Drawing of the week: Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus illustration (c) Ella Johnston

My drawing of the week is a young eucalyptus plant.

I was at a friend’s house last weekend and she had gorgeous bunch of eucalyptus in her lounge. They also looked so elegant placed on their own in the vase, unadorned, unfettered by other blooms. Inspired by these I had to source some of my own sprigs to draw.

It has kick-started me trying out some more botanical illustrations. I’ve already done some further eucalyptus sketches and some more watercolour and ink drawings of ferns.

 

Drawing of the week: cockatoo

Cockatoo illustration (c) Ella Johnston

I really enjoyed doing this drawing of the week, my sanguine looking cockatoo. I’ve drawn it as part of series of bird portrait works to be exhibited later this year.

Now I know this black cockatoo is rather purple in his hue but I wanted to reflect the luxurious, deep and rich nature of his plumage. Very few dark shades are just black, they almost always have a base of purple, green or blue at their core.

As usual I created the illustration in watercolour and fine pin ink pen but this time I used a posca white pen to create the little dots on my boy’s feathers.

Drawing of the week: Rooster

Rooster drawing/illustration (c) Ella Johnston

We recently welcomed the new luna (or is it lunar?) year of the rooster so it’s only fitting it’s this week’s drawing of the week.

As much as I like a brown or black bird illustration, the bird I’ve drawn here is a Brown Leghorn rooster, which I have chosen purely for his plumage. When I got out my watercolour paints to illustrate this fella I knew warm orange, purple and emerald hues would be the order of the day. I really wanted to go to town on the colours for this guy as I think the rooster (also known as a cockerel or cock) is such a glorious creature  – I really admire them as they pace around the chicken pen.

As well as being the symbol for my football team, the cockerel is also a scared animal in some cultures, with the rooster being associated with the sun goddess Amaterasu, in fact Zoroastrianism held the rooster as a “symbol of light” and associated the cock with “good against evil” due to its heraldic actions. So all praise for the mighty rooster!

Drawing of the week: Peacock butterfly

Peacock Butterfly (c) Ella Johnston

My drawing for this week is a Peacock butterfly.

Created with watercolour and ink, this colourful illustration was made for my illustrated butterfly guide print that will be coming soon.

The Peacock butterfly is one of the most easily identifiable butterflies in the UK. The eyespot markings act as a deterrent to potential predators. The underside of the wings are almost black which gives it wonderful camouflage when its wings are folded upright. They also have a loud grating noise produced by the rasping of their forewings, which acts as a secondary deterrent for creatures that want to eat them.

Drawing of the week: Orange tip butterfly

Orange tip butterfly illustration (c) Ella Johnston

This week’s drawing of the week is a Orange tip butterfly.

After all that Christmas stuff I’m now working on illustrations for next year and I’m going to make an illustrated guide to butterflies. This is the first of many butterfly drawings.

The latin name for these creatures is Anthocharis cardamines and you can find them in damp pastures and meadows, damp woodland edges and glades, riverbanks, ditches, dykes, fens, railway cuttings and country lanes.

Christmas gift wrap ideas part 4: Christmas tree tags

trees_1_white My final Christmas gifting idea can also double up as decorations! I just decorated these mdf Christmas trees with posca pens I had left over from my autumn shows.
trees_1_blackI’m very fond of sticking to a simple set of colours, so as well as using black and white designs I’ve also done some black, silver and gold trees. It’s about as bling as I get. Both of these would go with black wrap or metallic gold and silver papers.
trees_2_whiteAs you can see I’ve used my laurel stem design (how to here), and simple star, snowflake, heart and tinsel motifs.
trees_2_black Another of my go-to motifs is my simple flower design. Like my other Scandi-style shapes it’s really easy to recreate as you’ll see by my how-to below. trees_3_white trees_4_black
demo_flower_4 Simple flower how to step 1:  Make a three curved marks one at the top and two at the bottom. demo_flower_3Simple flower how to step 2:  Add two lines between the triangular shape so the shape resembles a dancing man.
demo_flower_2 Simple flower how to step 3: Draw curves around the lines to make petals and add a dot in the middle.  demo_flower_1 Simple flower how to step 4: Colour in the petals and make little dots around the shape.

Drawing of the week: Zebra

zebralowres_20

This time for my drawing of the week I’ve done a very earnest little Zebra. Even in the middle of doing loads of Christmassy type stuff I still made time to work on my zoo animals series.

Although I love black and white drawings I can never resist subverting a traditional black and white subject with a bit of colour, so as well as using my black pens on this illustration I’ve adding some purple and yellow watercolour notes.

Drawing of the week: Pelican

Pelican drawing by Ella JohnstonMy drawing of the week this week is of a pelican.

As a prolific drawer of birds, I’ve always wanted to draw a pelican. I like the long beak/bill (with that funky pouch) and squat body; they appear to me as both elegant and bulky at the same time.

This illustration was created with blue and orange shades of watercolour and black uni-ball pin pens. He looks quite stern here but I’m sure this guy is quite friendly when you get to know him.

Drawing of the week: Elephant

Elephant Illustration by Ella JohnstonThis week’s drawing of the week is of an elephant.

There are no trends, no ‘work’ here (even though I have been talking about drawing zoo animals). I made this picture for my husband.

It was our 14 ‘ivory’ wedding anniversary. We’re not buying each other ivory because that’s wrong, so we needed an alternative. We (completely independently)  used our imaginations with this watercolour and ink illustration and Dr B wrote me a poem entitled ‘Elephant’.  We think they are our best pressies to each other in all our marriage.

Drawing of the week: Bear

Bear Illustration by Ella Johnston

This week’s drawing is of a bear. I’m exploring zoo animals at the moment and I’ve developed quite a stash of sketches of zoo creatures so I wanted to share this quickly made illustration with you.

As usual this drawing is created with watercolour and fine-nibbed pen. I wanted this to be gestural and light in contrast with the animal’s large, imposing structure.