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Think Pink! Think Flamingo

Flamingo Print by Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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 ellasplace.co.uk

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 ellasplace.co.uk

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

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 ellasplace.co.uk

Flamingo Print Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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Finished Plant of the Fortnight, Watercolour Magnolia

Watercolour and ink magnolia (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Here is my finished magnolia illustration – my plant of the fortnight.

A magnolia tree heralds in warmer, sunnier days. The elegant blooms and glossy, simply shaped leaves are often featured in floral pattern designs.  It’s not difficult to see why, as the above shows.

This watercolour and ink drawing was a pleasure to create, the regular shape and ornate petals are beautifully decorative yet the entire structure of the plant gives every flower balance and harmony.

Look out for my sweetpea sketches in a fortnights’ time.

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Sparrow! Finished Bird of the Fortnight

Watercolour sparrow illustration. Ella Johnston. Bird of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk

When Dr B urged me to draw sparrows for Bird of the Fortnight I did so reluctantly – what a fool I was! Through working up the black and white sketches, then exploring the bird through watercolour and ink, I’ve come to realise how charming these creatures are.

Their mottled black, brown, golden and coffee-coloured plumage is really quite lovely. The bird’s bodies are great for an artist too; depending on the individual creature it can either be cute, full and fat or sleek, slim and almost svelte-like. Now I think I’m going to work on a few more sparrow sketches.

I’m not the only one who loves these birds. In fact as I was working on these drawings I was approached by someone who is opening an antiques shop in the US. She wanted a logo featuring a sparrow wearing a crown. I was only too happy to oblige. Here’s the finished commission.
King Sparrow. Illustration Commission. Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

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Beginner’s Guide to Wading Birds

Waders and Shorebirds Illustrated Guide by Ella Johnston

As you know last week myself and Dr B launched our latest book The Migrant Waders. The publication features 21 illustrations of wading birds by yours truly. To accompany the book I’ve produced an illustrated poster of wading birds inspired by vintage bird guides I’ve come across in various antique shops and thrift stores as well as on pinterest.

Waders poster by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

Waders poster by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk These illustrated bird guides have been enduring classics in terms of design and I must admit I’m very pleased with my own version. It’s great to see the birds all together and I’m tempted to do a guide featuring my garden birds too.

Waders poster by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

As well as the poster I’ve also produced a set of postcards featuring the birds. Waders postcards by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

There are six postcards in the set depicting a redshank, lapwing, curlew, greenshank, avocet and golden plover. Waders postcards by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

Both the postcards and the poster were printed on textured high-quality gesso paper – I love the way it holds colour and it also shows off the fact that these illustrations were originally created on watercolour paper.
Waders postcards by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

The poster and the cards are available at my various online shops on Folksy, Etsy and Not On the High Street. You can also buy them (along with the book) at the Dunlin Press online store.

Greenshank postcard by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

Waders poster by Ella Johnston. ellasplace.co.uk

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Finished Plant of the Fortnight: Iris

Iris, watercolour and ink (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I’m really pleased with my finished plant of the fortnight illustration. I love the way the layers of watercolour have captured the deep blue and purple tones of the iris flower. I’m also happy with how the different nib weights of my felt-tip drawing pens add texture and structure to the petals, stem and leaves.

We’re attempting to grow irises in our garden this year. Regular Ella’s Place readers will know that my garden can be a be of a diva, only growing the things she likes. The garden is lovely as occasionally we agree but I wouldn’t mind her doing me a favour this spring/summer. I’ll let you know if the irises appear and if they look nice I’ll post photos.

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Finished Bird of the Fortnight: Black Headed Gull

Black Headed Gull (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

As I mentioned earlier this week with my black and white drawings, the black headed gull is a constant companion for any Wivenhoe resident.

The gull isn’t a particularly glamorous bird I suppose, however it is quite a handsome creature in my opinion. It has a gorgeous sleek head (this dark colour comes along in the spring and summer for sexy mating times) and rather lovely white and silver feathers. I love these guys and I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to see them everyday!

I didn’t have to overwork this piece for the final illustration. Although the colour looks light, there are actually several layers of  washes in a range of silvery, blue, purple, pink and grey watercolours. Because this bird is quite sleek I don’t want to go to town on fine detail on this drawing, so I kept my ink lines gestural and fluid, maybe a little rough and ready like the birds themselves.

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Bird of the Fortnight: Black Headed Gull

Blackheaded Gull Sketch Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

This fortnight’s bird may be rather mundane to some but to me it’s rather special.

Essentially we share our home town with the black headed gull, you only have to walk around the corner from our house and you’ll see these critters flying about or picking at the Wivenhoe mud. They make a great racket too, especially if you’re having chips on the quay!

So if you haven’t seen my bird of the fortnight posts before then what I do is start the week with three black and white pen sketches. I then finish the week with a worked up colour watercolour and ink drawing. Join me on Friday to see the final illustration.

Blackheaded Gull Sketch Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Blackheaded Gull Sketch Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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Plant of the Fortnight: Wood Anemone

Flower of the fortnight. Quick sketch Anemone. (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

You may have noticed by now that I love drawing birds and flowers, so to accompany my bird of the fortnight posts, I’m also doing a plant of the fortnight series. Just like its avian sister it will feature three very quick black and white felt-tip sketches of various favourite flora and fauna, then a final watercolour and ink illustration.

I’m kicking off with wood anemone. These are a most welcome sight when I go walking in Wivenhoe wood, so much so we tried to grow them in our garden (they didn’t like our clay soil). Watch out on Friday for my worked-up version.

Flower of the fortnight. Quick sketch Anemone. (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
Flower of the fortnight. Quick sketch Anemone. (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk