Posted on Leave a comment

Drawing of the week: red squirrel

squirrel illustration by Ella Johnston

I’m in an autumnal mood now so I wanted to give you a drawing this week that reflected that, a lovely red squirrel, resplendent in his seasonal coat.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a grey squirrel (I don’t subscribe to the ‘rats with good PR’ school) but nothing beats a stunning red creature. They really capture autumn for me so I wanted a woodland classic for my illustration.

As usual I whipped up this fella using watercolour and ink, I wanted this to be quick and gestural like I was just catching him while he was away gathering his nuts.

Posted on Leave a comment

Drawing of the week: mid-century style leaves

Line leaves Ella Johnston

As I’m very happy to share my experiments as well as my finished pieces this week’s drawing of the week is my collection of mid-century style leaves.

I’ve been working on a set of autumn designs and while I’ve been enjoying working with watercolour and ink, these initial pen sketches shown here were a real joy to play with and reminded me of illustrations and fabric motifs from the 1950s.

Normally I would use these as a starting point for something else however I actually like them as they are, they have real potential for pattern designs.

Posted on Leave a comment

How-to: Easy Glass Lanterns

Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk Earlier this month I had great fun showing people how to use Posca pens to decorate glass lanterns the easy way at The Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts show at EventCity in Manchester.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk As you know I’ve been working with Posca pens all year, as I’ve done a lot of work with the company, but it’s always better when you can see what other people come with up when you show them how to use the pens.

I ran around five workshops in small groups of five or six everyday and it was such as pleasure to share some knowledge and see others’ creativity flourish.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.ukI made the illustrated lanterns shown here in preparation for the show, to illustrate how you can use the pens to decorate onto glass, using the different sized nibs and various colours to create different illustrative effects.

Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.ukThe glass drawing preparation work I’d done was a great way of kick-starting new ideas from my workshop buddies who used the designs as a inspiration for their own work.

I did a combination of easy dots and strokes, simple girly designs and seasonal Christmas-themed, autumn and halloween illustrations.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk I’d kept the shapes very simple and easy to copy and explored ways you can layer colour with the pen. And while some of my workshoppers stuck to simple dots and strokes or my easy shapes, others were more ambitious, creating stunning intricate designs of their own. It gave me a real buzz.
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk You can work directly onto these glasses with the pens. To seal in the design you simply bake the glass in the oven for 160-degrees (Gas mark 2 I think) for 45 mins so we’re using robust glass here. We used glasses from Ikea so that people could easily get more if they developed an addiction for easy glass painting. 
Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk
I’m doing a mini-tour of with the company and will be doing my do with Posca and other Uni-ball pens at the following venues.

NEC, Birmingham:  3-6 November
ExCeL, London: 17-19 November

Join me if you can, if not just check out what you do with some pens and some glass. Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk Posca pen lanterns ellasplace.co.uk

Posted on Leave a comment

Monday moodboard: Autumn

Autumn pattern

Rich, warm and inspired by nature – this week’s moodboard is all autumn patterns and motifs.

I know we’re only in September but this change of season is very exciting for me. Autumn’s natural colour way is a source of inspiration in itself. Rich purples and reds, faded greens, soft creams and burnished bronzes make me feel warm as the colder weather creeps in. The motifs too – poppy heads, falling leaves and feathers, pine cones and woodland animals – are such rich pickings for illustrators and artists. I’ve blocked out a whole three days of drawing this week to dedicate myself to precisely these subjects… Watch this space!