Monday, January 28, 2013

Tayo Fatunla - Cartoonist Survey #278

Award winning cartoonist, illustrator, designer, caricaturist, storyteller and educator Tayo Fatunla was born in Wimbledon, England in 1961. He studied first in Nigeria at Lagos Baptist Academy and then at the Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art in Dover, New Jersey in the early 1980s. Tayo had his first cartoon published in the Nigerian children’s magazine, Apollo, when he was only 17; and while studying at the Kubert School, he was working as a designer and caricaturist for several clients.

In 1989 Tayo started working for the London based news weekly magazine, West Africa. That same year his educational feature on African Heritage, ‘Our Roots’, became a weekly serialized feature in the British paper Voice. Since then, he has drawn cartoons and illustrations for magazines, children’s books, posters, CD covers and more. He has also created cartoons for websites such as, BBC World Services and British Museum. His international client base includes newspapers such as Daily Times, Punch, Concord, New York Amsterdam News, New African, Thamesmead Times, Courrier International as well as DC Comics and many other publications.

Tayo has had three books published including two on black history, “Our Roots” and “Our Roots – Black History Sketchbook”. His third book, “Tayo – Thro’ The Years” was published in 2001 and is a compilation of his editorial cartoons that have been published in magazines, books and newspapers from around the world.

In addition to creating artwork, Tayo is also a visiting speaker and lecturer. He has spoken at the Addis Ababa University - School of Journalism and Communication in Ethiopia, the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the National University of Ireland in Galway, Instituto Professionale Di Stato per L'industra L'artigianato in Italy and the University of Rouen in France. He has taught cartooning to the young and old at workshops and exhibitions all over the globe including, the U.K., Nigeria, Algeria, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Finland, France, the U.S., Egypt, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Mallorca and South Korea.

Tayo is a member of the National Cartoonists Society, National Union of Journalists UK, and the Professional Cartoonists Organisation UK. His work has been exhibited in the USA, France, Britain, Nigeria, Finland and Italy. He is married with two children and lives in Dartford, Kent, England. Visit his website and his blog to see more of his art and learn about his workshops. You can also purchase Tayo’s books here on his website.

What is your favorite pen to use?
PITT Artist Pen - Pen Brush

Do you draw in pencil first and if so do you use a standard pencil or a mechanical one?
I love my mechanical pencils 0.5 and 0.7

Do you do your coloring by hand or on the computer?
I use one or the other or use both depending on the technique I want to arrive at.

If you do your coloring by hand, what do you use?
Watercolour, Dr PH Martin's transparent watercolour and colouring pencils.

What type of paper do you use?
Plain paper 8.5 x 11 and sometimes on art boards and about the same size.

What thing(s) do you hate to draw?
A crowd but professionally will still have to do it...I have to be patient.

Do you buy your supplies from big chain art store catalogues/websites or a local one that you physically go to?
I like seeing what I want to buy in an art store...more or less window shopping for new and interesting and unique materials. Whenever I need to replace a material, I go online. I also shop in art stores in other countries just for new items as well.

Are there any rituals that you do before starting to draw?
None at all except thinking through my concept and being the judge of the idea.

Do you listen to music while you draw and if so what genre?
No’s a distraction.

What was the first job as a cartoonist/illustrator that you were paid for?
A children’s cartoon strip in a magazine called APOLLO in Lagos, Nigeria. I was in High School then. I felt rich among my mates.

Did you read comics as a kid and if so what was your favorite?
British Comics - Beano, Dandy, Roy of the Rovers, Battle.
American Comics/strips - Marvel and DC comics.
Nigerian Comics - Pop and Powerman.

What is or was your favorite comic strip?
Peanuts...still is.

What was your favorite book as a child and do you still own a copy of it?
No particular one but mostly Fairy Tales books such as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.

Did you have any formal art training and if so where did you receive it?
The Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, Dover New, Jersey now called The Kubert School.

Do you feel that the Internet is a blessing or a curse?
Tremendous blessing. It has opened doors.

Did either of your parents draw?
Not one bit. My Uncle, Augustus Abosede did.... he was encouraging.

Who in your life is/was the most supportive of your art?
My parents. They paid my way to The Kubert School. I am grateful to them.

Do you keep a sketchbook?
Not really but I file my sketches.

Have you ever taught cartooning/drawing and if so did you enjoy the experience?
I teach Cartooning often at wherever I am invited to do Workshop sessions and as at when required. The experiences have been so great and has taken me to places I would never have been. There's an aspect of tourism that comes into play when I travel around holding Cartoon Workshop sessions. I have educated and inspired many. The enthusiasm to teach Cartooning came out of assisting Mr. Joe Kubert at the Saturday Sketch Classes held at the Art school.

Do you feel that talent or passion is more important in drawing?
The talent needs to be developed into something you are passionate about and not only to make a living from it.

Do you collect anything and if so what?
I collect art materials. Some I have not used in years.

If you were an animated cartoon character who do you think you would be?
When I was growing up I always wanted to be Mr. Fantastic of the FANTASTIC FOUR. Not sure I want to see myself elasticated now.

Are you a righty or lefty?
Righty from birth!

If you weren't an artist what would you want to do for work?
Write books and tell lots and lots of stories to children. It never crossed my mind once to want to do any other work apart from drawing.

In one or two sentences describe your drawing area.
I am a Cartoonist, Comic Artist and Illustrator and I draw editorial cartoons from an African perspective about global issues. I am encouraged by requests to reproduce my cartoons and I also do educational drawings to help inform and educate, such as my historical feature OUR ROOTS which began at The Kubert School.

Do you play any musical instruments?

If you could give one piece of advice to someone who wants to pursue drawing as a career what would it be?
A baby must crawl before he or she can walk. Learn to draw first and then draw later and look up to great artists who can inspire you. Charles Schultz inspired me and Nigerian cartoonists such as Toyin Akingbule and Kenny Adamson as well.

Who is your favorite artist?
The late great Joe Kubert for his awesome Narrative Art. He tutored me.

Enjoy this short video of Tayo speaking about African cartooning by Nicoletta Fagioli.

Thank you again Tayo, for taking the time to participate!

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