Illustration

I’m this week’s guest designer on Tombow USA’s blog

I’m also their first ever weeklong guest designer. I’m not sure how I pulled that off, but I’m thrilled nonetheless. I’ll be drawing a different illustration everyday this week using their dual brush pens. Below is the first illustration I completed for the blog. Go to the original posting to see the progress photos!

"Domestic and Global Restlessness" (Arlene Ellis, 2014

“Domestic and Global Restlessness” (Arlene Ellis, 2014

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Illustration, Science, Textile Design

Love Art and Science? Then please help me win this art competition!

You can win a FREE poster! Click on the link and please “LIKE” my illustration.

I drew moon jellyfish infused with dandelions and lime swallowtail moths. These are organisms many people perceive as pests, but they are still fascinating and beautiful in their own right.

I entered this illustration into the Tombow USA Dual Brush Challenge. If my illustration gets the most “likes,” I will win 50 poster prints of my work and a Tombow storage bag! I will give free posters to 10 random people who have liked my illustration on Tombow’s page. Please take a screenshot of your “like” and message me. Thank you. I would really appreciate your support. Thank you!

"Invasive and Pesky Neurotic Projections." (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

“Invasive and Pesky Neurotic Projections.” (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

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Illustration, Science

Lastest Illustration: Botanical Infused Pyrrhuloxia

Sorry I haven’t shown any new art recently. It’s difficult to be the artist, designer, marketer, copywriter, salesperson, finance person, public relations person, brand strategist, web designer and social media person all at once. In fact it can be overwhelming and leaves little time to create art! Over the last couple of weeks I have been focusing on a business plan for Organic Lyricism. I will be launching an exciting crowd funding campaign next month. Hopefully it will help me achieve the goal of this brand, which is to fund conservation efforts. In the meanwhile, check out this illustration I created for a friend today. It was inspired by the Pyrrhuloxia songbird.

Songbird Muse: Pyrrhuloxia (Cardinalis sinuatus)
Relation: Northern Cardinal
Habitat: American Southwest and Northern Mexico

Learn more about this beautiful songbird here: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/pyrrhuloxia/id

“Botanical Infused Pyrrhuloxia” (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

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Visit www.ArleneEllis.com to see more of my illustrations!

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Life Lessons, Quotes, Uncategorized

How deep is your well of moments?

Paul Bowles Quote

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless.”
― Paul Bowles

My heart is in the right place, but sometimes I should just keep my mouth shut. Over the past few years, I’ve offered to draw something for three different people who experienced tragedies. I’m not the best at articulating my love, but I know how to draw it—that is until my ego gets in the way. Within hours of offering the gifts, I began to panic, “What am I supposed to draw? It must be really memorable and fit the occasion. It should inspire them every time they look at it. I can’t just draw anything?!” This is when the chronic guilt begins. “Why did I offer? What’s wrong with me? I’m going to disappoint this person.” The guilt stalks me for days, which turn into weeks, then into months and sadly enough, the months turn into years.

"Homecoming" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

“Homecoming” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013). Inspired by the Wine-throated hummingbird.

I promised the above illustration to a bereaved friend two years ago. Actually, she requested that I draw something different , which was perfectly reasonable considering I asked her what she wanted illustrated. This friend had helped me cope through a tragedy and I wanted to repay her. The trouble was that what she wanted drawn didn’t resonate with me. Should that have mattered? I don’t think it should have and yet it did. Drawing to help someone cope with a tragedy can be emotionally tolling. It’s not a commission, since I’m usually offering, and it doesn’t feel like a physical offering; it’s me expressing  a love too deep to explain in words. It was’t her fault and I should have clarified things, but I didn’t. Instead I drew nothing and thought about her illustration almost every day throughout those two years.

"WIP 1 Homecoming" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013).

“WIP 1 Homecoming” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013). Inspired by the Wine-throated hummingbird.

