An illustrator/artist/writer, there is not much Toby Morris doesn’t do, yet despite his busy workload he still managed to answer some of our questions and share his sweet at home art collection. Credit to photographer Sonya Nagels for all images in this interview.
What do you do?
I’m a comic artist, illustrator and sometimes a writer. I’ve got a few things on the go – I’ve just recently started working for the Spinoff doing illustrations and a monthly non-fiction comics series called The Side Eye. Before that, I was doing a comic called The Pencilsword. Recently I’ve also been doing comics for the School Journal too which has been cool.
I also do commercial illustration work – I do lots of band posters and in the last year have done things for brands like Allbirds, L&P and Edmonds.
Then I do my own personal work too – I’ve done two graphic novels and two kids books – and I’m a part of Inky Palms too – we make a lot of Risograph printed zines and prints.
What did you have for breakfast?
Strong black coffee and a bagel with peanut butter. I’ve been thinking I should cut carbs in the morning but then I wouldn’t have anything to put peanut butter on. And I can’t start the day without coffee.
What’s currently on your walls at home?
Too much! That’s a pitfall of being an illustrator is you make friends with other artists or follow other illustrators and end up acquiring way too much artwork to ever possibly hang! My office walls are almost filled floor to ceiling with all sorts of little bits and pieces that I enjoy – can’t describe it all but I have some favourite things up in there from Kerry Ann Lee, Sam Wallman, Giselle Clarkson, Sophie Watson, Chippy, Rebecca ter Borg, Gemma Correll, M. Fikaris, and a cool arrow sculpture by Ignasi Tudela.
Then in the lounge and hall and all over the place, we’ve got art too – In the hall I have a huge Jaime Hernandez print that is my favourite picture ever, and a bit of Moebius and Jay Ryan and Kate Woods and a woodcut by my friend Peter Stenhouse who passed away (RIP). In the lounge, there’s some Jordan Crane, Para, my friends Rick and Barney, Sophie Watson again and a gig poster by Heads of State. In the kitchen is a bull print by Alvaro Sotomayer, a little James Kolchalka painting, and all around the house mixed in are photos by my wife Sonya Nagels and a few prints of mine.
If you weren’t making art/doing what you do what would you be doing?
I’ve got two kids so most of my time not drawing I’m hanging out with them. I’ve done a little bit of music in the past so maybe if I couldn’t be drawing I’d get back into that.
The NBA. Sports is like this never ending always unpredictable soap opera. Such great characters and you never know where it’ll twist and turn next. I often have basketball playing in the background when I’m drawing – I find the burble of the commentary quite comfortable and relaxing.
Career highlight so far?
The Edmonds baking powder box was a cool one because I bet they probably won’t update the packaging again for 50 years. The Pencilsword comic ‘On a Plate’ was pretty life-changing – the success of that one gave me the confidence to quit the dayjob and draw fulltime.
Dream project or collab or both?
At some stage I’d love to make an animated film or tv show. I’ve got a few ideas for scripts but it’s just so time consuming, I don’t think I’ll ever have enough time to properly write a whole thing, let alone draw and design it or go through all the whole funding and production process. Fun to dream about though.
What I’d love to do is team up with a mean animator though, even if it is to work on some little things.
Plans for the future?
More comics, more kids books, more commercial illustration. I’ve got a list of illustration goals that I’m slowly making my way through. A big one I’d like to tick off this year would be to create a proper old-school sunglasses-wearing possibly skateboarding mascot for a commercial product. Like the old extreme sports peanut that used to be on Eta Peanut Butter. The trends have swung away from sunglasses mascots, I think it’s about time to swing back into them.
Build your dream concert, 3 acts you wanna see live. Living or dead.
Maybe an old early rock’n’roll band like The Sonics, but not as old men, as their old in-their-prime selves, and they’re actually black and white. Then Husker Du, in colour, and Prince.