This Friday I am launching my Illustrated Ghost Stories project. You might have seen my video introduction or my illustrated sketchbook cover over on instagram. The project is running over my instagram and includes me releasing a series of videos based on legendary ghost stories. Starting with tales from around the UK and then hopefully moving onto those from around the world. In the videos I will tell the ghost stories and create an original illustration for them in my signature style.
Keeping the Witching Hour Free
I have wanted to start this project since the beginning of 2020. With balancing running my business alongside a hectic events job then turning into a topsy turvey world, the project got pushed to the end of my list. Since then (and the loss of my events job) I have been concentrating on making my lil biz viable as a full time venture, and again this project just didn’t get much of a look in. The reality is that it has taken a lot of hard work to buy myself sometime especially for the project. Plus a pinch of determination to keep the time just for that.
Is Youtube right for Me(tube)?
I have been getting to grips with creating video content since lockdown. It’s something that seems to be a good way to engage with people who follow my art, is as far as they get to see a bit more of me than they do when I’m behind a camera. It also means that I can explain things in more detail than a post will often allow. This might be stories behind my work or introducing new projects. Sometimes it’s just me showing everyone around my studio. Regardless it has proven to be a good thing to get to grips with. So I set up a YouTube channel and got to grips with that and I’ve been trying to work on and improve my video editing skills.
What’s clear is that I definitely need some better equipment. I hope that you guys don’t mind to bear with me in the meantime though! I hope to learn more and get better as the videos go on. Timing the drawings and the storytelling has been tough too but I am sure I can get into the swing of this better also.
Share Your Thoughts!
I would really love to hear your feedback once the project has launched. I want to create something that others are going to enjoy as well as me. Any thought you have, please do share them! The project is born from my love of drawing and my love of ghost stories, but it’s a lot of work to do if you guys aren’t going to enjoy it too. I want to make the best of it I can. Let me know your favourite stores too if there’s anything in particular you would like to see me cover. I just ask that they are ghost stories rooted in local folklore, but it can be from anywhere! You don’t need to know all the facts either as I will do my research. I already have ideas for the next few videos and am excited to research some more 🙂
To check out my videos once they are live, just head over to my Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPAg36xq_ZlaF8pj5k7whOw and remember to subscribe to be updated about future video releases 🙂
I had never even heard of halloween cards until this year! But since we are more apart than usual this halloween it seems a good reason to make my own. Feel free to print as many as you like to send to family and friends this Halloween. Fill it with best wishes, ghost stories, horror movie recommendations or recipes for halloween snacks!
This download is free for all to enjoy as a halloween gift from me to you. If you would like to support my spooky art journey and access monthly downloadable artworks including things like phone wallpapers, art prints, halloween bunting and greeting cards then please take a look at my Patreon page. You’ll also find plenty of behind the scenes content about my artworks and first looks too 🙂 and it only costs a couple of quid.
You can find my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/ThisIsSianEllis and access the digital halloween card download at https://we.tl/t-qh5WIQ2ERE
And if you are looking for something to do check out my top halloween movie recommendations at http://sianellisillustration.co.uk/2019/10/27/halloween-special-movie-recommendations/ and http://sianellisillustration.co.uk/2019/11/03/halloween-film-recommendations-round-2/
Oh BOY has this been a hot topic. I mean, I understand why. This Halloween is a halloween like no other. People care about the holiday, they are worried about it. I am sure that when we see a less niche holiday like christmas come under the fire of corona we will see a similar panic on a larger scale. But let’s get one thing straight….
Halloween is NOT cancelled
The insistence it will be has been such a peeve for me this year. No one can cancel halloween! Who even could? How even could you? There might be cancelled events or activities, sure, but you simple can’t cancel the whole thing. Even in the event of a full lockdown no one can stop me decorating my living room, putting on some scary films and stuffing my face with snacks.
Happily, there is much more choice for events than I anticipated. I know that things could still get cancelled, but it would be a shame not to book them in. If all goes sour then I have a bunch of refunds to look forward to to spend on decorations , snacks and movie rentals. I will have the halloween I always thought I might. The main point being, I will always have a halloween!
The saddest thing for me is that this is my first halloween to myself and it’s probably not going to be the best. For the last few years I have been running halloween events with my old job. Now that job is no more, reclaiming halloween is an excellent perk. It’s just a shame I know I have missed out on so many events for the past few years and for this year it will happen again. Well…almost! The choice is smaller but I can certainly fill my week with spooky fun!
The National Trust’s Ghost Walks After Dark
The National Trust are running these adults only event in a number of their sites. You book a slot and get a guided nighttime tour with ghost stories. Just seeing these venues in the nighttime is unique enough! To get ghost stories too is such a treat! I would absolutely love to be able to wander round Whitby Abbey after dark and listen to some ghost stories. But Whitby is a title far to go for an evening ghost walk. The great thing about these events is that you can pop your postcode into their site and it brings up the events closest to you. To be honest I hadn’t even heard of Bolsover castle before this (sorry). Just half an hour away from me as it turns out and so I am all booked on for spooky stories in a castle at night. Eek! (That’ excitement rather than fear though!) Tours are running 28th-31st October so I have booked it before halloween to fit as much hallowfun into the week as I can!
