Studio Visit: Helen Friel and Daisy Tempest
In a leafy courtyard in South West London you'll find the charming studio space of Helen Friel and Daisy Tempest, two illustrators with strikingly different styles.
The studio complex itself comes with its own intriguing story. The main building now houses 20+ designers and artists but it was originally a grocery warehouse, and Daisy and Helen’s current standalone studio was the stables, with the cobblestone floor and farmhouse windows to prove it!
Our newest member of the Inkygoodness team Helena Maratheftis dropped by to see how the two illustrators influence and inspire each other.
First up, please tell us a little bit about yourselves…
Helen: We both grew up by the sea, I was brought up on the Sussex coast. I studied graphic design at Central Saint Martins and specialised in illustration. When I graduated I spent a year designing pop-up greeting cards and freelancing alongside until I had enough clients to leave my job. Daisy: I grew up in Cornwall, I spent my childhood messing around in boats and having windy picnics on the beach. I pine for the sea when I’m not near it. After finishing school I studied for a year at Art College in Falmouth, and then went on to do a BA in textile print design in Winchester. After graduating I moved to London where I assisted Zandra Rhodes, gaining invaluable insight into her creative process. If any one reading this is considering working for her, just make sure you don’t turn up wearing black!
I work almost exclusively with paper. My work is brightly coloured and quite graphic in style.
How would you describe your individual illustration styles and what are your materials of choice?
Helen: I work almost exclusively with paper. My work is brightly coloured and quite graphic in style. Daisy: I used a mix of gouache, watercolour, pastels inks and pencils to make my work. I would say it’s colourful and fun, I try to give each animal I paint a personality. When I’ve finished it gets scanned into the computer and made ready for printing.
I use a mix of gouache, watercolour, pastels inks and pencils.
How would you describe each other’s work in 5 words?
Helen: I’d say Daisy’s work is bright, textured, cheerful, bold and charming.
Daisy: Precise, intriguing, witty, playful, pape
What does a typical working day look like for you? Do you think it would be different with a different studio mate, or working on your own?
Helen: I usually answer emails at home before coming into the studio. If we’re both in we eat lunch together. We chat while we work but we can also spend hours in silence if we’re both concentrating. After working from home for several years I wouldn’t go back to working alone, I’d miss the conversation! Daisy: I start mornings answering emails and running errands, I generally get to the studio just before lunch and catch up with Helen, then I check my list of things to do and get started. Sharing a studio space with someone is much better than working on your own because you never get lonely and there is always a supply of tea and cake! The other great thing about sharing a studio with a paper engineer when you’re an artist is you never run out of paper.
We come from different design backgrounds and it’s great to pool our knowledge.
What’s it like to share a space with someone who has such a different illustration style to you? Do you think it has influenced your artwork – or the way you go about your work – in any way?
Daisy: I can’t speak for Helen but I have found another artists perspective on my work to be greatly beneficial. We come from different design backgrounds and pool our knowledge. Helen: I think the most valuable things are having someone you trust around to give you another opinion on projects and support you if you’re having a bad day. It can be quite isolating being a freelancer at times and it’s great to know that there’s someone to celebrate with or who can sympathise!
How long have the two of you shared a studio space?
Daisy: We have shared a few different studios over the years. I think this is our 4th studio together but I think we both like it here. Helen: We’re in the old stables now and it’s wonderful to have an outside space. We frequently have squirrels and birds wandering into our studio, it’s hard to believe we’re in London sometimes.
We frequently have squirrels and birds wandering into our studio, it’s hard to believe we’re in London sometimes.
What sort of space do you like to work in: Are you tidy or messy? Do you like to decorate or are you very minimal?
Daisy: Is this the part where you try to make us sound like disgruntled flatmates? Luckily both of us are not that tidy which means neither gets annoyed by the other person’s mess! Do you like how we’ve tidied the place up for you? Helen: I don’t know what you’re talking about, it always looks like this… We’re not super tidy but we can stand about the same level of mess so when the piles of paper get too big we usually clean up together!
What’s your favourite thing about sharing a studio with each other?
Daisy: She doesn’t judge my taste in music, on a Friday afternoon we love nothing more than singing along to a bit Cyndi Lauper or Fleetwood Mac but shhh don’t tell anyone! Helen: Taking it in turns to make the tea! Daisy is less cynical than I am and I think we balance each other out well. We also like listening to the same podcasts. When Serial was on we would make sure we were in at the same time to hear the next episode!