Daisy White Wolf likes to keeps things simple
Illustrator Daisy White Wolf finds inspiration from un-celebrated animals and endeavors to tell a story through simplicity.
Based in London and working from her busy home studio, Daisy creates drawings that champion overlooked creatures and offbeat characters. We sat down with Daisy to talk about her work and how adopting a pared-down approach to drawing has led to some interesting projects.
Tell us about how you developed your style – it’s very cute and light hearted; have you always drawn like this?
I think at University I was drawing in, what I guess was, really round shapes and bold colours. Its not something I have tried to shy away from because I thought that it was childish or naïve, I just really enjoy the easiness of it. I’m attracted to simplicity and love the relationship between certain colours/ shapes and marks. Murray (boyfriend and fellow illustrator) is the opposite and uses a lot of layered detail. I guess I’m just trying to make an image that’s impactful.
His style is super different to yours, do you work together at all?
We both work separately on what we want to but have often we find working together on different projects really great because we such different skill sets and styles. It’s something that we’ve done since we met at University. Everything kind of grew out of being able to work well with each other and being really honest about each others work. We’ve also had quite a lot of experience in marrying the styles together either in the way that we use two themes, the cute with the grotesque or we’ll sort of create a style in between.
We’ve had quite a lot of experience in marrying the styles together either in the way that we use two themes, the cute with the grotesque or we’ll sort of create a style in between.
Did you go to University? How have things moved on since then?
Yes, we studied at Birmingham Institute of Art and Design – University seems a long time ago now! We graduated in 2010 – it’s crazy when you think about it! I’ve really enjoyed these five years in London and just getting to make and do as much as i can without having to feel too much pressure. I feel like I’m getting to that stage where maybe in the next five years I need to focus completely on one project and use all the skills I’ve gained from this time. I can see myself planning to do an MA.
I was thinking of doing a course that was slightly more specific. It’s quite overwhelming being out of University for five years. I was looking at textiles and also printmaking because I did a lot of that when I was studying and when I first moved to London. At the moment I don’t have a screen printing studio so I’ve been concentrating on a lot of projects that don’t involve that process. It’s something I’d like to get back into for sure.
Great! Do you have a studio or work from home?
We have a good living space so we work from home, though I’d be quite happy to have a desk space somewhere – Murray actually works completely at night…which is really unhealthy! Because he’s up working nights I often end up staying up with him, we sit opposite each other on a big desk. I had a studio in Clapton when I first moved to London for about 2 years but unless I was specifically focusing on screen printing I wasn’t making enough money from it to justify renting it.
I want [my work] to challenge and excite change… I need to come up with those big ideas through experimenting and play.
How did you end up living in London? Did you move here to start working as a self employed illustrator?
I came down with my two of my friends from University first, Murray moved a month or two later. When I took the leap and moved and got that studio in Clapton I felt like I was doing ‘it’ working hard and making art in London. It was great but I needed another job in London to pay the rent. Believe it or not I actually worked on the Census when I first moved to London, I’d just go around peoples houses seeing if they needed help filling anything in, it was quite a strange job! Outside of that I spent a lot of time going to illustration meet ups and introducing myself to people who were already in London. I feel the illustration community is friendly and open to anyone and being part of it is a good way to find work and friends!
Are there any artists that you look to for inspiration?
Apart from Friends With You, I really like Henning Wagenbreth, he’s a German illustrator. His work is angular, so I suppose quite different to mine, but I love the use of colour and his work always has quite a political lean to it. I want my work to be more political as I feel like I’ve relied on my work having a positive message, but I want to work on injecting more sub-text for sure. I’ve been reading ‘Saga’ a popular graphic novel series, the artist ‘Fiona Staples’ is amazing! I’m really into her work at the moment, her work is digitally painted so its nothing like my work at all, but I find inspiration in the way that she creates narrative simply without loosing impact.
Tell us about the last project you worked on?
I actually did some little stickers for ‘Elle Magazine’ – I was asked to contribute to a fold out page called ‘Fashion Designers As Animals!’ They did one in the last issue which was fashion designers were drawn as food, Julia Pott did some in the last one and I thought hers were really cute! It was a really fun little project, I did Issey Miyake as a Yak, Giorgio Armani as a llama and then Peter Pilotto with his boyfriend as otters!
Did they approach you?
Yeah they came to me, it’s really nice when that happens! I hope to keep building relationships with commercial clients. I feel that it’s worth spending more time on my work without having to keep changing it for briefs etc. Even if I don’t do an MA this year I think I’m going to concentrate on a my “message” and get some work together that’s really concise. I feel like cards are things that people like to pass on and share in a positive way, so I’m going to work on a collection of little greetings cards. I made some at Christmas and got a great response. I sold them in a few shops and now I need to get on it and make some new ones!
Sounds like a fun idea! What have you got coming up at the moment?
The main thing for me right now is to work on what I want to put out into the world. I want my ‘Message’ to be more than ‘Aww thats cute’ I want it to challenge and excite change. I wish to return to print making to get messy and inspired. I need to come up with those big ideas through experimenting and play. Then the big messy ideas will trickle down into smaller more concise ideas ready to be sent out into the world. Oh I do hope that makes sense and doesn’t sound crazy…
Photo credits: Daisy White Wolf