Ellie Vandoorne is an incredibly talented artist who combines hand-drawn illustrations with digital graphic design elements, for a clever, contemporary take on collage. She creates enchanting works inspired by vintage styles and classical characters, and previously collaborated with designer Matthew Williamson, bringing together both their signature uses of colour to create stunning artwork for his print publications. She is one of our Head Curator Rebecca Gordon’s firm favourites, and she has several works by Ellie as part of her own collection. We sat down with the London-based illustrator to discover more about her work, techniques and greatest influences.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I can barely remember a time when I didn’t want to be an artist. I think I wanted to be an artist as soon as I could hold a pencil!
What was the first artwork you ever made? Can you remember?
I can’t remember the first one I made but I certainly remember the first one I was proud of. I was about 14 years old and it was a drawing of Van Dyck’s The Five Eldest Children of Charles I. My art teacher and fellow students were impressed, and it was then that I realised that I didn’t just enjoy art but was actually quite good at it.
Do you have a favourite or most meaningful piece?
I will always have a soft spot for Flower Girl. She was the first of my ‘girls’ and I always refer back to her when creating new ones. That said, I have always had an obsession with Ophelia, and I could spend hours looking at Ophelia ‘Crownet Weeds’. The background of this piece was created using layer upon layer of trees, riverbanks and flowers. Ophelia is overwhelmingly haunting in this picture which is very much a step away from my usual pieces.
Tell me a bit about the process you use to create your works, and the concept behind them.
My work is quite varied. I draw a lot of inspiration from literature and nature. Many of my pieces are mixed media, where I begin by drawing figures in pencil and charcoal. I then scan them into photoshop to add colour, texture and collaged photography.
What do you love most about art & making art? What do you hate most about it?
I love that it is mine. My art is so personal to me and represents me. I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to express myself on a daily basis by putting my ideas onto paper and experimenting with them. What becomes frustrating is when those ideas don’t seem to be working, you start doubting yourself and wonder whether you should just let go and move onto the next piece - I find this the most challenging.
What has been the greatest impact on you as an artist to date?
Matthew Williamson, the fashion designer, came to my first solo show in October of 2015. He bought a Flower Girl which later led to us collaborating on the cover of his book. This was a big moment for me as an artist, not just from a recognition point of view but from a collaborative point too. Working with Matthew very much felt like a meeting of minds. Our shared love of colour, print and nature made it incredibly easy to work together.
Give us a quick one or line about your studio space - what do you love about it?
My studio backs out onto my garden making it a constant source of inspiration as well as an incredibly peaceful place to work.
What’s playing in your studio right now?
Music, I like to run radios off spotify, that way you’re never quite sure what’s coming next. Right this minute I’m listening to Blood Orange - Sutphin Boulevard.
The Illustrative Collection | Browse the Edit
Our curator's are celebrating the wonderfully creative and free medium of illustration, with a collection of contemporary works combining hand drawings, graphic design, collage and more. Discover the edit and fall in love with these colourful, enchanting pieces.