For the next instalment of our When I Grow Up series, we caught up with one of new favourite illustrators, Ella Masters to find out a little more about her and those amazing bearded tattooed men!
What made you first want to become an illustrator?
I always wanted to be cartoonist growing up but I wasn’t always confident with my reading or writing due to my severe dyslexia, so when growing up I focused a lot more on just painting without a narrative. It really was the spark at university that pushed me to want to pursue a career in commercial illustration, but I still don’t really see myself though as solely an illustrator. I often call myself an artist because it incorporates most of the things I do.
How would you describe your work?
Thats a rather hard to answer because my work is a mish mash of different styles. My work is normally based around detail, I love detail and humour in illustrations … cue my bearded tattoo men! I am starting to work more in colour and I’m inspired by the people I meet, patterns and places I visit like my Paris and London illustrations. I work in a mixture of different mediums which in themselves bring different styles out in me.
Describe your average day?
At the moment I’m still working part time so my days vary a lot. I normally wake up around 7am, have a good cup of tea then get started with my to-do list – I live my life via to-do lists! I will check my emails and then get started with orders about 9am, printing and packaging up all items. These will often take me up to 12 and then I’ll have lunch whilst working on paintings and illustrations. I’m currently working on a new clothing line, so at the moment I am working on patterns that will be printed onto the fabric. I normally have dinner with my family, then work late into the evening either on new illustrations, scheduling blog posts or updating my Etsy shop. I often don’t finish working until about 10pm it can be a long day but I really do love it.
We’re huge fans of your bearded and tattooed men pieces – how did this come about?
Thank you – I’m always so flattered when someone does! In my final year at Uni 3rd year, I doodled some watercolour illustrations for an exhibition and then sort of forgot about them hidden in my sketchbook. It wasn’t till last year whilst sorting sketchbooks, I found them and started drawing them again. They became a big hit online with people, which was a massive shock as to me they were just a little project I was focusing on to cheer me up. I’ve always drawn tattoos, since I was about 13 and it wasn’t until I actually put them onto topless bearded men that it actually worked. The originals were inspired by vintage tattoo images I found in old books and the beard was mainly inspired by my dad who has a magnificent one! I have now been dubbed “Queen of beards”… I promise that doesn’t mean I actually have one!
Any Advice on aspiring Illustrators?
I still feel like an aspiring Illustrator myself if I am honest, but I think the best way to become a good illustrator is to have a consistent style, push yourself, use a sketchbook always and go out and get what you want. If you want to be featured in a magazine contact them, want an internship… apply! I once emailed Mandy Sutcliffe from Belle and Boo for experience running an illustration shop, she then emailed back and we ended up worked together. Social media is also great for spreading your work on twitter, facebook, pinterest and remember always act professional, you never know who will be a future client.
Do you have a favourite piece?
I do love my big pop illustrations, but my favourites would have to be my tea cup illustrations that were inspired by my recent trip to cornwall, they make me rather happy when I look at them.
Any future plans you can tell us about?
I’m currently looking to move back to cornwall and set up a new illustration studio, going full time with my small Etsy shop and being full self employed which is just terrifying. As I mentioned before, I’m currently working on a new illustrated clothing line and am in talks with a few companies about collaborating on exciting illustrated pieces.
Tell us something no one else knows about you…
I struggle to correctly write my middle name, Georgia….
Oh and as we’ve just released our music issue… what’s on your ipod at the moment?
I have a bit of an obsession with bastille particularly Pompeii.