See our Aussie summer through the marmite tinted lenses of London based illustrator Sam Ellis, who lends his pen by day to architecture drawings & by night to freelance, free-wheeling line illustrations.
Our latest Random Acts of Art is a visual cacophony of summer stereotypes, but before you dive head-first into exploring the incredible details in this double-sided drawing, take a mo to meet Sam below.
FIRST UP, THE IMPORTANT STUFF. HOW DO YOU TAKE YOUR COFFEE?
Anyhow really, with a spot of milk. Ideally Macchiato. Nothing too long except for a slow, lazy cafetiere with the wife on weekend mornings
DO YOU HAVE ANY CONNECTION TO SINGLE O? AND IF SO, WHAT IS IT?
My friend James at work used to live with your designer George. James showed George a print I’d done called ‘Bikes Don’t Strike’ & it was that link that introduced us. All because a bearded drawing I did strikes a shocking resemblance to your very own designer George.
YOU’RE IN AN ELEVATOR & YOU NEED TO DESCRIBE YOUR ILLUSTRATION STYLE BEFORE WE REACH OUR FLOOR… AND GO!
Hand drawn, pen & ink. Classic draftmanship. I think I’m always searching for the true line. Trying to articulate complicated ideas in simple forms, complex & mangled together but each element simply captured.
HOW’D YOU GET INTO DRAWING & IS IT YOUR MAIN GIG?
I’ve got a background in graphic design & studied Architecture. Years of working in Architectural Illustration have refined the skill & honed it. I split my time between working in house for an Architect & producing illustrations on the side, so the two sides naturally influence each other.
IF YOU COULD MEET & ILLUSTRATE ONE PERSON WHO WOULD IT BE?
I’m a big fan of John Frusciante so it would be a dream to meet him and capture some of that musical energy on paper.
WAS YOUR PROCESS FOR CREATING THIS WORK ANY DIFFERENT THAN USUAL? IF SO HOW?
The process was fairly typical. The challenge was the double sided bag. I wanted to create something that wrapped around from both sides & met in the middle on the back, so that caused some head scratching. After that, it was squeezing all the detail in that was tricky.
YOU’VE NEVER BEEN DOWN UNDER, RIGHT? WHAT DO YOU RECKON HAPPENS HERE IN SUMMER?
I’ve not no, it’s on the wish list! I’d hope summertime there is the idyllic stereotype I imagine. I used to watch Bill Granger cooking as a kid, so if he was right it’ll be breezy, salt kissed & sun drenched with crisp white wine & dappled light through straw parasols. Sounds dreamy.
THIS DRAWING IS SUPER DETAILED, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SECTION & WHY?
It was a challenge to build the scene, from sea to shore & beyond then build up the layering of detail. I’m a big fan of Vegemite tower. The iconic jar represented in silhouette. It’s fun to try to weave in as much detail as possible. I tried to take a lot of old school stereotypes & smash them all together.
KNOW IT’S THE DEAD OF WINTER IN THE UK RIGHT NOW BUT WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT SUMMER IN YOUR OPINION?
Yeah it’s pretty cold in the UK so I’m dreaming of some summer sun. At the minute the days are so short so I can’t wait for some long late evenings to sit out & get the family together. The time that extra daylight affords you is what I’m longing for right now!
IF YOU WEREN’T DRAWING WHAT CAREER DO YOU RECKON YOU’D HAVE?
I’d love to do something musical. I’ve always been in bands & would love to be able to dedicate more time to that creative outlet. I come from a big beer brewing town though so I’d probably be knee deep in hops somewhere crafting some ale.
HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED?
Loads of things keep me inspired. I like pushing boundaries & challenging what I’m able to do. That keeps things fresh. I always like to doodle ideas too, trying to nurture that connection from mind to paper. It’s like a muscle that benefits from regular use.
WHO SHOULD WE WORK WITH NEXT?
CAN YOU WRITE US AN ACROSTIC POEM USING THE LETTERS OF SINGLE O?
S alt stained white horse
I ncandescent looming sun
N ever broken but adored
G oing for the one
L eft at the lights, crumpled
E ver more undone
O ver and over, on and on