Uni-ball ambassador Ella Johnston is an artist and illustrator as well as an art and crafts journalist and stylist.
Ella creates vibrant illustrations with POSCA pens and works primarily with uni-PIN pens and watercolour for her collection of illustrated prints, stationery and fabric designs available to buy on Not On The High Street. Ella also uses both PIN and POSCA to provide illustrations for books, magazines and websites.
Ella’s design philosophy is one of simplicity, harmony and elegance, using clean, uncluttered composition. Her drawings are inspired by ancient and contemporary Japanese ink drawings and print-making, folk art, plus classic botanical and avian illustrative prints of the 19th Century.
An erstwhile crafts magazine editor, Ella has a blog that celebrates all things illustrative () and also runs both craft and illustration workshops across the country to teach others how to get the best out of POSCA and PIN pens.
Here’s what she says about her practice…
“From as soon as I could pick up a pen I have been drawing and creating imagery – it takes me to my happy place. I am passionate about all kinds of art and illustration and exploring every aspect of visual language and culture has become my life’s work.
I launched my art and illustration business in 2012 after much nagging from friends and family and have received amazing feedback from clients and customers ever since. My print and stationery collections have been commissioned by, and showcased in, Guardian Labs for Brittany Ferries, St Martin’s Press, Elle Decoration, Stylist’s Emerald Street and Ideal Home magazine to name a few. I am also creative director and illustrator for the independent publishers Dunlin Press  so I’m pretty busy.
Nature is my main inspiration; botanicals and bird life are subjects to which I return again and again. I’m very proud of my simple floral and plant watercolour and pen studies but I’m delighted with my collection of wading bird artworks. I created these avian illustrations using watercolour and uni-PIN pens. I like the way I can capture both the birds colourful plumage and delicate nature by combining washes of watercolour with the fineliner pens. Many of these artworks have been featured in publications and exhibitions.
I’ve gone deeper still into this plumage theme by producing pieces that focus on individual feather as illustrative motifs. I find the PIN pens really come into their own here with the watercolour as you can get such amazing detail due to the variation in nib sizes. I’m even running workshops on using watercolour and PIN to draw feathers, which is enormous fun.
I’m a sucker for colour so the chance to work with POSCA pens is right up my street. As a stylist and someone who loves adding my artwork to all surfaces, these pens have given me the opportunity to add an individual touch to my photography styling, individualise my home accessories and create special decorative finishes to seasonal celebrations such as Christmas or weddings. They’re great for customising clothes and creating large scale artworks too – I’m currently working on a mural using 18K POSCA pens for my upstairs landing.
Working with people and teaching them drawing and painting techniques gives me enormous pleasure – and is one of my most favourite aspects of what I do. I’ve been all over the country having fun with art enthusiasts and crafters of all abilities playing with the possibilities of POSCA pens. I recently worked with uni-ball on a visit to Great Ormond Street hospital where we got the kids to design T-shirts using POSCA pens – sharing the joy of creativity is a great privilege.”
See Ella’s work on instagram @ellajohnstonart, her blog or visit her shop notonthehighstreet.com/ellajohnstonartandillustration