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Lindsey Wixson
Badly Drawn Models instagram interview Lindsey Wixson@badlydrawnmodels

@BadlyDrawnModels is your new Instagram obsession

He may have failed his art GCSE, but he’s putting his talents to use capturing the fashion world’s famous faces

Sean Ryan never really took art seriously in school. “I failed my art GCSE and, at the time, that pretty much ended any aspirations of becoming ‘an artist’,” he says. Luckily for us, the universe had other plans. Using Instagram as his platform, Ryan started posting illustrations to accounts including Badly Drawn Authors, Badly Drawn Rappers and Badly Drawn Footballers, before turning his talents to the world of fashion and capturing the girls he followed on Instagram. Badly Drawn Models has been his biggest hit to date, with almost 18,000 followers – including some famous fans. “Edie Campbell started following me a few days ago and I had to double-check my phone just to comprehend it,” he explains. “It’s slightly baffling.” Now a bona fide member of the Internet’s So Bad Its Good artistic cannon (along with Chris: Simpsons Artist and Shitty_Watercolour), we sat down with Ryan to discuss models, Insta-celebrity and why he wants to remain bad at drawing forever.

Where did your interest in fashion come from?

Sean Ryan: I’ve never studied fashion, so my interest in it has come primarily through magazines and the Internet. I think Instagram has been massively influential in giving people a glimpse into models’ daily lives and allowed interactions between models and fans to occur. I can’t see how, without Instagram, I could ever have drawn something and for it to be seen by people like Jourdan Dunn and Jeremy Scott.

Who was the first model you drew?

Sean Ryan: Rather than just drawing my favourite models or the most popular models on Instagram, I wanted to create a sort of A-Z of models on Instagram, so my first drawing was Ada Martini. Looking back, it was obviously far too ambitious of me to try to draw every model on Instagram. I didn’t even make it past “A” before I started getting suggestions and requests, so I gave up on the A-Z plan and just started drawing models that I thought would be interesting or who people wanted to see.

Who has been your favourite to draw?

Sean Ryan: It’s always great to draw distinctive faces, so some of my recent favourites have been Natalie Westling, Freya Lawrence, Molly Bair, Binx Walton and Kelly Mittendorf. I think they’ve all got such unique looks.

Who’s your favourite model?

Sean Ryan: My favourite model is probably Tilda Lindstam. I love all her modelling work and she seems to have a great sense of humour, too.

Any unusual commissions or memorable feedback from your subjects?

Sean Ryan: None of the models that I’ve drawn have asked me to take their picture down or told me that they hate it, so I guess that’s a positive. I haven’t had any unusual commissions, either, but I’d be happy to receive them!

Do you ever have to abandon a drawing because it’s too good?

Sean Ryan: Ha! I haven’t yet, but a few people have asked me if that moment will come as I continue drawing. I hope not! I’d like to remain thoroughly terrible at drawing forever. 

Check out Badly Drawn Models on Instagram here.