Revisiting the Studio

I thought it might be nice to revisit my studio. This is because I am still excited about it. I love showing it off! Plus I haven’t shared it here since I first moved in. I’ll just cover some of the new bits since then.

Firstly though I want to recap on how much I love this place! I LOVE it! I am so excited to come here everyday. It has been two and a half months since I moved in. This place feels so much like home. I have my packing corner, my work corner and my cosy corner. Plus everything has a place. I have my paint trolley, packaging storage and my library. I even have a shelf and area just for Dot. The organisation of my studio helps me day to day so much. Efficiency means I can do things quicker. It also helps me feel more professional. I am just in my element here. 

My Spooky Studio Garden

I have gotten so many pants you guys! I got a bit obsessed. Plants bring great life to a space. They also make sure you have to come in and look after them. Stops you working at home in your PJs too much! I’m still working out what sort of plants will thrive in this space though. I think it suffers from hot summers and cold winters so they’ll certainly be tested! I have gone for spooky planters and am planning to add little ghostly touches. This is why I call it my spooky garden. Ghosts with plants feature in a few of my pieces of work so I am excited to have my own real spooky garden for real.

One Man’s Trash…

My new paint trolley is also a pride and joy of the studio. The best thing about it is that it was free! It was the exact trolley I wanted for ages. But it was so expensive and I spent so much on my studio I couldn’t justify it, Luckily for me Martin spotted one in a skip! I was convinced it would be gone by the time I got there. Either that or it was broken. I was in luck. It was in perfect condition and there waiting for me. 2020 definitely needs more wins and this was certainly one. How could you put something so wonderful out in the trash? Crazy!

What’s Left?

There’s not much left to do. I’ve established that I need to amend Dot’s corner a little. This is so that I can get an extra shelf in. I have too many books. Too many tchotchkes. A load of stuff. I definitely have the space for it and i don’t think Dot is going to hate having her bed moved next to the radiator. 

I still need to create my big hue flag and get some more wall art. There’s no need to rush these things though. Plus the best problem to have as a freelancer is being too busy to create this extra stuff. 

Zap Creatives Interview

I was recently interviewed by the folk at Zap Creatives and am sharing it here for today’s blog 🙂

Hello Sian! Let’s start by you telling us a little bit about your background and how your business started?

Hello! I have always drawn and made things since I can remember. But I have only been running my business for about two and a half years. I used to keep all my drawings a secret, I was shy about sharing them. However, my friends and family encouraged me. I have only became a full time artist now in 2020! 

We love how your work is spooky yet super cute at the same time! As a full time artist, what do you get up to? 

A typical day for me usually starts with me doing my emails and checking my social media from home with a cup of tea before heading to my studio. It’s based in Sheffield city centre so I usually walk in with my pup, Dot. We have a bit of playtime before I start working on whatever commissions I have on that day. When it’s time for lunch we head to the park for a run-around and then the afternoon will be mostly more commission work or packing orders, usually while listening to a spooky stories podcast. I prefer to work a day that is a slower pace but a bit longer since I find working in the evening a lot more productive. 

Three things that inspire your designs and creativity? 

Ghosts, cartoons, and silly jokes!

What’s your favourite product you have ever created and why?

Oooh, this is such a great question! It’s tough to answer, I love all my products. But I would have to say I love my earrings because I am a huge fan of statement earrings. I’m actually wearing some of my earrings I designed as I write this! 

I always want to create things that I would love to have, in the hope that other people would love to have them too! 

What’s your favourite Zap! product?

The plywood charms are perfect for earrings. They are super lightweight which is a big deal when you love giant earrings. I can wear them all day and they don’t start to feel uncomfortable. 

I love how Zap! Creatives have so many products that are recycled or responsibly sourced. As creator I try to make a conscious effort to be eco-friendly. 

What advice would you give to an illustrator starting out wanting to get work made into products? 

Chat to your customers and your social media followers to find out what sort of thing they are interested in seeing. Think about what you would love to have that you can create yourself. Otherwise, just try it! If you are worried about the initial costs of trying new products there are so many crowdfunding platforms out there. You can also have pre-orders and if you can excite other people enough about something new that you want to bring out then you can make it a reality together!

Which film do you never get bored off? We are guessing it is going to be a spooky one haha?

