Tom Ryder is a freelance illustrator and manager for David Mellor, a key British design company who have had a hand in everything from cutlery to traffic lights.  We are delighted to have spent some time with Tom whilst he modelled for our 2015 autumn editorial. tom ryder tweed profile oct 2015   1. Could you tell us a little about your creative process? I don't really have a set one, I just get on with it. I do do research once I'm given a brief by a client, which makes sure I'm periodically correct but also inspires me and this can be anything from just picking up a book to venturing across country to visit a gallery. Once I do get started I usually draught out two or more possible ideas and talk through them with the client before moving onto the final piece, which they won't see until it's finished.

2. How did you end up working at David Mellor; has it changed the way you see everyday objects?

It was purely by chance really, I was working as an interior designer and a close friend sent in the manager at Mellor's who effectively poached me to be a manager there alongside her. Once I saw what they did at DM I jumped at it. The quality of all the items they make is exceptional and to have the cutlery made on site and to see traditional craftsmanship and skills is an honour. Because it's a design-led environment it also motivates my creative instincts as an artist. He was responsible for so many things that we take for granted on a daily basis; from eating implements to traffic lights—it's pretty extraordinary. It makes you appreciate the fact that everything around us has a designer and a process behind it and we always notice bad design as it doesn't work, but we often take good design for granted because it does.

3. What keeps you motivated?

My family, friends and my partner—creative types can often need a good kick up the back side and I'm no exception to that. They’re always at hand with encouraging words or a swift boot. Creatively; music and film motivate and inspire me. I'm lucky in my job that I meet other like-minded characters and their shared knowledge and experience also gives me drive.

4. If you were just starting out your career as an illustrator, what would you do differently?

Not expect everything to be handed to me on a plate.

5. What would be your dream illustration commission?

To be honest I've been really fortunate and already done so many things I've always wanted to do. However, I would love to work with the V&A to illustrate some of their historical fashion or create some pieces for the gorgeous burlesque artiste 'Immodesty Blaze'—I adore her.

6.  If you had Penny’s Crayons, what is the first thing you would draw?

A portrait to put in my attic. And cake. Bloody love Penny Crayon, I used to sit and watch it every Thursday at my Nan’s house—the sad thing is I remember every line to the theme song- but don't ask me to sing it!

7.  Please tell us a little about your style.

I'm kind of a modern dandy. I don't dress for anyone other than myself and I dress to feel confident. With me, that means neat and tidy. I buy good quality pieces—suits and shoes that will last, but often mix them with vintage accessories to make it more individual. Confidence is key, you'll never look right if you don't feel right.

8. Apart from yourself, which illustrator do you think everyone should know of?

Rene Gruau

9. A brew and a scone or a cuppa and a tunnock’s teacake?

Throw me a Tunnocks!

10. What is your favourite Scottish word?

"Clarty" (if that's the way it's spelt). In Yorkshire it means to have a greater viscosity, chewy or thick i.e. "eh up Vera, this toffee’s reight clarty". Where as in Scotland it means 'dirty' so you can imagine my partners mothers face (who is Scottish to the core) when I described a pudding she'd lovingly made as "perfectly clarty".