Richard graduated in illustration and design from Duncan of Jordanstone
College of Art in Dundee Scotland in 1990. He has spent the best part
of the last two decades working in newspapers as an illustrator and
His first piece of field reportage was with the Detroit Free Press
in 2003 when he accompanied a USMC regiment during the invasion of
Iraq. Since then he has used the same sketch and written format, working
in locations such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. R.C., Zimbabwe,
Kenya, C.A.R. and Afghanistan. Richard is always on the lookout for
opportunities to use the medium to draw peoples attention to subjects
they might otherwise ignore.
Richard first cut his teeth as a media embedded artist in 2003 with
the U.S. Marine Corps during the invasion of Iraq, and is now nearing
the end of his current trip to Afghanistan. He is currently stationed
at Camp Morehead somewhere south of Kabul.
Richard works from life in every possible instance unless he can’t
do so due to circumstances beyond his control. ‘Sometimes things
just don’t stand still in a war zone’. In that instance,
he works from photographs he has taken or from memory, and always
within 24 hours of an event having happened. After 24 hours his connection
to the event seems to slip and he starts to lose the detail. Richard
never works from anyone else’s photography. Being there and
seeing it for himself, he says, is the whole point.
"Johnson draws in the field, sparking an immediacy
and freshness that traditional war illustrations lack . . .
he never goes back to it, or fill it in, and do the ‘prettying
up’ that other artists do . . . he captures the
everyday reality of life on the ground through this more raw artistic
Curator, The Smithsonian Museum of Armed Forces History
Post Kandahar Journal
illustrated guide to a war journalists kit