AT THE BAR WITH TOBIAS HALL AND DAN WOODGER
A couple weeks back, the Yarza Twins talked about creativity and collaboration over Happy Meals at McDonalds for a new Free Range interview series. This time around, London-based illustrators Tobias Hall and Dan Woodger met up at The Crown and Shuttle. First McDonalds and now the bar? Our members know how to keep it real.
Being illustrators, Toby and Dan maintained a dialogue through finishing each other's illustrations on cocktail napkins, though we're sure they talked a little bit during the process, as they'd never met before (unless you count Twitter messages.) The napkins tell the story of their meet-up, from pints at the beer garden, to some Pimms Cups, to hipster sightings, to an order of chicken wings. Though Toby and Dan make it look easy, apparently it's really difficult to draw on cocktail napkins. Good thing they're professionals.
What was the meetup like?
Tobias: We’d spoken a couple of times on Twitter but never actually met, so it was great to put a face to the name. The meeting itself was cool, we kind of just drank and chatted for a bit about the work we had/have on initially, and then moved on to the napkins.
Dan: Like Toby says, we’ve kind of known of each other for a while but only spoken online (this all sounds very You’ve Got Mail!) So actually meeting up, having a pint and doodling was really fun. We seem to have quite a bit in common so it was really easy talking with Toby and that made working together really enjoyable.
How did you decide what to draw on the napkins?
T: We just took inspiration from where we sat really! Naturally, the starting point was beer and then we branched out to focus more on the local area (Shoreditch) and some of the clientele.
D: Yeah, I think Toby probably drove the ideas more than I did which was probably for the best, I had come to the pub off the back of a really busy stressful morning so it was helpful to have someone driving this napkin doodling train. I basically just responded to the type Toby wrote to start with, but after I got a few pints in me it loosened me up and I gave Toby one of my dino dudes to respond too : )
How was it drawing on napkins? How many did you throw out?
T: It was pretty difficult! We experimented with a few different pens but initially everything we tried either bled absolutely loads or just tore the napkin paper. Eventually we settled on using 0.8mm pigment markers and just using them lightly so as to reduce bleeding and tearing. We threw out the napkins that we tested the pens on, but otherwise kept everything else - we didn’t draw enough to throw anything else out!
D: Drawing on napkins is the hardest thing ever. I starting working with a ballpoint pen as it didn’t bleed on the paper but it didn’t stand out either so I changed to the 0.8 pigment marker. I don’t think I coped too well with the choice of medium, but managed to draw a couple of things that were’t TOO bad...I won’t be rushing to use napkins again anytime soon though : p
Get any strange looks from fellow bar-goers?
T: Yeah wherever we sat we seemed to attract enquiries, people seemed pretty interested. It was cool to have a good chin wag with a few strangers though.
5. Most importantly: what beers did you drink?
T: You’ll be pleased to know we opted for Brooklyn Lagers! It’s my current beer of choice.
D: Very nice they were too! Thanks guys : )
Bonus question! How did you start your careers/decide to become illustrators?
T: I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after secondary school, but was okay at arty stuff throughout school so I went to uni to study graphic design, which then turned into illustration. After I graduated I did a few bits and bobs, and then went in-house with a restaurant chain as a designer. It was there that I started to dabble with lettering and type, and I soon realised that I was probably better at that than the conceptual illustration I’d been doing previously, so carried on with it.
D: Same here in regards to not knowing what I wanted to do after school though I always knew I could draw (albeit not too well on napkins!) but just considered it as a hobby and something to do in my spare time. I worked part time at a golf course during my teens and considered training to become a golf teacher for a while. It wasn’t until my very last month at sixth form college that I even considered taking art any further and at the last minute I changed my mind about golf and signed up for an art foundation course at my local college instead. Think that was probably a good decision...