While a student, Tobias was interested in preserving works of art and took an apprenticeship as a painter and varnisher, with a view to studying restoration at university. He worked as a painter and varnisher for a while, went back to studying but decided illustration interested him more, so he took a course in graphic design.
First, Tobias draws the main elements of his images using a Fineliner pen, as well as coloured pencils, watercolours, chalks, felt-tips and more. Then he scans them in, and arranges the composition and fine-tunes the colour on his computer. For a cleaner, sharper look, he works in Illustrator, but if he wants something a little looser he’ll use Photoshop. He tries to keep the digital aspect to a minimum because he likes the little imperfections that come through working by hand.
Tobias has a traditional, almost folksy drawing style, yet his work has plenty of contemporary zing. He combines symbols and concepts with a human and emotional edge, using patterns and textures to give the images added decorative charm. His black and white line work is usually complemented with a restrained selection of pastel shades.
Question: What drew you to illustration/design? Tobias: I have always drawn. That is one constant in my life. the other constant is making music. I played in a band where I could always draw the artworks. I received then many inquiries for my work from other musicians and found out how much I liked doing it. So I was basically pushed towards it. Question: Do you have any formal design training? Tobias: No, not in the classic sense. My first profession was painter and lacquerer, aiming to become a restorer. But I dropped that idea and studied social pedagogy. There was this clash between the pragmatism of craft and the social part of me. At this moment I already got the idea to become an illustrator. That´s when I started with a graphic education. Question: Where do you live? Tobias: In the amiable Agnes quarter of Cologne. Question: Can you describe your studio for me? Tobias: I work from home, 50sqm that I share with my girlfriend and our cat "Kioki". Question: What is your biggest inspiration? Tobias: Nature, people, animals, landscapes. Anything which is ideal and imperfect at the same time. Question: How do you get the best ideas? Tobias: That varies a lot. When a project just runs well it can push my ideas. But it can also be quite fruitful when I really have to fight with myself to get to the base of it. Sometimes the more extraordinary work derives from that. Question: What technique do you use? Tobias: Fineliner, pencil, baleen, ink, acryl, pixel and vectors. Sometimes everything in combination, or something completely different, to keep things interesting. Question: What would be your dream job/Commission? Tobias: I never really thought about that. Maybe I would like to create banknotes or stamps. Question: Who are your illustration heroes? Tobias: I don´t have an idol, but as an old punk maybe I would name Pushead and Raymond Pettibon. There are so many great illustrators, it´s hard to only name a few. At the moment I really like Lloyd Eugene Winter IV. Question: Do you keep a sketchbook? Tobias: Yes, but unfortunately I don´t use it often enough. I rather have a sketch drawer or a sketch hard drive. Question: What are your hobbies? Tobias: Playing music, drawing, and painting really good things. Question: If you were not an illustrator, what would you be? Tobias: Anti-Star in the Rock business. Question: Who would you like to meet? Tobias: I think the illusion is at most times larger than life. Question: If you could travel back in time, where would you go to? Tobias: Berlin in the 20´s. North-America before the Europeans came and going back to the 70´s and 80´s but not as a child this time. Question: What kind of music do you listen to? Tobias: Lots of different things. Mostly post-punk and noise-rock. Question: What is the funniest thing you have ever done? Tobias: Studying social pedagogy. Question: If you won the lottery, would you still work as illustrator? Tobias: Of course! Question: Do you collect anything? Tobias: No. Question: Do you have a favorite game? Tobias: Minigolf.
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