Sorbet and Signs: Meet Daisy Emerson
Daisy Emerson is an Illustrator and Artist living and working in Kent. She caught my eye a couple of years ago on insta and I’ve had a literal obsession with her work ever since. With clients including Google, Facebook and Adidas, Daisy is kept super busy, but we finally managed to catch her in her gorgeous home studio for a bleth…
So, what’s your story Daisy?
I left school at eighteen and went straight to Central St Martins, which was a bit of a dream of mine. It was great to finally be in London, experiencing everything both artistically and socially at that time of my life. I went onto London College of Communication to study Book Arts but it wasn’t really suited to me. I left the course and took a year out with a view to re-applying to do Illustration the following year. That didn’t happen, instead I started working and earning a bit of money!
I worked in several big agencies doing various production roles until I finally settled back into the freelance life about three years ago. My experience working in those agencies definitely set me up for what I’m doing now though. I wouldn’t know half the things, or have half the contacts I do, so I’m thankful for the time I spent in those roles.
Had you always dreamt of being a artist?
I’ve always loved typography but it’s not always what I’ve practised. I used to paint a lot, especially portraits, I did a lot of life drawing at one point. It was a signwriting workshop I did a while back that kicked it off. Ever since then, I’ve been hooked.
Describe your creative process in 3 words.
Research. Begin. Continue!
It usually starts with an idea I’ve had in my head, or if it’s for a client I’ll sit down and go through their brief then gather some inspiration online. If I get stuck or I notice myself sub-consciously trying to avoid a project (if it’s not really grabbing me) then I just have to physically start the project, whether it’s priming a surface of wood, or pulling together a mood board, at least I’ll have started it. It ‘usually’ just flows organically from there.
There’s also a fair bit of trial and error. I’ve started experimenting with new surfaces recently so there’s been a lot of scrapping and starting over! It’s frustrating but I always try to keep going. If something’s not working, try it a different way, don’t give up on an idea!
I’ve always had a mad pench for typography and dabbled in doodling letters whenever a boring meeting takes over my day. How can I level up my skills?
Find your niche and then practice. Look to others for inspiration but try to put your own stamp on your work, be original. At the end of the day you’re creating a brand, you want your work to be recognisable.
Your work is It’s totally lush, you have a very distinctive style using beaut ‘sweet/sorbet’ colours. How did that evolve?
I think it was something that just happened organically. I wanted to add a bit of a modern twist to the traditional craft of sign writing so I tried to do this through my colour palette, hopefully it’s something which sets me aside. Lots of people have said they recognise my work because of the colours I use, which I like!
How do you split your work day?
For me, it’s either got to be an admin day or a painting day. If I try and mix the two, I find I get really distracted and I can’t focus! I think most creatives will empathise with the fact that I absolutely hate admin and accounts stuff, *yawns*.
I do find juggling things quite tricky, I always say that one day I’d really like an assistant! When you’re working on your own, everything is literally done by you and only you!
We saw your work around London last year where you created some genius street art around Carnaby Street, and you also had work exhibited at Pick Me Up at Somerset House. These are really high profile projects/opportunities. Does opportunity often come a’knocking, or is there an element of putting yourself out there involved?
Carnaby was a great opportunity for me, it was pretty much the first big wall I’d painted EVER and I was so nervous! I had great help from two guys I sometimes work with on larger pieces, it was really satisfying when it was all done.
It does involve a certain element of putting yourself out there, meeting people, networking etc. especially at the beginning of my career. Now I’m lucky enough to be quite busy, so I don’t have to do that so much. I’d like to start exhibiting more work, so that’s become a focus for me this year.
Career highlights so far?
I’ve worked for some great clients like Google, Facebook and Adidas so I guess building my client list has been a highlight! It’s also really nice when people re-post your work on Instagram and say nice positive things about what you’ve created, I think that will always be a highlight for me, it keeps you going and makes you believe in what you’re doing.
What’s the biggest challenge you face, being Daisy Emerson?
Coming up with new ideas and not getting complacent. It can be tricky to feel motivated to produce new work. I feel like I want to try new things and push my work further but finding inspiration can sometimes be difficult!
How do you promote yourself? What platform do you feel benefits you the most?
Instagram is the best platform for me, although I feel like it’s changed somewhat since the very beginning. I hope I don’t fall out of love with it as it’s been such a good tool for promoting my work! I’ve met some really great people via Instagram too, so I’m thankful for that.
Where do you gather inspiration from?
Everywhere really, I follow a lot of people on Instagram who I like to think give me inspiration, not necessarily just artists but bloggers, fashion brands, photographers, interior bloggers, magazines… lots of visual stimuli!
Best advice you’ve ever been given?
“It won’t matter in twenty years time”. Something my Dad always says to me so I try and go by that when something doesn’t go quite right! I’m getting better at learning to chill if something doesn’t work the first time. I’m a complete perfectionist though so that can be pretty hard for me!