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New work: new ink prints

Ella Johnston Ink Equipment I’m very excited to share some new work with you. My new ink prints point to an interesting new direction for my art practice and business.

Flowing grass fine art print, Ella Johnston

I have recently rediscovered my love for working with ink. In the past I’ve achieved brilliant results drawing with ink pens and Japanese calligraphy brushes, I wanted to see if I could do it again. Flowing grass original pen and ink, Ella Johnston My last post talked about my first forays into reconnecting with pen, ink and brush work. It explored my need for finding my style within such an expressive and beautiful way of mark-making.
Flowing grass fine art print, Ella Johnston As always when looking for inspiration with my practice I meditated on my own passions and interests. It was my walks by the Colne Estuary in Wivenhoe that sparked off these series of prints. Eucalyptus sprig fine art print, Ella Johnston Naturally, I made bird sketches but it was the salt marsh and reeds that attracted me. After going home and doing lots and lots of reed drawings I decided to make simple, botanical sprigs as my subjects.
Eucalyptus sprig original pen and ink, Ella Johnston I then set about gathering all kinds of wild grasses, palms and plants. I made lots of botanical ink studies and selected my favourite ones for print. I’ve made three very simple fine art prints which are now available on Folksy.

Floating leaves fine art print, Ella Johnston

I work on hot pressed fine quality watercolour paper. As well as using inks I also work with washes of water too to create depth and variation of tone.

I intend to continue to explore drawing with pen, ink and brushes throughout the year. Again, if I’m pleased with the results you’ll see more prints and fabric designs coming soon.

Floating leaves original pen and ink, Ella Johnston

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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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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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Monday Moodboard: Black and white

Black and white moodboard, 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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Inspiration: Beth Chatto Garden Succulents

Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's Place

One of the best places to go for visual inspiration is the near-by Beth Chatto gardens. The succulent collection is a particular pull for me, especially as I go about my artistic work. Research is essential to my work and you’ll often find me with my phone or camera in hand, capturing images that interest and inspire me.

Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's PlaceThe gardens have is a wide variety of succulents.  The way the gardeners display the plants all together is really impressive. The visual impact of these packed-in plants in such a range of naturally attractive colours look like a patten design in themselves.

Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's Place Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's Place Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's Place Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's Place Beth Chatto Succulents Ella's Place

Check out my succulent print at > my Folksy shop
Find out more about Beth Chatto Gardens > here

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Cheap and Easy Decoration Tips: Colourful Amy Butler display

Neon frames: Ami Butler display

One of my favourite cheap and easy decoration tips is to create a colourful wall display. Here I’ve hung some Amy Butler prints in neon frames.

Bright and eclectic, Amy Butler’s designs are so joyous. Butler gets inspiration from a range of sources, using patterns and colour combinations inspired by her travels around the world.

Amy Butler decoupage
Image: Cliqq Photography

I’ve got loads of her fabrics and I was very excited when she released a book of her designs on paper, Amy Butler Decoupage. I’ve used the papers on many of my projects (including this one above for Homemaker Magazine). The book only costs around £11 and you get 80 colourful sheets making it fantastic value. I had a few sheets left and I’ve always felt a bit guilty about ripping them up for decoupage and wanted to show them off properly as a wall display.

Neon frames: Ami Butler display Luckily I have a collection of old frames gathered over the years and picked up at car boots (I think it’s another obsession of mine) and luckier still I’ve got a whole box full of spray paint in various colours (including some fab neons) to co-ordinate with the prints.  They really brighten up a dark corner and would look really fun as a grid with matching frames to fill a wall.


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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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10 Texty Buys

10 texty buys

Years and years and years ago I had an Anthony Burrill ‘Work Hard and Be Nice to People’ print in our London flat. I can’t flipping find the print now – it’s been missing since the move. Anyway, at the time the whole slogan print thing wasn’t particularly fashionable and every time we had visitors round we’d spend a good part of the time discussing the words, the print, the notion of having a ‘statement’ on your wall.

Those days are long gone. It seems to me that words and phrases are now an everyday feature of a modern home, so to keep things stylish I think the key is to not go mad on it, the trick is less is more here I reckon, sometimes like words themselves (although no-one would ever accuse me of that). I keep my slogans fairly low-key with little postcards and on my notebooks (see how you can do it by clicking this link).

Anyway here’s my pick of 10 texty buys available right now…

10 texty buys
Be Brave Banner Secret Holiday & Co from The Calm Gallery
10 texty buys
Alphabet Pillows from Nubie
10 Texty Buys
She Believed She Could Print from Not On the High Street
10 texty buys
Ben De Lisi My Side/Your Side Cushion from Debenhams
10 texty buys
Gin Notepad from Of Life and Lemons
10 Texty buys
Liberty And Wire Name Sign from Not On The High Street
10 texty buys
Slogan Votive Candle from Primark
10 texty buys
Love Art Print from Etsy
10 texty buys
Love Mugs Set from Oak Room Shop
10 texty buys
Slogan Hi-ball (set of four) from George at ASDA

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10 Pineapple Picks!

10 Pineapple picks

At the end of last year I went to lots of Spring/Summer 2016 press shows. From high-end interior brands to high street favourites, all the retailers featured one key motif – the pineapple.

Inspired by this, I did a drawing/illustration of one of my own little fruit, which is now available as a print from my Etsy store .

Ella Johnston Pineapple print, £12. Etsy.
Ella Johnston Pineapple print, £12. Etsy.

Ella Johnston Pineapple print, £12. Etsy.
Ella Johnston Pineapple print, £12. Etsy.

I’ve also rounded up 10 of my favourite pineapple products in the shops right now. It’s amazing how one motif can be adapted to suit such an eclectic range of styles… As a little postscript, this is as near as a pineapple as I can get to as I’m allergic to them; one bite and I swell up like a sea sponge!

Glass vase, £20 BHS, Pineapple Trend
Glass vase, £20 BHS
Pineapple apron, £24.95. Thornback and Peel. Pineapple trend
Pineapple apron, £24.95. Thornback and Peel
Prints Eisenherz Pineapple print, £7. DaWanda. Pineapple trend
Prints Eisenherz Pineapple print, £7. DaWanda
Pols Potten Pineapple Jar, £45 Amara, Pineapple Trend
Pols Potten Pineapple Jar, £45 Amara
Decorative Pineapple, £89.95, Mia Fleur. Pineapple trend
Decorative Pineapple, £89.95, Mia Fleur
Steel Grey Pineapple Bedlinen, £50, Secret Linen Store, Pineapple Trend
Steel Grey Pineapple Bedlinen, £50, Secret Linen Store
Zeus Lamp £80 House of Fraser Pineapple Trend
Zeus Lamp £80 House of Fraser
Temerity Jones Pineapple trinket dish SS15, £5, Lisa Angel. Pineapple trend
Temerity Jones Pineapple trinket dish SS15, £5, Lisa Angel.
Copper Pineapple Ice Bucket, £40 Oliver Bonas. Pineapple Trend
Copper Pineapple Ice Bucket, £40 Oliver Bonas
Pineapple Fruit Platter, £12.75. The Contemporary Home. Pineapple Trend
Pineapple Fruit Platter, £12.75. The Contemporary Home