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Moodboard: Scandi-style Christmas

Scandi Christmas MoodboardMy posts have been sporadic of late because I have been having the busiest time sending out Christmas orders and selling my ways in various Christmas markets. It’s been fun but boy has it been full-on.

Anyway, my festive mood, and indeed this Monday Moodboard,  is in total full flow now working on a set of Scandi-style designs and illustrations for Christmas demos for Posca pens and for my Christmas wrapping. I’ll reveal more of this later in the week but in the mean time enjoy some of the patterns and imagery that has been inspiring me.

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Monday Moodboard: Henna designs

MOnday Moodboard Henna patterns After a busy fortnight with holidays, workshops and Christmas prep, I’m back with some insights from the outside world – a Monday Moodboard dedicated to henna designs and patterns.

I get trend reports and press previews all the time but every now and then a trend comes along that I don’t know about that really excites me. While I obviously know about these beautiful, ancient designs, and have even had these exquisite patterns  painted on myself in the past,  I didn’t know they were capturing peoples’ imaginations right now.

How wrong was I?

Every teenage girl that came to my Posca pen workshops in Manchester and Birmingham wanted to recreate mandala and henna designs.  They were really very adept at creating these patterns and told me that they wanted to place these designs on their clothes and homewares. It’s good to get out there and talk to people – you can always learn something.

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Monday Moodboard: Liberty Print

Monday Moodboard Liberty Print

I’m working on loads patterns at the moment and Liberty print is the ultimate source of inspiration.

The eclectic collection from Liberty of London is so well loved and it’s not difficult to see why. Each design is a joyous celebration of colour, form and the beauty of illustration – it’s absolutely what I’m working towards with my work.

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DIY: My fabric designs

Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukI had a very exciting delivery last week from Spoonflower, who sent me some of my new pattern designs on fabric.

Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukI’d worked up four designs taken from my illustrations. I wanted to see how they would work as a patten repeat and if it translated onto fabric.
Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukElla Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukThe theme of this year for me has been to get out of my comfort zone. So I’ve created patterns with my tropical leaf drawings,  laurel leaf and feather design, watercolour spots and fox terrier illustration. I have done other, very simple, designs in the past with my hand-carved heart and leaf designs but these have been one colour one white and very basic repeat. Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukThis was new territory for me and I’ve not normally been this playful with my pattern designs before. Still, I’m loving pushing myself and these new design were a lot of fun to put together.
Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukCreating repeat fabric designs is kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. I make a ’tile’ so that it’s one square that can be joined together and repeated to create an overall pattern that can cover as big an area as you desire. It’s a really efficient way of creating a  large design.
Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.uk Seeing as I’m talking about getting out of my comfort zone I have to face one major stumbling block for me; sewing! I have undertaken some sewing projects before and have attended some great classes with Sew Over It but I admit I’m not the most confident with a machine.

I think I need some stitchy advice. What should I make with these fab fabrics? Where does an unconfident sewer like me start? Send help!
Ella Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.ukElla Johnston Fabric designs ellasplace.co.uk

 

 

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Monday Moodboard: Arts and Crafts

Monday Moodboard Arts & Crafts ellasplace.co.uk

The first artist I ever got into was William Morris, so it’s been real fun putting my Arts and Crafts Monday Moodboard together.

William Morris is the father of the Arts and Crafts movement and a true hero of mine. The following three quotes are really important to me and match my personal philosophy…

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

“I do not want art for a few any more than education for a few, or freedom for a few.”

Wonderfully the 2017 trend reports predict the designs of the Art and Crafts movement to be a key influence in new designs. I can’t wait to see this and see if the look will affect my own work. I must admit the flowing, ornate lines, delicate florals, gorgeous leaf motifs and pattern repeats have been gently guiding me throughout my illustration journey.

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Monday Moodboard: Penguin book design

Penguin Book Design Penguin book design has been an obsession of mine since I was a teenager when I spent an awful lot of time in libraries. Probably too much time if I’m being honest.

In those days I was continually on the hunt for new words, stories and worlds, I used to get lots of books out on spec. I read a lot of duds but I also came across a lot of good stuff too that has stayed with me.

