David has been able to use art as a means to escape, as a way to express himself and also as his way of life. Already having overcome major hardships in his personal life, David continues to persevere in order to make his mark on the world. With his unique talent for using just pens to complete his artwork, David is among a few artists who work with a pen. Over his career, he has studied works of artists who inspire him and has created his own style called Draftolism. Journey into David's life and work.

Instagram: olatoyedavid
Facebook: Olatoye David Babatunde
Nigeria, Oyo State


David Olatoye Babatunde


Tell us about yourself
I am a native of Ogun State, born on July 17, 1995. Unfortunately, my father had to abandon me, and my mother took over. At a young age, art became a friend of mine. It has been my main form of expression. It's been my dream and passion.

What kind of art do you do?
Mainly, realism with pen but sometimes I try to flow with other forms of art.

How did you get started & how long have you been doing it?
I began by training myself in any means and mediums I found or saw. Soon, I found a gallery and learned under the tutelage of Tope Fatunmibi (Topfat Art Gallery). I've been an artist for about 6 years now.

What or who inspired you?
Honestly, only a few people around me have inspired me, often times I inspire myself. People aren't used to what I draw and how I draw. Due to that, they sometimes ignore me or trash my work. Due to my kind of background and society, nobody ever believed in what I can do because they aren't familiar with it. 

How do you work?
Since I use a pen to draw, it's kind of hard to do work on big canvases sometimes. I have to lay the canvas down, it can't be upward. I don't really have a special location for working, I usually carry my board around and begin I when I find something.

How has your practice changed over time?
When I began, I was only able to draw with one pen but now I can use 4 pens at a time. Depending on how big the work is, I can hold 6 pens if needed. I find that holding multiple pens don't ruin the shades or have other negative effects on my art. However, one thing I’ve noticed lately is that I can’t hold just 1 pen to work anymore. I think I am becoming a wizard every day I practice.

What has been a seminal experience in your career?
My first seminal experience was being able to meet one on one with multiple high-class artists who furthered my education in art. They inspired me to start using imported materials to do my art.  They believe that my art will be able to last the test of time. My other seminal experience was when I was invited to participate in an art competition. I saw some various forms of art that inspired me to do more.

What's your favorite piece from your collection?
My favorite piece was a 2ft x 3ft painting of a baby I made with pastel colors. It was titled "Peace." I loved the colors on his face, the gentility that flows like the joy of a river.

How do you know when an artwork is finished?
An artwork can never be finished, it can only be done to the taste of what you want. Art is something inspirational, and it has diverse ways of communicating with the world. Though it is what you produce that people see, still I wouldn't say an artwork is finished.

Where does your inspiration come from when you are working?
My inspiration is "song". I love music. Sometimes my artwork flows from listening to a cool song while at times it stems from just the sound of the instruments. However, if inspiration becomes stagnant, I just have to take a walk and leave it for a while.

Do you pursue themes?
I don't pursue themes but sometimes a theme is created as I work.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
I've been given a lot of advice, and the best piece of advice was “be the best you can be, anything you find yourself doing now, do it well".

Professionally, what is your goal?
My goal is to become a legend in the art world with a pen. I want to be a role model for the generations to come. An inspiration. I want to stop the idea of "I can't" and change it to "yes, I can." I am not using a material that is common and even if it is, I am not handling it the way others do. I want to become a world painter with a pen and not with the common brush and paint.

Name three artists you'd like to be compared to.
1. The first artist is Ibe Ananaba, he was once my inspiration in Pen art, because I love the way he used them. However, he later switched to painting.
2. The second artist is Nicolasvsanchez, he is as well a great artist with the use of Pen.... He uses colored pen.
3. The third person is Mala Iwa Gbado, he is also good in Pen.

The various styles and traits of all of these artists helped me put together my new technique which is Colored Paintings with Pen. The difference between myself and them is that I do bigger works.

What message would you like to convey through your art?
With my art, I like to convey Love. I do so with the touches of color I use in each of my pieces. I also want to answer some questions in the society and provide an idea of our day to day living.

What artwork do you most identify with?
That's my recent painting of Bria Myles. The painting turned out to be my limelight. And the secret behind it was that I only got attracted to the beauty of her hair even without knowing who she is in the society.

What obstacles have you had with getting more people to know about your work?
Naturally, there are a lot of ups and downs. The internet has been my source of letting the world know about my art. There was a time I tried going to galleries just to sell my piece but I was a turned down. I've come to realize that I just have to wait until my time comes.

What obstacles have you faced as an artist?
As an artist, I've faced a lot of obstacles. I am self-taught, lack of supporters and art is basically my way of life.  Sometimes I have no money to buy materials and I take odd jobs to do so. All in the name of what I want to do, I want to create.