Emily Dayson


Emily is a freelance Illustrator based in Cheshire working with digital collage techniques and hand-rendered textures to create meaningful illustrations inspired by wellness, nature and the female form.

Portrait of Shena Simon by Emily Dayson

Artist Spotlight

How would you describe what you do?

I combine hand-rendered textures with digital techniques to create organic and contemporary Illustrations. A lot of my work is inspired by nature, self-care and female empowerment.

In an increasingly digital world, what is the appeal of print?

Although the bulk of my work is created digitally, most of my personal projects are intended to become prints and cards. People are sharing photos of their home interiors on Instagram more and more, which has made people think outside of the box when it comes to choosing wall art. Rather than just buying generic canvases and cliché prints from chain stores, people are looking to buy artworks from independent artists so they can personalise their spaces. It’s so easy to browse Instagram or Etsy and find a huge range of beautiful & unique prints, delivered straight to your door.

What aspects of your work / creativity bring you joy?

Over time I’ve developed a range of processes that all work together to create my illustration style. In order to create my textures I will spend a day where I will pull out all of my art materials – a range of inks, paints, pens, powders & pencils and just go wild on big sheets of paper. I love this experimental and free side of my work that really helps to give my illustrations an organic feel later on. After I have scanned these in, my work becomes much more clean and composed. I tend to flit between Illustrator and Photoshop to digitally collage my textures and gradually build up more and more detail. I have always loved using Photoshop and eventually realised that it produced the best results and the most enjoyment for me.

How do you create your ideal work space and conditions so that you can be at your most creative?

I find that I need to have a tidy home and workspace before I can get started creatively. Otherwise, I will be thinking about the other things I need to get done – I need to have a clear head! I have a desk space set up in my bedroom but I usually end up working at my dining table. It’s right in front of a big bay window, letting in loads of light, which I’m obviously drawn to (so are my plants, which also surround me at the table!).

Who has been a significant influence or had a meaningful impact on your work?

As illustration is relatively new as a commercial profession, there aren’t many big names that stand out for me personally. I take inspiration from a huge range of current artists, big and small, whose styles vary a lot. These range from the more traditional and organic style of Maggie Chiang, to the more contemporary and graphic style of Evan M. Cohen. I tend to take inspiration and ideas from small elements of others styles to develop and enhance my own work.

If you could master one skill you don’t have right now, what would it be? 

I would love to be more proficient in Illustrator. I use it mainly to draw smooth lines and shapes, which I then develop in Photoshop. I think I could probably improve and speed up my work process if I could master more of Illustrator. I will keep it up!

We’d like to ask you to recommend a ‘woman in print’ to us…

I am really loving Artist and Illustrator Maggie Stephenson at the moment. I love the abstract shapes she uses to create different female form compositions, as well as her beautiful limited colour palettes. It appears that she paints her images by hand, but they are so cleanly drawn that they also look as though they could’ve been made digitally. Most of her work has been designed for print as wall art, and I just want all of it!