Many studios produce little newspapers to show off projects they’re proud of. But Rob Ryan’s S.P.Q.R., Senatus Populusque Ryantown, Winter 2013 edition is different. One would expect something decorative from Rob Ryan’s hand, and there’s some lovely work in here, but it’s the way S.P.Q.R. reads like an intimate guided tour that’s so refreshing.
With annotations and explanations alternating between his illustrator’s scrawl and delicately cut-up letters, his words weave around the images. Opening with a tribute to his assistant, he reveals his process in the middle and ends with the St Patrick’s Day cards he makes in memory of his father. Showing his first etchings for two decades, Rob describes the way he works, peering through a magnifying glass, nose pressed to metal scribe, “almost like you are trying to climb into the very plate itself to personally act out the story you are tying to tell.” And that’s a little how S.P.Q.R. feels.