The Addams Family Values is constantly on my rotation. I love to put it on while I draw since I’ve seen it so many times I don’t need to pay loads of attention to it but it still always makes me laugh and I never get bored of it. 

Other artists that inspire you? 

There are so many amazing artists out there! I love artists like Mab Graves who work across a variety of mediums because I get that feeling. I love artists who just create spooky art all year long too and I have loads of amazing pieces in my studio by artists like Jelly Koe, Defective Pudding, artists who make stuff that is adorable and Halloweeny all year long.

Where can people buy your amazing products and find your work!?

You can buy my products on Etsy at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thisissianellis and check out my Instagram @thisissianellis

Instagram 3k Giveaway


You’ve probably seen that I currently have a pretty epic giveaway on the go. I thought I’d take this blog opportunity to look at the sweet haul on offer. 

To start I want to offer a huge thank you to all the wonderful artists who donated something to the giveaway. I wanted to approach artists who I thought would help create a good aesthetic for the giveaway and would also be people that my followers would enjoy to discover. There’s no point running a giveaway asking people to follow someone whose art they don’t enjoy just to try and bag a freebie.

When I finally had all the prizes together and could lay them out for a photo shoot I was instantly jealous of whoever was going to win! It was tough to get them all in a shot that I could use on social media. I hope it’s done justice to the fab prizes on offer!

You can find out more about each artist by following their instagram handles tagged on the instagram giveaway post 🙂

The Dark Times

The lovely Hattie has donated these incredible bat cut outs that seem to have taken over instagram! It seems that every self respecting goth aesthetic account has rightly gotten on board. They are a brilliant statement display. Her paper cuts are wonderful and she included some adorable ghost stickers too.

You’re So Cool

We’ve got a couple of bold black and white prints donated by the wonderful You’re So Cool. The ‘No feet’ Beetlejuice ghosts are my fave! Her work is full of all the creepy films we have nostalgia from when we were kids and the music of our teenage years! Whatever your fandom there’s something for you 🙂

Stella Box Designs

I love Hachley’s lino prints! It’s such a wonderful printing technique I definitely need to carve in (pun, wahey!) more time for myself to practice. You might have even spotted her ‘stay spooky’ pumpkin print in my studio. She has donated the gravestone print and I love the use of negative space on the bone fence. 

The Littlest Spook Shop

We got a great little bundle of adorable prints from The Littlest Spook Shop for the giveaway. I’m always going to love a cute little ghost and these guys are no exception. Plus Laura’s included  the most adorable little spook pin! The pin is based on the popular Polaroid ghost print and the detail and finish on it are lush!

Nox Caleo

You guys all know how obsessed I am with spooky jewellery. It’s ridiculous. The little Nox caleo ghost earring and matching necklace are totally adorable! So much so I may have run over to the store to pick myself up some spooky treats (I told you I was jealous of the giveaway winner!)

Saffron Reichenback

The pin game is strong with this one! We’ve got some super wicked stickers and a glamour ghoul and bat girl pin. These awesome pins are definitely gonna boost someone’s collection and they are a really good statement size too. I love how they have a kinda undead 1920s vampire vibe about them!

Box of Goth

You may have spotted a sneaky secret surprise gift in there too. I personally am a humongous surprise fan. When my fiancé proposed it was the biggest surprise ever and he said he just knew that that would be the way I would enjoy it the most. He was right! If someone could just plan me a surprise wedding now that would be great! Unfortunately I know that isn’t going to happen but I can quench my surprise thirst with mystery subscription boxes, hurrah! I have signed up to a few different ones and I loved my surprises from Box of Goth! So I was super stoked to be able to include one of their mini mystery boxes in the giveaway.

If you look hard enough you can have a little peek at some of the contents but I purposefully kept them packed away in the spirit of the mystery box. The little coffin box is the cutest thing ever and you will often see mine pop up on a product shot on my insta feed from time to time. It’s just too cute!

Foxx and Raccoon

This super sleek bats in the moonlight print by Foxx and Raccoon is a super inclusion in the giveaway! I love how sleek Hk’s work is. She has lots of one off and bespoke pieces on offer too so her profile is definitely worth a visit for some gothy gifting! 

Then there’s me!

I’ve added some of my brand new A5 size prints to the giveaway and a pin to add to the super pin haul (there are at least 5 in there!)

I’ve also included some stickers, despite being too much of a silly billy to include them in the photo. 

