Ellie Marks

Introducing Ellie Marks, featured artist from Collection Australia (14) and Collection Seasons (55).

Ellie Marks is a colouring artist who has published several books and colouring pages.

How long have you been illustrating and what made you start?
I’ve been drawing since I can remember myself, but the grown-up life took me in a different direction for a while. I got back to drawing when my kids were born, first as a little creative activity with preschoolers, but then more and more seriously. I love the simplicity of just pen and paper, so I naturally gravitated to drawing colouring pages and books. I also very much enjoy the collaborative nature of drawing colouring books. It’s amazing how people can bring the black and white drawing to life by adding brilliant colours - and that all colouring artworks are unique!

Where do you get your inspiration?
Everywhere! But since I especially enjoy drawing nature-inspired colouring designs, I turn to plants and animals for inspiration. I am one of those strange people that pause in front of wildflowers and leaves on a hike trying to remember their outlines. In the last 2 years, I have been living and travelling on a sailboat, so at the moment I am drawing colouring pages inspired by the colourful coral reefs and tropical plants.

Where is your favourite place to illustrate?
Anywhere, really… As I mentioned before, my home right now is a sailboat. I like sitting outside in the cockpit and feeling the light breeze while drawing. I am homeschooling my kids while we take these few years to travel on a boat, so often I draw while teaching. I actually enjoy frequent interruptions, it works well with my short attention span.

What are your illustrating/colouring material essentials?
For drawing, I use Pentel’s Twist-Erase 0.5 mechanical pencil. I like that it’s slightly thicker than most pencils and has a rubber grip. I use a soft kneaded eraser. I enjoy its versatility and that it can double as a fidget toy when I am thinking. I use Strathmore drawing paper of different sizes. I trace my drawings with Micron pens, usually a 01 or a 005. For colouring, which I don’t do very much since my world is pretty much pen-and-paper, I use my old set of Prismacolor Premier pencils. All my greens are now less than an inch tall… I guess I enjoy colouring foliage!

What’s the piece of work that you’re most proud of or enjoyed doing the most?
I can’t say I enjoyed any one more than the other… My favourite one is always the one I am working on now. I enjoyed drawing flowers and writing haikus for “Flower Haiku”, I had a great time researching Victorian fashion and habits for “Victoriana”, I felt holiday cheer when drawing “Winter Song”, and I loved dabbing into portraiture in “Foresta”. So… I really can’t say.

Artist's tip

To be honest, most of the people that colour my illustrations are way better at colouring than me! But if I had to share a few tricks that I’ve learned, I would say - go light to dark on backgrounds. Backgrounds are the hardest for me, and always take the longest. Here is another tip for background-avoiding colorists like myself: Don’t fill up the entire page with a background. Just add some colour to the outlines of the illustration to make it pop.

See more from Ellie Marks

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