Monday, August 31st, 2015

Fan Profile: Shea Ryan



RD: Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m in ‘this half of life’, just north of halfway… 54. I worked in printing, publishing, web development (design, coding, user interface, etc), illustration, even some fashion advertising/illustration, from the first year after high school until just after 2003. About 30 years, give or take, until a spinal injury, and a few years after, Multiple Sclerosis, arrived to sideline me , careerwise…

RD: How and when did you first discover Rhodia products?

I wanted to be an ARCHITECT when I was in 6th grade through Junior High! Living near two major universities meant I was able to frequent some great local art supply stores, so I bought my first Rhodia orange grid pad (top tape version – even then I had developed a taste for such, eschewing spiral-bound notebooks) at age 11 or 12, where I spent many a young day designing incredible dome and earthen homes, multi-unit dwellings, even a space station type setup! – on those wonderful gridded pages.

RD: Does using Rhodia products in any way make your job easier? (Do quality tools make the job easier?)

Rhodia was not only a pleasant orange color I took a shine to early on, it allowed me grid paper in varying sizes and layouts, and I used my trusty pad with its easy perforated pullout pages for my works start to finish… later I used some smaller sized pads for, literally, purse and pocket availability, for those moments of inspiration when my larger pad was at home or just too large to ‘take along’. Quality counts, not just in paper quality, but size, format, even color. The standout feature I loved and needed in a grid pad back then? Rhodia’s incredibly sturdy hard back, perfect for my often deskless work!


RD: Which are your favorite Rhodia products?

Favorite products by Rhodia would have to be the grid pads, because that’s where my early history with Rhodia products lies… HOWEVER, getting to see how far Rhodia’s come in the past few decades, in variety, format and COLOR! – has made me hungry to try out EVERYTHING (I’ve been both an artist and writer the past 30 years since those early dreams of archictecture, so have a lot more needs to put a Rhodia to work on, these days) and give that question (what’s your favorite) a different answer, later.

RD: Where do you regularly purchase Rhodia products?

I used to love going in to an art supply store just inside ISU campus, called Art Coop, and linger for HOURS, like some people might cruise a shopping mall; I wanted to see, touch, test, everything that was ‘just in’ and new… since the advent of the world wide web, and online shopping has become so commonplace, I often look for new art, drawing or writing products via Amazon, or would consider buying directly through the maker (ie: Adobe software, Rhodia…)


RD: Do you use them in any way that is specific to your job?

Although I am no longer formally working a ‘job’, per se, I have more of a use for products like Rhodia’s grid pad, or lined and unlined notebooks, for various efforts I still try to regularly challenge myself in, such as home and building designs (as a hobby), illustrated type for page illustration (like making fonts, but MANUALLY, on a gridded page), storyboards and project sheets for product and jewelry ideas, etc…. it’s simply ENDLESS, the amounts of things one can do, artistically and journalistically, and the varieties of paper products needed, to see those ideas become working projects!

RD: Pencil, pen, or other? Favorites?

Being an illustrator for many years, I used pen and ink for most contracted illustration work. A favorite medium was colored pencil and pastels, which were also a large part of my later illustrations. Nowadays, Multiple Sclerosis has zeroed in on first my eyesight (a torn retina and subsequent vitreous damage in my right eye resulted in an almost 50% loss of vision, and recently, an increasing left eye twitch became full blown hemifacial spasms- these plague me about half the time, often enough to frustrate me, not regular enough to thwart me) so I find writing has become more of an issue. The gridded pads please me more than the lined ones because the grid aids me in keeping symmetry on point, when I am drawing things, like, for instance, a garden gate, or an illuminated capital ‘H’, but I find a blank paper works better for me in writing a letter to my son than lined paper, because my hand will spasm many times while I am writing, and my handwriting WILL slant and/or slope, miss the blue line completely, and I don’t need the lines to be there EMPHASIZING that little trait I have to live with now…. And because my hand pressure can often be uneven, I’ve been teaching myself to use and appreciate the fountain pen this year. It’s a challenge, because more patience and attention to positioning of the pen nib means more fatigue, even frustration, but I LOVE the results I’m getting now. It’s like taking the long scenic drive to work, instead of the fast track highway: the longer drive becomes the best part of the beginning of the day, almost therapeutic, and the benefits are cumulative. It’s almost like a relaxation technique takes over, and my hand spasms seem to happen LESS as a result!

RD: Is there any way we could improve on your favorite product?

Years ago, my favorite notebook was the pocket size (but back then I also had the smallest, neatest printing hand!), but in the past few years, I’ve found I have to use a larger size simply because of logistics in holding the pad/notebook still, on a surface, be it my knee, a lap desk, even cradled against my chest and shoulder. The ‘demi’ size of the 8 x 5 or so notebooks/ pads of today are PERFECT for me in capturing my paper, not too small, not too big! And I’m pleased to have found Rhodia’s products are available to me, and others similarity challenged, in such a wide array of sizes, proportions and formats! And I can STILL ‘just say no’ to spiral/wire, if I want- Rhodia has it ALL covered! ;-)

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