It’s going to be super lovely when I get to tell the winner that they’ve won on Tuesday! Who doesn’t like giving out good news? I once had a job where every Friday I had to ring someone who had won £1,000 on our weekly lottery and it was always the best way to wrap up a week. I do love playing Santa with these giveaways. 

If you haven’t entered yet, the winner will be drawn Tuesday 15th September and the giveaway is open worldwide. Just head to www.instagram.com/thisissianellis to find out how to enter!

Halloween as a Spooky Artist- the Best and most Difficult time of year

I know it’s gonna surprise some of you guys when I say that spooky season can be tough for spooky artists. I know that others of you might be thinking ‘it’s early September why is she talking about Halloween?’ Halloween comes to the UK the moment the first Code Orange siren sounds as far as I’m concerned. For those of you who might not know about code orange, it’s the moment that high street stores start to sell their halloween range each year. In 2020 it came as early as July and some stores seem to be wrapping up their Halloween offerings already. This isn’t the norm though. It’s definitely a symptom of a corona code orange.

What won’t be a suprise is how much I love halloween. Scary films, spooky decorations, amazing haunted events. I’m still hopeful that there will be something wonderful to experience this year. Even if it is an online event or a socially distanced drive in cinema. This will be my first Halloween in a couple of years that I don’t have to work too. My pumpkin carving time is back, woohoo!

Get to the point Sian, why is it TOUGH?

In short it’s tough because all the non-spooky folk jump on the spooky wagon. It’s weird to spend all year as a bit of an outsider only to have that month or two where everyone gets on board. That goes for artists, crafters, shoppers and the high street. A lot of whom are happy to put their spooky back in the closet on November 1st and not think about it again for a year. So in essence, not my typical customer. The art I create is very much for people who have embraced the spooky lifestyle. I don’t think that there are too many other people interested enough in just their halloween to be following an account for spooks 365 days a year. 

So as well as it not being super likely I will find too many new customers, my existing customers are suddenly kids in candy shops. I know this, because I am too! There is a short window where spooky is normal and you can fill up on halloween treats from a range of high street stores. People wait all year for it, and some save up especially too. October is definitely a month to stretch the bank account if spooky shopping is your deal. So it’s understandable that a lot of customers are focused more on buying what they can only buy at this time of year, as opposed to their favourite all year round halloween stores.

From Halloween is Everyday to Halloween is Everywhere 

Ultimately though it is my absolute favourite time of year. Maybe next year I’ll embrace the drop in custom as a chance for me to take the time off. So I can enjoy all the spooky things I love about Halloween! As some shops are already winding down their halloween stock it might even be possible for small spooky businesses to get a bit of a surge again this year. At the end of the day though, that’s not what matters. Enjoying the holiday and all it has to offer is something I have been doing long long before I had my business and I intend to keep it up.

If you have good suggestions for halloween plans this year, including online events or films to watch let me know!

Market Announcement: Darksome Arts and Craft Virtual Market “EVERYDAY IS HALLOWEEN”

This is a big one, baby! It’s no secret that Covid takes the trophy this year for messing everything up. EVERYTHING. Finding any kind of silver lining has been tough. I lost my job, I couldn’t meet my newborn nephew, and I was still a lot luckier than a lot of other people. Taking part in the Darksome Art & Craft market is definitely a silver lining for me!

A Weekend market in Halloween town

Last month I was interviewed by the Halloween arts and Travel Podcast. The podcast is US based and we talked about the differences in markets in the US and UK. Primarily Halloween and oddities markets. We talked about how these things don’t exist in the UK. Which is a huge shame I’m sure you’ll agree! I always look upon them on social media and dream I could attend!

When I saw that the fabulous Darksome Art and Craft we’re running an ‘Everyday is Halloween Market’ online I didn’t think twice about applying. I didn’t want to hold my breath though. With so many talented artists on their books I knew it would be competitive. Plus applying from the other side of the world felt like a big of a punt for sure! When I got accepted I was super excited!

One Helluva Birthday Bash

The market is taking place on the weekend of 16-18th October. With my birthday slap bang in the middle of it. I’d say that’s a good excuse for me to treat myself to some spooky birthday gifts. The line up has been announced on the official facebook event and it looks brilliant. The wonderful Defective Pudding has created an excellent poster for the event. I love her work and have a few prized possessions by her up in my studio. I think it’s nice for the market to be able to host artists from other corners of the world too. So I am humbled and happy that we are offering something new to each other.