The cover design played a very big part in my decision making process. From the classic orange cover fiction and stylish mid-century illustration to the glorious repeat patterns, it is all the stuff of wonder and as much of an inspiration as the words inside. As a consequence of this I read a lot of books published by Penguin; a great deal of classics and quite a few poetry collections. I’ve now bought a lot of the books that I borrowed and devoured during my teenage years (the ones I enjoyed at least).

As Creative Director of an indie publisher, I design all the books for Dunlin Press. So my youthful interest has become increasingly important now I’m a grown-up. When approaching the layout for each Dunlin Press book I always ask myself, “What would the Penguin designers do?”

 

 

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Monday Moodboard: Black and white

Black and white moodboard ellasplace.co.ukTimeless, classy and striking, I love black and white designs. In fact I can’t believe I haven’t featured this on my moodboard sooner.

I hardly ever wear anything other than black and white clothes (occasionally navy or grey but it’s mainly black and white). I also am a massive fan of simple black and white sketches, print and design. The purity, harmony and general all-round elegance is, for me, a total short-cut to cool.

At the moment I’m working on the design for a poetry book. The publication is printed in black and white so I wanted to think of effective shapes and marks that would look strong on the pages without distracting from the words (which are the most important thing). I’ve done lots of research and have settled on something that I’m quite excited about. You can’t see it yet but the book is set to be released later this year so, watch this space.

 

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Monday Moodboard: Midcentury Modern

MCMMoodboard

I’ve many go-tos for inspiration and although you may not think it, mid-century modern design and illustration is one of my favourite sources. That’s why it’s made this week’s Monday Moodboard.

Although my drawing style is heavily influenced by classical botanical illustration, I actually came to it via the route of mid-century modern. How? Well, when you look inside the original mid-century homes, as well as all those gorgeous geo designs,  amazing furniture, playful use of line and fearless colour combinations, there would always be a classic print or two hung on the wall, so I thought “if it’s good enough for them…”

Anyway this is one of my most loved periods for design and illustration I suppose it came from the fact that Dr B and I lived in mid-century apartments for the first 14 years together so we both became interested in this style in terms of design and architecture. For pure nostalgia value here are some pics of our old flat.

mid-century modern flat ellasplace.co.uk mid-century modern flat ellasplace.co.uk mid-century modern flat ellasplace.co.uk

There is so much to find in mid-century modern design, which is why it is such a rich source of inspiration.  I mean just look at the examples on the moodboard. It’s not all about Lucienne Day Calyx fabric (although I blatantly love that design and would have it in every room in the house if I was allowed) or Ercol furniture (although again I adore it and have a lovely 1960s original Ercol dining table and chairs in the kitchen). Design from this period can be ornate and playful and also simple, concise and elegant.

Why this week? I’m currently working on a poetry book for Dunlin Press, an indie publishing house run by me and Dr B. I wanted something that keyed into classic book cover design with a bit of an edge so I’ve been trawling the internet and my design books and the mid-century vibe seems to be the route to explore. I’m not saying our book will look anything like the above but whether you are designing a book cover, thinking about a fabric pattern or imagining a room scheme, in fact whatever creative endeavour you’re undertaking it’s good to have a starting point to kick start your work.

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Monday Moodboard: Christmas in July

Christmas in July ellasplace.co.ukNo I haven’t gone mad. July means Christmas in magazine and design circles so this moodboard is dedicated to all things festive.

Both this week and the last have/will be spent trawling the Christmas 2016 press shows spotting trends and looking out for key themes. I’ll let you know what I find with my yuletide round up later on in the year.

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Monday Moodboard: Tiles

Monday Moodboard Tiles First things first, an apology. I completely forgot about my Monday Moodboard last week. That’s because I got completely absorbed in working on creating tile designs for an upcoming Posca pen project for the company’s display stand. So welcome to my world! This was exactly the kind of thing I was looking at last week. Don’t worry I’ll share my take on tiles in the coming weeks.

I’m currently going through lots of trend reports at the mo and patterned tiles are most definitely in. I’ve always fantasised about a bathroom made up of mismatched tile designs, a lovely med-inspired blue and white kitchen with a ornately patterned tiled splash-back and one of those hallways with an intricate luxurious tiled floor. I best get saving.