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Image of the day: Janelle Monae by Tobias Hall

Tobias Hall is a freelance illustrator, letterer, designer and mural artist based in London. Today's image of the day comes from his self-inititated series of illustrations entitled Musicians. We caught up with him to find out more

Computer Arts: Tell us about this series ...
Tobias Hall:
Initially I'd drawn Jimi Hendrix, Graham Coxon and Lemmy as one of three rough concepts for a completely different project – a mural for Holiday Inn. They decided to go with another of my concepts instead.

I quite liked the roughs, though, so I thought it might be nice to develop them further and make a couple new ones to create a personal series. Given that I had no client brief to answer, I just used the project to experiment with colour, light, shade and silhouette.   

CA: How do you put each piece together?
TH:
I'll start by drawing from photo reference. I scan into Photoshop, where I'll just lay down solid blocks of colour. Then I use the pen tool to block out areas of shadow in black, before applying the Soft Light layer setting and using the eraser tool to blend them in.

Finally I'll add texture and tweak the colours a bit more until I'm happy. Like I say, I had a fair few of the drawings done already, so the project didn't take too long: I'd guess each image is about eight to 10 hours work. Sometimes less. 

CA: How did you get into illustration?
TH:
 I guess I fit into that creative clich of always having enjoyed drawing from when I was a kid, but I didn't really think I'd make a career from it until I graduated in 2010. Since then, I've been really lucky to have some great opportunities come my way, and I've just tried to make the most of each.

I'd say my illustration style is a combination of fairly rough lines and graphic elements. I like the idea of including rough marks in an essentially graphic composition. It's something I want to work on more going forward. My work has only really taken that approach for the last year or so, though, so it seems to be changing slightly as time goes on. Throughout uni, my illustration hero was David Foldvari, which probably isn't too evident in my work now, so it goes to show how much it's moved on. I'm also a massive fan of Keith Haring, and, more recently, make sure I keep up to date with the work of artists such as Kilian Eng, Jack Hughes, Becha and Yury Ustsinau amongst a load of others who wont come to mind. 

Check out more from Tobias Hall's Musicians series below and at tobias-hall.co.uk

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