Hello, it’s been a while

Ella Johnston still life (c) ellasplace.co.ukMy first post of 2018, sorry it’s taken me so long. Although I’ve been quiet on the blog front I’ve been busy everywhere else; undertaking illustration commissions, preparing for up-coming exhibitions, making craft how-to videos, growing my print and stationery business, continuing my work with Uni-ball and Dannells and working on an exciting new publication for Dunlin Press. I’ve been working like a beast.

Ella Johnston Illustrator photo: Martin Bewick
Hello!

The break has actually been a good thing as it’s given me some space to think about Ella’s Place. From the very start I wanted this to provide a genuine insights into a creative life; my work in progress, they way I work, what inspires me, what I do, my processes, plus my passions and penchants. A step away from the blog has made me think about the best ways I can get back to that original concept.

Ella Johnston Illustration Workspace (c) Ella Johnston
My drawing board!

So many blogs are product focused and I do want to show you stuff that I like and things that make me go ‘ooh’. But I don’t want to simply do product placements – I want to inspire you, make you smile, let you know what I am up to and hopefully give you some practical tips, advice and insights into illustration, craft, up-cycling, veggie food, mindfulness and living an all-round fun, balanced, creative, happy life. I’m working on it. Pimped up POSCA pots (c) Ella Johnston

Drawing of the week: A rainbow unicorn!

Unicorn Print Ella Johnston. Available on Not On The High Street.

I know. Me? A rainbow unicorn? Drawing of the week? Yes, yes and yes.

The unicorn is a very special drawing for me as it meant doing something out of my comfort zone and taking a bold step.

Last month I visited the Not On The High Street partner day – it’s a great event for all the sellers on the site to come together learn from each other while also getting insights and advice from the NOTHS team. One of the services they offered was a clinic looking at my shop and evaluating all my products. To be honest this was a big deal for me – after creating the illustration, designing the products, shooting them, writing the products and marketing them, sometimes criticism, however useful, constructive and helpful, can be hard to take. But I have resolved this year to take the advice, learn from any criticism and act on it and most of all not to take things personally. So I made use of this years clinic for my shop.

Actually I received very little criticism. I was on trend, my products and photography were really good and I got the word ‘beautiful’ a lot (always good). I just needed to work on my SEO and put some of my products into a more lifestyle setting. After all that stealing myself it was one of the most positive experiences I’ve ever had.

Unicorn Print Ella Johnston. Available on Not On The High Street. God, this is getting to be a long story, sorry.

Anyway I asked the women running the clinic if there was anything I could do to improve my offering, anything my style could be suited too, anything new I could try. “A unicorn” they said, “Create a range with a unicorn.”

Okay.

But I don’t do girly stuff. I don’t do fanciful stuff.

Why don’t I?

Why don’t I try something I’ve not explored before?

So I set about answering this brief. I wanted to do it with enthusiasm, integrity, honesty and love, like I do with all of my illustrations. After lots of visual research, I got really excited about this new challenge and set myself seven days to create the illo then get it onto a print and get it into the shop.

I picked up my watercolour paints and fine nib black pens and went to work. Dr B was quite surprised, he envisaged a mythical, goth type creation instead he got a handsome steed with a rainbow mane – a girly unicorn!

Unicorn Print Ella Johnston. Available on Not On The High Street. So here is the unicorn print. I’m immensely proud of it as it represents more than a drawing but is a symbol of my journey as an illustrator and as a person, leaping into the unknown and trying something new. I’m hanging this bad boy in my office now to show me why it’s so important to keep striving. You can buy my print on Not On The High Street. 
Unicorn Print Ella Johnston. Available on Not On The High Street.