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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.

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Monday Moodboard: Seed heads

Monday Moodboard Seed headsToday’s Monday Moodboard is a homage to my teenage self. I was obsessed with seed heads when I was doing my A-Levels and after looking at this collection of images I can see why.

In fact I’m tempted to revisit this as a theme for my illustrations. They are structural, almost architectural in their form and the faded colours would look amazing in watercolour. I’ve got loads of dried allium and poppy heads displayed through out my home (see below) so I may have a little bash drawing at some still lives in ink I think the medium would work with its wild, ragged nature – I’ll keep you posted.
Poppy Heads Ella JohnstonDoglamp and seed heads Ella Johnston

Vintage Pottery Vignette ellasplace.co.uk

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Drawing of the week: Watercolour feathers

Feather illustration Ella Johnston

I’m doing a mini exhibition this week and, as always, I try to do something fresh and new for it so I created these watercolour feathers that I’m going to produce prints from.

Made with watercolour and ink these illustrations were inspired by vintage drawings and posters I’ve kept colours very, very simple using, golden tones, navies and purples as well as my trademark black.

Feather illustration Ella Johnston

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Friday fun: Sort of Shelfie!

Ella Johnston Dining RoomOf late there has been a trend for ‘shelfies’; things on people’s shelves that reveal a bit about them.

I’ll try and do a semi regular one for Ella’s Place as they are a bit of Friday fun and it’s always nice to have a bit of a nose.

This time I’m doing a ‘sort of shelfie’ with the items on my mainly blue and white dining room sideboard. Here’s a list of items from left to right.

1: Floor lamp made with Dannells kit and bluebell fabric from Spoonflower.
2: Pierre Luigi, a flamboyant Bitossi Rimini pigeon. You can read his story here.
3: PL is sat on Letters of Note and More Letters of Note, visit the Letters of Note Website for fab correspondence.
4: Books, including The Beechwood Airship Interviews by Dan Richards where you can see some of my sister Lucy Johnston’s photography
5: Vintage Habitat vase.
6: Adorable plain grey vase.
7: Our wedding picture (don’t we look young).
8: Old glass bottle with dried flowers, poppy heads and grasses.
9: Fabric covered tea-light box (you can see how I made it here)
10: Large lamp made with Dannells kit using Spoonflower fabric with base sprayed in matt blue paint.

The large square gorgeous thing on the wall is a beautiful Liberty silk scarf the lovely Dr B gave me on our 12th wedding anniversary that I had framed. I adore it.

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Drawing of the week: Helenium

helenium flower illustration Ella JohnstonInspired by last Friday’s Gardener’s World and indeed my own home-grown efforts this week’s drawing of the week is a helenium.

Heleniums – 7 lovely things for the weekend at https://ellasplace.co.ukThis simple watercolour and ink illustration is taken from some of the few remaining flowers of my garden. Heleniums do really well in our garden and stay so long, so I’m always snipping them and displaying them around the house to make them last longer. I wonder how long they will last. Heleniums from our garden. http://www.ellasplace.me ©Ella Johnston.