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Monday Moodboard: Feathers

Monday moodboard feathers

Here’s my feather themed Monday Moodboard.

Happy New Year! Yes I know I’m a bit late, I started 2017 with a ton of commissions so I’ve been rather busy this past three weeks.

So 2017 has started really well for me – I hope it’s the same for you.

After a nice bit of satisfyingly new work to get to grips with I can now settle into working on drawings for new prints, gifts and stationery.

I’ve read a lot of trend reports saying feathers are going to be big motifs over the next couple of years. Which is very handy for me as I’ve been working on feather illustrations on prints for some time now one of which you can see in the bottom right hand corner of this board.

Here are some more feather daubings in close up…

Feather illustration Ella Johnston Feather illustration Ella Johnston



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Easy craft: wipe-clean nesting trays

These wipe-clean nesting trays are just the thing for carrying little treats and drinks and they are easy to make too.

All I did was get a plain set of wooden nesting trays and gave them a lick of chalk paint (Deco Art Americana Decor Chalky finish paint to be exact) in two shades of grey.

I then measured the inside of the trays and cut my laurel leaf and autumn leaves design paper to size. I covered the paper with sticky-back plastic to make it wipe-clean.

I brushed PVA glue on the inside and placed the shiny patterned paper in it to adhere to the bottom of the tray. See, an easy paper make.
I’ve been using these trays for all sorts of things and they haven’t been damaged by ring marks and spillages. They’re so handy I may make a whole load of them as gifts.

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Christmas wrap ideas part 3: Super simple black and white

bw_wrapping_3 I’ve deliberately kept it simple for part three of my Christmas wrap ideas with these easy black and white designs.
bw_wrapping_2I’ve opted for a lovely iridescent white paper and teamed it with simple black tags and co-ordinating ribbon. The gestural stem designs are based on my laurel stem illustration, see the step by step here. The Christmas tree and garland are really simple; I used a white Posca pen to create tiered jagged shapes for the tree, waited for the paint to dry and overlaid it with gold dots. For the garland I drew some simple thin lines with a silver Posca pen then added white and gold dots.

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Think Pink! Think Flamingo

Flamingo Print by Ella Johnston

I have a couple of friends who are obsessed with flamingos, so I’m a little surprised myself that I’ve only just started to produce a flamingo print and stationery collection.

Flamingo Print by Ella Johnston

Here are some of the prints already available on my online shops on Folksy, Etsy and Not On the High Street. There will also be a writing set with cards coming along later in the year.

Flamingo Pair Print. Ella Johnston

You can order personalised versions of the flamingo pair at my Not On the High Street shop.
Flamingo Love Print Ella Johnston

The drawings themselves were created by layering lots of shades of pink, peach and orange watercolour and then working the detail with my ink felt-tip pens.

Flamingo Print by Ella Johnston

Flamingo Print Ella Johnston

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DIY: Scandi folk pattern boxes

Scandinavian folky patterned boxes (c)

I don’t know about you but I have been addicted to BBC Two’s Great Interior Design Challenge, I love the whole thing; the architectural history, updating spaces, adding special touches and answering client briefs, the reveal, everything. I’ve watched the show since it started and am always inspired by the ideas that the amateur designers come up with and the advice and insights the experts outline.

This series has seen loads of creative ideas and I was particularly struck by Lucy Tiffney’s Scandinavian Folk bedroom. I love the way that illustration, painting, craft and interior design have crossed over in this project and the sweet, rustic lines and simple motifs, executed in a muted colourway. I couldn’t wait to reconnect with some folky drawing myself.

Scandinavian folky patterned boxes (c)

Freshly inspired, I set about studying Scandinavian patterns. Some of my favourites are pinned on my Pinterest board. What’s lovely about these designs is they are so easy to recreate and then add your own twist to. From simple stem and leaf motifs, lovely lace edges and symmetrical composition, this folky style is great for when you want to achieve an effective looking, intricate decoration without feeling you have to be hugely technical or an amazing drawer.

I had some plain cardboard heart-shaped boxes that were in need of updating. I gave them a lick of light blue paint that really suited traditional Scandinavian design. I then set about drawing my design onto tracing paper. I drew half the design then folded the paper to create a mirror image. Then I simply transferred the designs onto the painted boxes.

Scandinavian folky patterned boxes (c)

I finished the traced design with felt-tip pen. I chose to use black and blue pen for a strong contrasting look with the light blue but I reckon this would also look lovely in traditional red and cream.

Scandinavian folky patterned boxes (c)

Had my motifs been larger I would have painted them on – and I am considering doing something with a piece of furniture for a funky little upcycling project. This kind of thing would look really effective on a bedside cabinet or storage box.

Scandinavian folky patterned boxes (c)

I’m storing ribbons and buttons in these boxes (I have so many of both) but I’m sure you could fill these with pretty tissue paper and treats (chocolates or toiletries) for a thoughtful gift. Scandinavian folky patterned boxes (c) folky patterned boxes (c) folky patterned boxes (c) folky patterned boxes (c)

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How to show you care… write a letter, send a card

Ella Johnston Stationery collection (c) Ella Johnston

I love letter writing and I like sending friends and colleagues little notes and cards.

Handwritten messages are a wonderful thing. It’s a real delight to receive a handwritten letter or card, so much better than a text or an email. Plus you can keep a handwritten piece – I store my favourites in a little box and if they’re particularly lovely, I display them on my kitchen pin-board.

That’s why I like to make stationery that is really special – one you can send yourself or give as gifts to others. For this handprinted collection, I’ve drawn and carved out a leaf design on a rubber block then used rich pigment ink to colour it. I’ve then stamped the motifs over quality card and paper to create a stationery set that is unique every time. Just like a piece of handwriting.

Handprinted stationery (c) Ella Johnston

I currently have two products using this technique – a stationery box set and a notecard box set.

The stationery set has ten leaves of A5 size handprinted writing paper, five A6 handprinted postcards, 15 handprinted envelopes and ten recycled handprinted paper gift tags.

Handprinted Stationery (c) Ella Johnston

The notecard box contains ten leaf postcards, five in orange, five in blue.

My leaf stationery sets are available to buy on Not On The High Street.

Handprinted stationery (c) Ella Johnston