HANDS OFF MY DINOSAUR
With a name like Hands Off My Dinosaur, it's hard not to get noticed. Today we talk to Teo Zirinis, the illustrator behind all things comic and punny @handsoffmydinosaur that has taken social media by storm. Being based in Greece we discuss Teo's local creative scene and all about his new card range with Ohh Deer.
Let's begin with the most obvious question; as i'm sure you're aware the name of “Hands Off My Dinosaur” is pretty ‘out there’. Where did this wonderful creation come from and from this, what triggered you into becoming an illustrator?!
It’s a super random story, really. A few years back, during my first year at university, I was setting up my art blog, and was brainstorming for a name. I made this super random doodle (pictured below) with the caption “Hands Off My Dinosaur!” The randomness of it all made me giggle and think, “yep, good stuff” and I’ve kept the name ever since. To make it even more random I opted for a blue blob with a moustache and a suit as a mascot instead of going with the dinosaur.
As for illustration, I was drawing and doodling for as long as I can remember, it took my mind off things and it was always a great way to express myself, but it was always a hobby I had on the side (I studied archaeology and then worked as a tennis coach for most of my early adult life).
However, the more time passed the more I felt like being an illustrator is really what I wanted to do, so I’m pursuing this feeling and giving it a shot.
It's safe to say you're smashing the illustration dream Teo!
Speaking more of your background and being from the blissful country of Greece – what is the creative scene like where you're from?
The creative scene here is very rich and diverse. I really like how the modern and the contemporary coexists with the country’s classical culture and history.
Scrolling through the Hands Off My Dinosaur Instagram, it’s certain you have a specific colour palette. How did you gravitate towards these swatches and what is your LEAST favourite colour to work with?
Haha, yes I’m a big fan of light (or blue) backgrounds and soft colour palettes. I think it’s something that sort of happened over time, I used to work with very bright colours but as I slowly found and developed my own style I found these palettes to suit me better. As for my least favourite, green is a colour I don’t tend to use much, although I have nothing against it :)
Green can be tricky to work with!
People come to you for wicked puns, so good we decided to also put them on greeting cards! How do you keep thinking of cracking ideas? We also notice that many of your designs stem from Tv or Film, do you find yourself to be an avid telly watcher?
...And I am super excited and grateful for that! :)
I write down and do rough sketches of pretty much every idea that comes to me, no matter how silly, dumb or random it might sound in my head, and then I pick my favourites and work on them until I’m happy with the result.
Yes, I’m a big movie and series buff! My favourite show is Twin Peaks, hands down.
And finally - What is your favourite design you have ever created, and do you have any exciting future plans for Hands Off My Dinosaur?!
Every design I create is somewhat special to me, and I can’t really decide on one, but When You Gotta Go and Sharkasm would definitely be two of my top picks.
As for future plans I do have a couple of creative projects in the works that I will hopefully be able to share very soon, as well as a couple of silly book ideas that I am currently working on :)