt at home in my art courses and these were the environments I flourished in, so I was confident that I needed to head toward a creative world to find my profession. As a first step, I decided to enroll in a graphic design course at a college in Lleida, a small city near Barcelona. I stayed in the course for two years, a good first start, but I ultimately left to begin working. Studying is important, but I found myself when I jumped into practice.


You ended up going full force into hand and design illustration. What is it about this medium that you find so appealing?

After two years as a graphic designer, I felt the need to broaden the scope of my work and began focusing on hand-drawn illustrations. Counterintuitively I feel digital design and hand-drawn illustrations are quite linked, so moving between the two mediums was a pretty seamless transition. Regarding the medium of hand-drawn illustrations, it has always felt more intimate to me. There is a directness and physicalness of a hand-drawn illustration that cannot be achieved on a computer. The illustrations become truly an extension of myself, my point of view guiding my hand onto the paper. It’s a very intimate process and experience. Digital design and computers still play an important role in my portfolio, for me, one cannot flourish without the other. However, I am continually attracted to the warmth I feel can only be channeled in hand-drawn illustrations.


Your work is known for its hyper-realistic depictions with precise line work. Where does your creative process begin? 

My creative process always begins with 'the right idea,’ something that inspires and challenges me and makes me want to investigate fully. My illustrations are very detailed and can be painstakingly long undertakings, and doing my work requires all of my attention and concentration, so I really need to want to sink my teeth into the idea to get going. I’m inspired by the world around me, I find ideas or references all the time: old magazines, books, the internet are all great places to find ideas and imagery. From there I like to work first in collage, either hand-collage or digital collage to find a composition. I’ll continue to play and tweak, doing process sketches along the way, and once I am certain of an idea, I will move into a final work.


There are many recurring themes that exist in your work. Is there one that you’re most drawn to?

I think most viewers of my work pick up first on the narratives of sexuality and sensuality and the similarities and contrasts between the two. Less so sexuality or sensuality, I’ve always found myself most drawn to the exploration of desires in all its forms. I like that an object or a symbol, something inanimate, can be as desirable as the human body, so I am especially excited about works that can communicate desire toward people or the body as well as desire toward objects or the inanimate.

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Adam Selman Fall 2017

Your most recent work consists of illustrations that transform into digital animations. What is it about this format that gets you excited?

Given that I myself feel hand-drawn illustrations and digital design are interconnected and I see them as seamless mediums, the digital animation of my work is born in that intersection. Digital animation feels like the next step for my work and it's an area with much exploration still to come which excites me the most.


Tell me a little bit about your recent collaboration with Adam Selman. How did this come to be?

A mutual friend introduced me to Adam a few years ago, after showing Adam my work. After corresponding, Adam invited me to collaborate with him for Fall 2017. I created a pattern with black and white nude women and pink and red roses that was used as a repeat pattern on some of the looks in his show. It’s always been fun to work with Adam, we understand each other well and are attracted to similar references. We have continued to collaborate since that show. We recently worked on a project for his new line, Adam Selman Sport.

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Sticky Ricky T-Shirts

What are you working on now? What’s coming down the line?

I am about to launch a personal project called STICKY RICKY. The first series is a capsule collection of three T-shirts which employs some playful and suggestive use of fruits and vegetables. The first t-shirts are very pop and fun and it’s been really exciting to work directly on illustrations with the clear intention of them ending up on the body. We’ve just launched online (www.stickyricky.tv) and I am already working on a follow-up series.


You now play with a lot of color. What do you find more comforting to draw with - black and white or added color?

At the time I left graphic design to focus on hand-drawn illustrations, all of my work was black and white. Colorless helped me hone my illustration skills, especially my compositions and line work. Ultimately color was introduced to my work at the request of clients who started asking for it. I’m lucky that my clients pushed me into color as it’s exponentially expanded the work I can create. 

I’m currently in a bit of a color moment. I don’t though have a preference between black and white or color. It totally depends on the subject I’m working on. I will go for black and white versus color depending on the vision I am developing…some ideas are better executed in black and white and some are better in color.


Visit Sticky Ricky to purchase Ricardo's newly released line of T-Shirts.

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