Trader of the Month: Tobias Illustrations

Every month(…ish), we like to celebrate one of our traders. The Harbourside Market is lucky enough to be crammed full to bursting with some of Bristol’s best makers, creators, and foodies – incredible people with incredible passions, and we love them all. But every now and then it’s nice to single someone out for their hard work, creative ethos, and of course the sheer quality of their work. This October, we’re singling out Tobias Illustrations, who’s been with us for a long time and yet never fails to surprise.

Tobias Illustrations is Toby Brunsdon, an artist and illustrator based in Bristol who spends most weekends at The Harbourside Market selling his art in a variety of forms. We caught up with him to find out just what makes Tobias Illustrations so special.

Hi Toby. How long have you been illustrating?

I have been drawing since I could pick up a pencil really. As a profession for two years now after drawing my first zentangle animal piece: The Stag, back in October 2014.

What inspires your art?

Wildlife and the natural world has always been a big passion of mine, I love the outdoors and the creatures that call it home. This has been the basis and inspiration for most of my work.

What made you make the shift from just creating art to approaching it as a business?

I wanted to try and build up a brand around my illustrations, so I started off trading at The Harbourside Market to build awareness of who I was and what I’m doing. It’s been an amazing place for me and was the first market where I properly settled in.

How do you go about producing your art and products?

My artwork is all hand-drawn. I usually start with a reference photo to capture the basic shapes and outlines then just let the pen do the rest of the work. Turning this into products has been a challenge but one that’s been a great learning curve. I take a lot of pride in sourcing ethically and sustainably so all our clothing is made with 100% organic fair wear cotton, our greetings cards and notebooks are made from 100% recycled materials.

Where do you see Tobias Illustrations in five years?

Tobias Illustrations is now part of something much bigger called Illustrate, an artists collective. A new brand I have started with friends, dedicated to transforming art into fashion. We have recently opened up a shop: 28, Illustrate, The Arcade, Bristol, BS1 3JD. In five years time I hope the brand Illustrate has gone global with multiple stores across the country – one can dream!

If you could break into any art gallery in the world with no repercussions, what piece of art would you take home for your living room?

Tough question – my first instinct would be [Van Gogh’s] Starry Night from the Museum of Modern Art in NY!