Illustrator Emily Eibel and the pixel master Tomby are, surprise, surprise, one and the same. Emily-Tomby took a moment to chat with us about what it’s like leading such a fascinating double life and we started off by asking how she would characterize the two different styles: ‘I guess Tomby is the technophile in me and Emily is the luddite. They seem disparate, but it’s really just one style in two mediums. Tomby is a digital manifestation of my love for painting. The digital work is built in layers of increasing detail, much like paintings are. The stitchings are just drawings with thread’.
Would you say that they inform one another?
‘They definitely do. The digital work opened up new palettes and more experimentation with color and subject for me which I was able to introduce into my sewn work. The digital can be made relatively quickly, so I’m able to try things out in an accelerated environment. My sewn work, because the process is longer, has to be more planned and deliberate so it really benefits from the play in the other’.
Do you find it hard to maintain focus/balance jumping back & forth between Tomby and Emily?
‘It keeps everything fresh. I’m often working on both at the same time, and I’ve found that the solutions for one style translate into solutions for the other. They develop in unison. Never a dull moment!’