It’s always nice to take part in a market that is 100% spooky. It doesn’t happen often, especially here in the UK. It’s nice to be trading alongside artists in a similar field. It’s brilliant to be curated as part of that. The market will take place on a dedicated website created by Darksome Art and Craft themselves so follow them on social media or look out on mine for more details of how to get involved.

There might even be a discount on offer in honour of the occasion. I’ll definitely be producing more video content too. This went well at the Etsy Made Local market last month and it’ll be nice to share my work and my studio with some new fans as well as existing supporters. Can’t wait to see you there! 

Haunted House Portraits

I love it when September turns up after a long summer. It won’t suprise any of you that Autumn is my favourite season. Big jumpers, gingerbread lattes and Halloween. What is there not to be excited about? The start of September is when requests for my Haunted House portraits begin to increase rapidly too. 

I always recommend that if someone knows that they want a portrait for a birthday or Christmas that they get in touch sooner rather than later at this time of year. I usually cite a 3 week turnaround for portraits. In the warmer months I can often turn them around even quicker. However once Autumn hits and people start to think of Christmas I unfailing end up closing the books in November at the latest. This is to ensure that I have enough time to dedicate to each portrait and can be confident of having them delivered before Christmas comes.

Haunt my House 

All I need to be able to haunt your home is some photos. I’ll always suggest ways you can get a good picture. I’ll also let you know early if there are any issues with the photos sent. I can create portraits in A4 or A3 sizes and they are all hand drawn on good quality paper. It doesn’t even need to be a house either. I have haunted bars, vehicles and flats too. If you have an idea but aren’t sure if it can work, just get in touch and we can see if we can work something out.

I’ll also ask a few exploratory questions to make sure that the haunted house I come up with is perfect for you or who you are gifting it too. I can go entirely by my imagination, use your suggestions or even draw an already haunted house. I recently captured an incredible Halloween display for one family for a gift for the lead Halloween house haunter. 

Unique Gift

What I love about the portraits is that they are always so different, I love hearing everyone’s ideas. Being able to draw a range of properties with such different personalities is delightful too. I love creating spooky stuff for spooky people! It’s what I love and it’s what I am good at too. I have created dozens of these portraits and the feedback for them has happily always been glowing. 

If you want to book a commission slot with me to create a haunted house portrait for you, just drop me a note on the contact form of this website or email me at sianellis@hotmail.co.uk 😊

I’m Officially a Full Time Artist and Oh Boy is it Scary!


So I’ve known this was coming for a while. Covid was never very friendly for an Events organiser. I had only been working 3 days a week in my other job too. My illustration business has been growing over the last two and a half years I have been running it. I have worked on some amazing opportunities and it really has been brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, the chance to do it full time is excellent. The chance to have been able to work on it full time under the furlough scheme of my other job for a few months was a gift too. An opportunity I could never have imagined before. 

This blog is just about how scary it is! In general and in the current climate. My part time job ended officially one week ago. Even though I have been working on my business over lockdown, it has felt different since then. The feeling of “this is it kid, we’re on our own”.

The fact it is quiet sleepy August exacerbates this I think. Traditionally August would be a painting month for me. When the weather is nice it is a great time for painting murals. I would usually have a few sculptures on display and get the joy of seeing them tagged on social media. Even visiting a few. Covid has postponed all the arts trails. There are a few mural projects that are on hiatus. A few applications I have in that aren’t being reviewed until 2021. A part of my business has stopped completely, at a quiet retail time of year and it’s all at the time I have gone full time. Gulp!

We’re on Our Own Kid

There’s also now the pressure to ’do it properly’. I guess that’s tied into the ‘imposter syndrome’. There’s no reason for me to think I am not doing properly already. The stakes are just higher now. Change is big and change is scary. That’s coming from me, a person who thrives on change! It’s just, you know, a BIG change! 

I guess the other side is that I am conscious that a lot of other people are in the same boat as me. A whole wave of freelancers are coming at a time when it’s likely many opportunities will drop. I am hopeful that there is enough arts funding out there to support the industry. Also I am hopeful that industries that are thriving do their best to support freelance and independent business. I am hopeful that I love what I do enough to battle through.

