Sonntag, 1. Mai 2011

small talk ::: julia friese

(c) julia friese
today i invite you to a small talk with the great german illustrator julia friese. have a good time!

hello, i am julia friese. i grew up in potsdam and after spending a few years in ireland, france and spain i have now come back to live and work in Berlin. i studied graphic design and illustration in dublin, bilbao and leipzig.

how did you get into design/illustration?

after finishing highschool i went to paris for working as an au pair for a year. i spent a lot of time in the libraries there and was amazed by the beautiful collections of childrens books they had. during my first year in college i started writing and illustrating childrens books myself and was lucky to find a publisher for these first projects on a trip to the bologna childrens bookfair.

i have also worked in different ceramic studios, i also worked in different ceramic studios, painted, sowed, printed, sculpted wood - everything that could get my hands dirty. at the same time i was studying graphic design and started working as a freelance designer. before finishing college i worked in a design studio in barcelona for a few months and fell in love with the spanish approach to design where big banks get fine arists to design their logos, where advertising and design is often playful and more sensual than here.
poster and free works by julia friese
where do you find inspiration?

in conversations, books, on journeys – away from home when my senses seem more open and sharp.

wooden houses, 2010
during the last years christian duda, the author i work with a lot, and me have been giving a lot of workshops to children in different countries around the world - being in such close contact with children, watching them draw and make up their own stories has been a huge inspiration.

how do you go to an design approach?

i love the process of research... entering into new topics and subjects. i then have to sketch down a huge number of usually stupid ideas before i start to come up with fruitful concepts - it´s a little like peeling the layers of an onion.

i really like working in a team, both in design and in illustration - the option of dialogue and exchange often makes it much easier to make decisions, to progress.

bisbee, arizone, monoprint, leipzig 2003

what do you love or don´t you like about your work?

i always have the commercial work / personal work balance conundrum ...  at the same time i love the variety of areas i am working in – switching from design projects to childrens books to working directly with children and adults in workshops. and i very grateful that my work has been taking me on a lot of journeys to different countries - which is such a different way of travelling to just going on holidays.

design of irfu stadium for 6 nation games 2008
do you have any plans for 2011?

recently i have started work on a new book. christian duda and me are invited to some new places to work with children towards the end of the year.

also i would like to get to draw more for adults and make time for painting and printing ideas that i am carrying around with me. i have always wanted to get into editorial work with magazine but haven´t found the time to make connections in this area yet.

corporate identity die
wolkenkuckkucksheimer (film and script)
what does your studio look like?

i try to keep my work space uncluttered and as white and bright as possible - it´s not easy but gives my thoughts more space ...

brushes, paper collections, a printing press, a scanner, a printer, a big metal filing cabinet and a computer – all live side by side. 

what makes felicious design from your point of view?

i really like when one gets a sense of the work of human hand from an image or a logo or a layout – a certain sensuality, even imperfection. and ideas that are carried by strong concepts.

our everyday life is flooded with a lot of bad design, so many visual impressions that are thrown at us – i often feel quite tired of the amount to information, signs, posters, photos etc that surround us. it would be lovely to have more empty spaces in the urban environment...

thank you so much, julia, for that exciting small talk. if you would like to see more of julias work please have a look at her website.


  1. tolle zeichnungen, ich bin ganz begeistert.

  2. ja, ich auch!!! besonders von den zigarettenschachtel-bildern!