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Tobi Dele-Davids: Playing with colours at 10

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Hello Tobi, can you tell us who ‘ArtByTobi’ is and how you started in this line?
My name is Tobiloba Dele-Davids, I am 10 years old, my parent said I always liked drawing lines and playing with colour. I was two years old when I came up with a splash of colours they believed looked promising to call my first artwork

How were you inspired?
I didn’t know what inspired me at that time, but I always felt at ease doing something arty. It has always been a safe harbour for me and I’ve been influenced by Pablo Picasso saying that “every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”

What categories are you best at: comics, portraiture, fashion illustration, abstract, etc?
I’m good at comics, Portraiture, fashion illustration, recycling waste product to make something useful.

How was your training like? Were you trained by a professional?
Like I said I was self –taught, but over the years I have been tutored by artist who dedicated a whole summer holiday to teach my cousins and me the rudiments of art. My mum works in advertising and all the graphic artist guys and my cousin were instrumental into helping me to be a better artist.

Can you share your feeling whenever you are drawing?
I am always at peace, like in my world, every other thing stops, there’s always that feeling of satisfaction. I always want to be better at the next thing.

Have you ever drawn for money before/have you been drawing for money?
My drawing was put up for sale at an exhibition to commemorate the Easter celebration in a church at Banana Island. The proceeds went into charity. However i design Ankara hairclips and hair bow, which I sell for just a small amount. My school organises entrepreneurship day, which is the day set aside to bring in things to sell. I intend to do framed pictures of my painting , T-shirts and mugs with my painting on them.

What drawing tools do you use for your drawings?
Nataral pencils, coloured pencils, glitter glue, acrylic, sketchpad, markers, canvas, paint, pastel crayons.

Do you see yourself, as a company or an innocent girl with passion for drawing?
Initially, I did all for fun, a hobby I enjoyed but as I grow older I’m discovering I could make this a way of living, I will always remain the innocent girl with a passion for all things arty, but I intend to also build a business out of this.

How do you manage schooling and drawing, especially when working on major projects?
I have learnt that there’s a time for everything. For now I ensure all homework, projects are done first before drawing. But I spend most of my weekends and holiday drawing, painting, turning scrap to art etc.

Arguably, you are a good artist; however you still look up to some people that are more established and fulfilled in this line. Who do you look up to?
People like Mrs Nike Davies –Okundaye; I am amazed at what she does and what she has accomplished in art. I also look up to Mr Kunle Adewale (artunbi) who we popularly call (Uncle Kunle) at how he is touching the lives of special need children and sick children with art.

Of course there are so many kid artists just like you. What do you feel makes your own brand stand out from others?
Apart from drawing and painting, I think turning scrap into something useful like an empty box of shoes into a vanity case takes the day for me. I see art everywhere.

Have you ever had an artwork for sale before?
Yes.

Can you also do fantastic works from off your head, like putting stuff down without looking at a reference?
I do that a lot, i design clothes too; my mum has promised we will bring some of my fashion ideas alive.

When you see super-awesome artworks by some kids, do you feel motivated to do more or lagged behind?
Initially I used to feel my works weren’t good enough, but my parent kept insisting I take part in competitions, so, I could improve and see what other children are doing. So, when I see any work now, I try to see how I can learn the techniques and do it better

Do you also do ‘you-tube training’, like getting some hidden processes in art: blending tips, shading/gradient, giving texture, choices of pencils and other techniques needed for a great artist?
Definitely, like Fun2draw.

Were you at any point discouraged, maybe by friends, siblings, parents or even pressure from studies?
No, everyone has been encouraging; even my classmates, I did a little postcard with different drawings for a couple of people in my class and I was surprised when some people asked that I do same for them. I think I have the best support system.

Where do you see ‘ArtByTobi’ in the next five years?
Artbytobi would have won more competitions, especially the Toyota Art contest; I won’t rest till I win it. I see myself being recognised and winning a lot of awards, but most importantly i want my brand to reach out to children in the world. Watch out for me.

What other things are you skilled at, apart from drawing?
Fabric designs, I am an aspiring author, and a volleyball player

Have you featured in any art exhibition? If yes, what was your experience?
Nike Art Gallery, it was awesome, i discovered that Art is all encompassing. Some things might look silly to a passer-by, but it’s a great piece of art by those who know. I am going to own one in the future.

Have you any word to kids with potentials out there?
Believe in yourself, take a step towards fulfilling your passion and the world will come calling.


In this article:
Tobi Dele-Davids
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