Grad Spotlight: Tom Hughes aka HYOOS

HYOOS aka Tom Hughes is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer based in the UK.

Over the past year he has gradually built up his client list and launched his own brand of unique illustrative clothing We caught up with him to find out what he’s been working on recently and his plans for the rest of the year and beyond.

Tell us a little bit about your career so far – have you worked for any clients whilst you have been studying?

Since a young age I have always been drawing and creating things. Firstly copying out of my favorite books and magazines to then creating my own characters. Over the years I developed my skills and knowledge of how to draw bigger and more elaborate things! It wasn’t until University though that I started to take it to the ‘next level’ I studied Animation but was soon to realize that I was more into the illustration side of it all.

My style can be a little creepy but I like to add some humor in with it too at times.

I gave myself a pseudonym ‘HYOOS‘ (which I think is important if you want people to recognize/give a name to your work) and developed my style further. I contacted different agencies and other such places to see if they would need any work doing. I didn’t mind working for free at this point, it was all about exposure. Although that helped, it was Twitter that got me one of my biggest clients today. A sort after American DJ called Kickraux. I have now been effectively his Art Director for the past year now. It really is a bunch of free advertising for my work more than anything which is exactly what anyone needs! Although we’ve never met, he’s a cool guy. I have also designed for a few different small clothing companies as well which was fantastic.

To see people wearing my art is a great buzz, and that, really, has brought me to where I am today.

What aspect of your animation course did you most enjoy / not enjoyed?

As I said I enjoyed my course and animation is a fascinating subject. I love all that kind of thing. But I was always into the design and illustration side of it. Never really the moving part (which was the BIG part of the course) But that didn’t matter as I was able to help my course mates with that side so it all worked out well in the end. I will say University was the best 3 years of my life! (so far).

Tell us about the idea behind HYOOS, the name and why you’ve chosen to focus on this and not animation?

Although I wish I had a cool, funny or amazing reason why my name is HYOOS it’s literally just a different spelling of my surname ‘HUGHES’ I thought the way the word looked was nice and it stuck! A bonus is it’s an unknown word. Type it into Google and only I and all my work will appear. That is hugely helpful when I am showing people my work and helps the brand to be found easier as well, as that can be one of the harder things. is all about unique illustrative clothing. Something that is unique and won’t be found anywhere else. My style can be a little creepy but I like to add some humor in with it too at times. It has been tricky to see what works and what doesn’t on clothing and with such a competitive market nowadays I think people will like to have a different look on their torso these days!

Who are your creative heroes?

I only have one main creative hero that stands out always and that is a man called Keaton Henson. I have always loved his style and have taken much inspiration from him. He’s a pretty good singer songwriter too.

How do you get your ideas for your characters / designs?

The ideas for my designs can come from literally anywhere. I am always taking notes on things to maybe draw later so I don’t forget them. There is nothing more annoying than forgetting a good idea! I like the extra ordinary such as rare forgotten animals the world forgets sometimes. That and mythical creatures too of course! I am a big film and video game fan so that can help a lot but sometimes it’s just putting pencil to paper that is all you need to create something great and unexpected.

Where do you work at the moment?

HYOOS is taking up a lot of my time at the moment which is good but I am planning to move to Manchester very soon as I think a bigger area, preferably a city will boost the business up and up. Here’s hoping anyway.

What would you most like to be doing with your creative career in 5-10 years time?

Of course I would have hoped that HYOOS would have found it’s legs and be thriving by then. I am willing to push it hard to make that happen. I am always keen to get the brand into high street shops, it’s ambitious but I think it’s possible. There always has to be that next big thing! Along side that, I would also hope to be a freelance illustrator. Making people happy with my work has to be one of the better feelings. I am looking forward to what the future holds.



Posted on Oct 22nd, 14 by | Twitter: @lisahassell

Founder & director of Inkygoodness, Lisa is a published writer and arts journalist, focusing on creative business, graphic art and illustration and design education. Her words regularly appear in Computer Arts, Creative Bloq, Digital Arts and IdN.

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