Together with Ellie Curtis
Ellie Curtis is an artist working with different forms of printmaking and illustration. We had the privilege to work with her on a collaboration for Austrian Lebkuchen brand Metzger & Söhne. Here she tells us a little more about what makes her tick...
1. What were your first creative experiences, and what made you want to explore it as a career?
My grandmother was an Artist, and we had a lot of her work around us. My mum was very enthusiastic about the arts, and encouraged us to look at artists for inspiration.
And I always loved drawing. I think growing up in that environment helped me see the possibilities.
2. What inspires your work as an illustrator?
I love looking at all art forms, but I’m especially inspired by ancient artefacts and their representations of animals, people and their narratives. There’s often something immediate and bold about them that’s fun and surprising. I also love printed textiles and pattern, the freedom of some Folk Art. And sometimes the unusual tone of a song.
3. We notice a lot of birds in your work. Are there themes that you would say frequently come through your work? If so, what are they, and why?
Haha yes. Some friends say I’m quite bird like in character so maybe that’s the bird link.
I’m also drawn to mythological imagery. I sometimes like referencing classical stances and symbols and making images that are open to interpretation, or a bit baffling, or just make me laugh a bit. I like adding human characteristics to animals, only for fun.
4. Where is your happy place?
Walking along the north coast of Cornwall with a packet of hula hoops.
5. Nature or nurture?
6. Where do you work and what is your set up like?
I currently work from home in the spare room overlooking the garden. I have a big white table to work on with lots of materials, and my plan chest behind me.
7. What is your creative process and what mediums do you use?
I sketch ideas in notebooks, and I sometimes look through old postcards, art books, or old magazines to inspire me. Occasionally I’ll go to a museum and sketch. Materials wise, it used to be primarily printmaking, but at the moment I mainly use watercolour and gouache. I also embroider pictures with felt.
8. What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators?
I’d say don’t worry if what you’re doing is fashionable, as that can spoil the fun of how it feels to make the artwork and the result. But because you’re always processing what’s happening around you, you will be producing something relevant to now anyway.
9. Who is your dream client?
Hmm! I’d love to make a repeat design for a very little part of the outside of a building. Maybe a Frank Lloyd Wright? Go on Frank!
10. Where can we see more of your work?
I have a fabric design in St Jude’s Fabric’s shop, online. I also have a 3D piece in the Pollocks Toy Museum, which is still there after I took part in a group show there in 2019. I illustrated the jackets for a group of Penguin Dickens classics.