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Drawn to cycling: Showcasing the work of illustrator Grace Russell

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Celebrating five years of Rouleur illustrations by the sublimely talented Grace Russell

Grace Russell

The work of illustrator Grace Russell first appeared in Rouleur in 2015, accompanying Andy McGrath’s extended interview with the then Lizzie Armitstead. Lizzie liked one of the illustrations so much that it was given to her as a wedding present and is now believed to have pride of place in the Deignan family home.


While we’d like to claim credit for plucking Grace out of obscurity it was, in fact, she who originally approached us. Safe to say we liked what we saw. Over the last five years her work has featured regularly within our pages and, most recently, on the cover of our first lockdown edition, bringing hope and light to challenging times. That illustration proved so popular with our readers that we decided to commission it as a print for you to own.


Grace is based in London. Her work combines disparate pieces of collage with paint and charcoal to create evocative imagery that is both playful and controlled; the careful interplay between the figurative and abstract give her illustrations a unique visual language that lends itself well to a variety of work.


To mark five years of the Grace-Rouleur relationship, we’re proud to present a showcase of the work that has featured in the magazine.


Rouleur editor, Andy McGrath, says of Grace:

“It’s been a pleasure working with Grace over the last five years. One of her many qualities is her ability to pick out the most compelling human parts of a feature and turn them into impactful, imaginative and minimalist illustrations. Her Froome/social media illustration is a perfect example of that.”


Every one of Grace’s works that have been published in Rouleur can be viewed below. If you’d like to commission her (and you should), you can contact her via her website: GraceRussell.co.uk

“I’d like a cobble and a striped jersey, then I’d be happy.” – Lizzie Armitstead, from Rouleur 62

Grace Russell

“You’re a man, you’re all right, you don’t have to push a baby out. Now I am starting to think ‘crap, what am I gonna do after cycling?’ What career am I gonna have? Everyone’s buying a house, getting married, having kids and I’m still a bit of a nomad.” – Lizzie Armitstead, from Rouleur 62

Grace Russell

“Doing the whole celebrity thing made me realise even more that actually, I’m not impressed by it.” – Lizzie Armitstead, from Rouleur 62

Racing food, Grace Russell

The rules of this regime were many and varied, but a few stand out as remarkably illogical: the insides of a baguette were never, under any circumstances, to be consumed.Consumer Champion, from Rouleur 17.2

Racing food, Grace Russell

Steak, despite appearing prominently in movies you’ve seen about Merckx, plays a vanishingly small role in the diet of the impoverished (and, in my case, low ability) European bike racer. Mostly, one eats beige things.Consumer Champion, from Rouleur 17.2

Grace Russell

Here is the dietary holy trinity: “If it was good enough for Eddy Merckx, it’s good enough for you”; “Nobody is paying you to ask questions”; “If in doubt, pasta”. Consumer Champion, from Rouleur 17.2

Grace Russell

“It becomes a mindless thing. I’ll catch myself, like ‘what are you doing? You’ve looked at this all once already, nothing’s happened in the last 50 seconds that means you need to check Twitter again.’ It’s amazing how consuming it can be.” Anti-social media, from Rouleur 17.6

Grace Russell

“The inherent problem with social media is that it doesn’t leave any more than a superficial imprint on your psyche.”Anti-social media, from Rouleur 17.6

Grace Russell

“We Love Paris Roubaix” – Retail cover for Rouleur 19.2

Grace Russell

“My world collapsed. I wasn’t a cyclist anymore. From one moment to another, I lost not only my job, but also what I like to do. They took away a part of my personality. There was a lot of crying in the time after.” Heartbroken, from Rouleur 20.2

Grace Russell

“What professional cyclists do is awe-inspiring, but not healthy: their bodies are much like V8 engines pushing the chassis of a soapbox car. But striving for well-being never created any mythical figures or pushed riders up the last hairpins of Alpe d’Huez.” Heartbroken, from Rouleur 20.2

Grace Russell

What is a man to do when he has lost it all? First, Johan Vansummeren tried to hold onto his old life. Shortly after retiring, he went to the Eneco Tour. “I was standing on the other side of the barriers when the buses just left without me. I went home crying,” Heartbroken, from Rouleur 20.2

Grace Russell


‘Overcoming’ by Grace Russell, for Rouleur 20.3

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