If the offering stemmed from love, then why did my ego come into play? My ego was really my fear. I was afraid that she would underestimate the degree with which I cared. Of course this was irrational because the mere gesture indicated that I cared.  But unfortunately I’ve spent so many years building up walls that I have often misunderstood my own capacity for love. I’ve spent just as many years trying to deconstruct these walls using logical reasoning. This didn’t get me very far. Objectively, I understood why I had erected the walls, but this didn’t give me enough strength to remove them. Then I began drawing again and brick by brick the walls have begun to come down.  I haven’t given up on logical reasoning because it grounds me. I’ve just decided to complement it with my emotional intelligence.

"WIP 2 Homecoming" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013).

“WIP2 Homecoming” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013). Inspired by the Wine-throated hummingbird.

Why did I decide to finally draw this illustration for my bereaved friend? On Sunday night, I had a deep conversation with another friend about overcoming fears and the illusion of plentiful moments. He said that we behave as if we have an unlimited well of moments from which to drink, so we rarely take the time to savor each one. This made me think of my bereaved friend. What if I never have the moment to give her the illustration? I instantly knew that I needed to start drawing.

“Whatever you do, you need courage. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising that tempt you to believe your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires some of the same courage that a soldier needs. Peace has its victories, but it takes brave men and women to win them.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

What moments are you waiting to happen to you?

"Homecoming" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

“Homecoming” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013). Inspired by the Wine-throated hummingbird. (Detailed features)

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Life Lessons, Quotes

Friend-ship. A friend is someone who helps you on your journey.

"Seedy-self-portrait V3" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

“Seedy-self-portrait V3” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

Last night I remembered why it’s so vital to have supportive friends.  My friend Bob (name changed for privacy reasons) has a knack for helping me  pinpoint my irrational fears. Last night while we spoke on the phone, I told him that recently I created a project timeline for someone. I couldn’t believe how easy it was for me to think strategically about helping this person overcome her obstacles, yet I had such a difficult time doing that for myself. “Why?!” I shouted, “I mean I have project management experience for goodness sakes!

Chess Player Syndrome

Bob said that I suffered from “chess player syndrome.” FYI I’m not sure if this phrase exists outside of our conversation. “What’s chess player syndrome?” I asked. He explained that it’s when you’re able to look over a chess player’s shoulder and visualize the moves he needs to make to win the game; you can see things objectively. But when you’re playing the game, you become so mired in your anxiety that you’re unable to see the big picture. Boom! Diagnoses. Bob recommended that I create a similar timeline for myself.

"Seedy-self-portrait Vs" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013; Original photo by Boris Poletaev )

“Seedy-self-portrait Vs” (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013; Original photo by Boris Poletaev)

Wearing a Coat of Fear

Bob then began questioning me about the specific thoughts that mired by objective lens. I explained it was the usual, a fear of failure. Then he asked me to visualize myself without this fear. I couldn’t.  So he said, “Imagine your fear is like a snug coat. You’re comforted feeling its texture press up against your skin. It’s so close to your body that it silences the sound of your heart beating and the murmuring in your guts. Now imagine yourself taking that coat off tomorrow. What would you do differently?” My stomach immediately knotted up. (In fact my stomach is knotting up right now while writing about this.) I knew he was right and the simplicity of it all made me sick.

Friend-Ship

As my conversation with Bob winded down, he suddenly had an epiphany,”I finally get it!”

“Get what?”

“Friend-ship. A friend is someone who helps you on your journey.”

Yes and I’m grateful for the company 🙂

Old Greenwich Beach (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

Old Greenwich Beach (Arlene Ellis, 2013)

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Textile Design, Uncategorized

Fashion Illustration Diary, “Waiting for the right occasion”

"Awaiting the right occasion" (Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

I’m teaching myself fashion illustration. I still have a long way to go, but I love drawing the textiles!

Conceptual Coat Textile (Designed and Illustrated by Arlene Ellis, 2013)

The illustration superimposed on the coat is actually for a different project, but I decided to have some fun with it. Look at it as a coat textile!

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