Partly inspired by Ričards’ interest in psychology, It Must Be Nice stems from his Erasmus+ studies. During his studies in Portugal, he collaborated with the publishing house Stolen books to create an illustrated book that details the 27 emotions that scientists have identified in human beings.
To bring these feelings to life, Ričards interviewed 27 people from around the world and created accompanying artwork. Whether it’s Dave from Italy sharing a memory of empathy or Hebe from Nicaragua describing his satisfaction playing his bass guitar, each personal account is loaded with sincerity and honesty.
Besides hearing from other people, It Must Be Nice was also a way for Ričards to understand himself, explore his own emotional depths, and try out a new personality. “Sometimes I overthink certain things,” he told Creative Boom. “Lately, it’s been much better because my life is more peaceful now. And because the last two years of my life have been like a roller coaster.”
Full of daring illustrations, the book also allows Riards to indulge in his favorite activity: illustration. His style is immediately recognizable thanks to his use of simple shapes, bright colors and the use of cubes that have marked him since he took drawing lessons in art school. “It had an impact on my work because in art school you always start with a basic cube,” he says. “That’s where I started, and I guess it stuck with me. I’ve used it as a storytelling tool ever since.”
Interviewing people from dozens of different cultures and backgrounds, Ričards says living in Lisbon has proven to be a huge advantage. “Everyone meets in Lisbon,” he reveals. “For me, it was like the center of the world. And I managed to find people in different ways. Some of them I already knew, like the people I met in college where I I was studying. Some I met through the owners of the studio.”
And the good thing about the studio owners is that they know a lot of people because they have lived in Lisbon all their lives. During this time, Ričards encountered interviewees on the street or in random places like the beach or a bar. “It was a challenge, however, because not everyone is ready to share their personal life!”
Delving into the private lives of dozens of people is sure to unearth some strange stories, but Ričards was surprised to learn of their difficult experiences. He notably felt a ‘deep feeling’ after realizing that everyone, including strangers who passed him on the street, has a complex life story that he constantly experiences despite a lack of awareness about it. .
“Over those few months, when I was listening to all of these stories and memories, it was surreal to hear what someone had been through, both good and bad,” he says. “People have deep, thoughtful questions and seek answers, just like me, and it made me feel more understood. It even changed the way I look at life now, and I’m happy with the way I see her.
“Because of these humans, their stories and their questions, we are all one. Be kind, be respectful, do it with love, whatever you do.”
It Must Be Nice is available to order from fly press.