Richard Smyth was born in Colchester, England, and studied at the London School of Printing and Graphic Arts, Portsmouth (UK) College of Art, Twickenham Technical College, and Northeastern Illinois University. After coming to the United States he founded a company that specializes in airbrush illustration and photo retouching. His long-standing interest in mechanical subjects includes a love of trains, which started when he was very young. He considers himself fortunate to have seen many steam locomotives while they were still running on British Railways. Today his focus is on American electric traction and British trams, working in airbrush, pen and ink plus watercolor, oil, and graphite.