Ričards Znutiņš-Znutāns new book containing “27 types of human emotions” is a global exploration of human psychology

Based out of Riga, Latvia, Ričards has built illustrations out of interviews that have taken place across Spain, Turkey, China, Morocco, Nicaragua, Australia, and many more.

1 April 2022

“I would describe my style as a mixture of simple shapes, bright colours, texture and 45 degree angle cubes,” says Ričards when we sit down to chat with him. His illustrations are as fun as he is, and it's a philosophy he keeps close to his chest. “Without fun, there is no point, right?” He asks, referring to the array of zestful characters in his work. His style of simple shape with bright colour works mostly as a reference to a youthful practice – namely, a practice he picked up “ever since I started taking drawing classes in art school,” he says. “Ever since then, I've been using it as a tool for storytelling.”

Despite the coincidental similarity to our own name, Ričards new book It Must Be Nice has stood out to us as a joyous celebration and exploration of human psychology and emotion. Think Pixar’s Inside Out meets Cubism. “I guess my artistic inspirations are usually based on my personal life, because we as humans experience a lot, while living on this planet Earth,” the illustrator explains. “But, only a few of us are putting that experience and transforming it into something more meaningful.” Ričards is certainly one of those few, and now, thanks to Portuguese publishing house Stolen Books, his investment is coming to life. Telling us about the process of crafting “a journey of memories with 27 emotions inside of them,” Ričards points to his own psychological journey he undertook to make the book. “I wanted to try to understand myself more, explore my own depths, try on new persona, dig to the fullest, so I could live calmly” he says. “But, only then I understood that there is a lot more to dig into and no peace was made.”


Ričards Znutiņš-Znutāns (Copyright © Ričards Znutiņš-Znutāns, 2022)

It Must Be Nice is part of Ričards’ ongoing project to expand illustration beyond a “decorative element” and more towards “an impactful tool for problem solving.” Illustration for Ričards, as seen in the book, is “about making things work, instead of making things pretty.” On that note, Ričards admits his “illustration style for sure is more simple than detailed in relation to curiosity,” but it’s the things he talks about within the illustrations themselves that make way for his ever-curious nature as an artist. “After imagining scenarios, I start from black and white sketches on the paper, and then choose my favourite/most interesting picks,” he adds. “Later on transferring it to a digital field and making colour adjustments and adding texture.”

With the publication under his belt, as well as his first bits of press coverage, Ričards is now steadfast in his commitment to the power of manifestation. “I created this book while I was in my Erasmus+ studies as a student in Portugal,” he tells us. “Firstly it started just as a school project, and later on it transformed itself to an internship project with Stolen Books.” It’s a place he never thought he’d be only two years ago. “My conclusion is that anything that happens, happens for a reason,” he says. “Even if it goes completely downwards from the start, I really do believe in manifestation and positive thinking…a lot of great experiences are yet to be experienced!”

GalleryRičards Znutiņš-Znutāns (Copyright © Ričards Znutiņš-Znutāns, 2022)

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Ričards Znutiņš-Znutāns (Copyright © Ričards Znutiņš-Znutāns, 2022)

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About the Author

Joey Levenson

Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.

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