Daisy Dukes Drive in Halloween Screenings
This is another event taking place all over the UK. It will be the first time I have ever attended a drive in screening. They have lots of films on offer throughout the day and into the night. I’m a little dubious of the screening quality of films being shown outdoors in the daytime. But I was really spoilt for choice with the listings. Each screening has characters in attendance too. Kiddy friendly Beetlejuice types for the day time and who knows for the nighttime. Seriously though, what the hell character can you include for a screening of ‘The Blair Witch Project’? I decided to pick a film that I know will be great but I haven’t watched for a while. I know I certainly abuse the play button on my favourites that are available on streaming services. So ‘Scream’ it is for me. You can even pre book your snacks which i found more exciting than is necessary. The timing of the screening means I can even sneak some nighttime activity too if I find something else pop up.
Haunting my own House
This is the one thing I can do this year that I haven’t in previous. After decorating huge event spaces for events and knowing that I either won’t be home or will be exhausted for trick or treating time, my house doesn’t usually get decorated. This year though? My plan is to go all out. I’m gonna transform my house into a haunted house! I will definitely share more with you when I do!
This year more than any other I remember, Oct 1st felt like Christmas Eve. It’s been such a tough year we have all needed something to look forward too. Plus, with my art being my full time job now I am immersed in the spooky world more hours a week than ever before. The day felt like Autumn, instagram was flooded with October excitement and I even found a chocolate apple in Sainsbury’s. October 1st was a good day.
The most exciting part of the day though? Mab’s Drawlloween launch! This is my third year taking part. It is a great opportunity for me to see how much I have grown each year as an artist. It’s a great chance to find new artists. Plus it is just an all round fun thing to take part in. I always find prompts that don’t inspire to start with me that I end up creating something I really like for. I know that this year will be my best one yet and I am determined to get something for every prompt.
Pencils at the Ready!
This year I tried to get a head start, was adamant I’d get a head start. Day one showed up and I didn’t have a prompt ready! That’s not to say I didn’t have any drawings ready, just not for day one! I had done the classic thing of drawing the prompts that jumped out at me. Despite being only a few days in I have already come up with some pieces I am really pleased with. This year I am trying to go big, bold and funny! I always like my drawlloween to have a bit of humour, but this year I want to make sure it is in abundance en every piece. They’ve had a really good reception for it so far too. Engagement has been really strong on my instagram posts. I have gained new followers and had a few requests for prints too. And I have only posted five days of drawings as I write this.
I wish it could be drawlloween as Everydayyyy
I know that there are other drawing challenges throughout the year but this is the heavyweight for me. A spooky prompt list always resonates with me strongest. Aughost only came on my radar this year so i wasn’t very prepared. Perhaps I can make a big to do of that one in 2021. It is always a challenge to finish the whole list but I am determined to do it. I know I’m going to be sad when it ends too.
So many drawings, so little time
I have one product under wraps inspired by my Drawlloween 2020 so far. There are also some other ideas sloshing around in my head, including some prints for sure. I am excited to see what ideas come out. They are as much as suprise to me at this point as they are to you guys! I am sure I can get some fun things from it to add to my store by the time Christmas comes 🙂
Jump over on my insta to follow my Drawlloween 2020 journey https://instagram.com/thisissianellis
I recently introduced Halloween Pet Portraits to my commissions. They are my first ever digital only Etsy product. I’m going to talk a bit about my thinking behind them and the first ones I have completed.
Digital Art in a Digital Age
Before now all of my commissions have been drawn in fineliner pen. This involves an initial pencil sketch that is then completed in pen and then posted recorded delivery to the customer. Through offering new digital portrait options I can offer more affordable commission opportunities. It is a faster method of producing art and involves no postage costs. For this reason I have also begun to offer digital house portraits. I will continue to offer my traditionally drawn commissions as I think that each method of illustration creates a very different finished result.
The benefit of not using the postage system is not just that the customer is saved postage costs, but that portraits are received immediately upon completion. This is especially important as an option in a year where the Christmas postage system will be under particular strain. It also means that I can accept commissions up until a later date that ordinarily and the turnaround time is quicker.
The First Class
I was so happy to get such a great reception for these portraits and to sign up my first customers within hours of announcing the portraits. It was great to hear their ideas and see their gorgeous familiars! There’s a choice of colour portraits, black and white or with a colour pop. I can incorporate any halloween costume, film character or spooky idea that you can come up with. I love chatting through ideas with customers.
Through completing my first batch of portraits I am definitely loving adding these to the shop. I am a big animal lover and getting to see everyone’s adorable pets and having the honour of drawing them is a huge win!