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Drawing of the week: American Cocker Spaniel

American Cocker Spaniel Illustration (c) Ella Johnston

In honour of this week’s Crufts 2017, my drawing of the week is of an American Cocker Spaniel.

This quick little doggie sketch was created in watercolour and brown ink. It didn’t take very long to do but I am quite pleased with the illustration. I think this animal has a certain stoic, noble quality.

I will not lie to you, I love a Cocker Spaniel – they could be my favourite breed. I love the character of a spaniel – so friendly, energetic and full of life.

I am a massive fan of all shaggy haired dogs generally. This my friends is because I was/am an indie kid of the early nineties variety and have a great affection for long-haired, scruffy herberts.

Just look my dog’s refined face. It takes me back to 1993 when Richard Ashcroft was not Richard Ashcroft as he is now but was instead known as “Mad Richard” and The Verve was known as just Verve. Ah those heady days of youth… long haired boys in terrible jeans – it was a tremendous amount of fun.

Verve 1993

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New Products!

Unicorn Card (c) Ella JohnstonI have new products on my Not On The High Street shop; a unicorn card, a hare greeting and a beautiful eucalyptus art print. All are taken from my original watercolour and ink drawings.
Hare Card (c) Ella JohnstonMy hare and unicorn prints have been incredibly popular at various art fairs with many people asking if I was going to produce co-ordinated greetings – well nobody can say I don’t listen! The new Eucalyptus botanical print is a bit of an indulgence to be honest – I simply wanted one for myself. Botanical print (c) Ella Johnston

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Drawing of the week: Cormorant bird

Cormorant Bird illustration (c) Ella Johnston

My drawing this week is that of a cormorant. When I do my little morning walk along the Wivenhoe quayside I often see these pre-historic looking birds with their wings out stretched soaking up the sun or in a little group looking like they are waiting for a bus. When the tide is up they often bob about in the water on the hunt for fish.  I love them so I wanted to capture these creatures in watercolour and ink.

If you want to catch a glimpse of these sleek guys, you can find them around the UK coastline on rocky shores, coastal lagoons and estuaries. You may also catch them at reservoirs, lakes and gravel pits.

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Monday Moodboard: Dots and splodges

Monday Moodboard Dots and SplodgesAh dots and splodges, my old friends. It’s only right I dedicate a Monday Moodboard to these guys as they are really essential to my creative process.

Whenever I’m in a bit of a rut illustration wise but need to get my drawing head on I make marks with dots and splodges. It helps me explore what patterns to create and allows me to enjoy the medium of whatever I’m working in, be it watercolour, ink or felt pen.

But they’re not just a cool way to play with mark-making; as you can see by the above they are incredibly effective in creating patterns and compositions. I personally can’t resist the combination of black with white, pink and apricot shades.

By the way I need to do a big shout out to Ashley Goldberg as two of her designs are featured here. I LOVE her work to pieces. Check it out here.

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Drawing of the week: Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus illustration (c) Ella Johnston

My drawing of the week is a young eucalyptus plant.

I was at a friend’s house last weekend and she had gorgeous bunch of eucalyptus in her lounge. They also looked so elegant placed on their own in the vase, unadorned, unfettered by other blooms. Inspired by these I had to source some of my own sprigs to draw.

It has kick-started me trying out some more botanical illustrations. I’ve already done some further eucalyptus sketches and some more watercolour and ink drawings of ferns.

 

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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: Peacock butterfly

Peacock Butterfly (c) Ella Johnston

My drawing for this week is a Peacock butterfly.

Created with watercolour and ink, this colourful illustration was made for my illustrated butterfly guide print that will be coming soon.

The Peacock butterfly is one of the most easily identifiable butterflies in the UK. The eyespot markings act as a deterrent to potential predators. The underside of the wings are almost black which gives it wonderful camouflage when its wings are folded upright. They also have a loud grating noise produced by the rasping of their forewings, which acts as a secondary deterrent for creatures that want to eat them.

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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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Monday Moodboard: Zoo Animals

Monday Moodboard Zoo Animals

Not sure how I feel about zoos but I certainly like the animals inside them. So my Monday moodboard is dedicated to them this week.

I’m broadening my drawing repetoire and have started drawing a range of creatures one would find in a British zoo. I’ve already created lots of flamingo illustrations and have just finished a zebra watercolour and ink piece. I’ll showcase more of these zoo-themed drawings in the near future (I’m exploring elephants and giraffes this week).  Watch this space.

 

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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.