There’s a misconception that artist’s work is not of as higher value as others because their reward is that they love what they do. The love an artist has for their work is what powers them to work crazy hours, pour their heart and soul into their business. It is certainly not something to undervalue them on. It’s precisely the secret ingredient that adds quality and value to what they do.

The Future

I guess that even though I am stressed and frightened about it all now there are things I can do to fix it. This is the best time to sit down and look at what I am doing, what opportunities there are, What I can do better. Am I charging enough? Have I got a good business plan? Everything I need to do to take my business to the next level. It’s scary because I care. Because I care I can build this thing as big as it can go. 

To everyone else in a similar position I wish you all the luck that’s out there. I know that like me you can use your love for your art to bolster your business. And If you ever want to chat, you know where to find me!

Stay Spooky Kickstarter Campaign: The first 3 days


I am so please at how the campaign is going you guys!  Have to share it with you, because I am so excited!

It is currently Wednesday afternoon after the campaign launched Monday lunchtime. Sunday night I was way too excited. I wanted to launch it immediately, despite advertising the Monday launch. Part excitement, part nerves. When I am nervous about something I like to just do it. Stop worrying and dive in!I deifinitely felt like that about the campaign. So far at this point I had made some teaser posts on instagram about designs. I’d written a few blogs about it. I made a public video and a Patreon video about designs. I had advertised it in a few obvious places. The campaign was ready and I had a promo plan in mind.

The Launch

The first 24 hours after launch were the big ones for me. This was because I had launched some early bird prices that would only be a viable for this time. The quicker we unlock the designs the less stressed I need to get and the happier my backers will be. I know people want to see the design they like best unlocked.  Wanted this to happen as soon as possible. I also wanted to advertise this point because I wanted people to know about the special offers. I wanted people to be able to get a deal if there was one available. 

So I dove in and promoted the campaign EVERYWHERE. Everywhere I could think of where I could post for free. In my first campaign I had tried a whole range of advertising techniques. Also as an events organiser marketing was a huge part of my job. So I know that promotion is the biggest deal. Well, having a good product and well made campaign is the biggest thing, but promo is a pretty close second. The biggest thing with promo is that on average people need to see something a few miles before they act. I’m quite impulsive so this is quite different to my own nature but I know that it is true. Getting it out everywhere and often but without being spammy is definitely an art form! I am always open to advice on how to get this balance right.

Funding Target Reached

I am so pleased to be able to say that it only took 1 minute for the first backer and 8 hours to become fully funded! There are still designs to unlock and stretch goals, but this is amazing! I never thought it would happen so quickly. It so meant that the time I have to super stress about whether it will get funded or not was gladly much shorter than expected.

The Designs

By this point on day 3 we have happily unlocked 3 designs. After the excitement of day 1 with the launch and discounts the pledges have understandably slowed. So it’s on me to keep advertising, keep up memento and make the campaign go as well as I can. The unlocked designs are the ‘Boo’, ‘Say Cheese’ and ‘Ghost Dog’. Happily these are some of the designs that got the best reception. I didn’t know this when I launched. I kept the designs secret for a while So I wasn’t sure the best order to unlock them in. I am happy that the designs people are most excited about are unavailable. It means more happy campers and less chance of cancelled pledges. 

The campaign is live until September 7th so if you want to pledge or are able to share before then, thank you!

You can find out more by following the link below 🙂

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thisissianellis/spooky-season-acrylic-earring-collection
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thisissianellis/spooky-season-acrylic-earring-collection

Spooky Season Kickstarter: The Designs


Tomorrow sees the launch of my Spooky Season Kickstarter. I announced this campaign and it’s story in Wednesday’s blog. I thought it would be nice to introduce the designs to you today. 

If the campaign is successful each design will be printed onto 1.5 inch clear recycled acrylic charms and made into earrings. Each pair of earrings will be handmade as I currently do with my existing 1 inch plywood earring designs. The campaign will run for just 14 days so if you are keen to grab a pair at a special price, now is the time! Plus you will get the chance to own some exclusive freebies if the campaign reaches it’s stretch goals too. 

The Designs

The designs are based around the spooky season and things I love. With October in reach I feel even more pumped up than usual to create spooky designs. That’s definitely saying something! These designs are what I think would make perfect halloween earrings as well as able to wear all year long. I have avoided any specifically halloween iconography (i.e Pumpkins) for this reason.

There are five spooky designs in total. It won’t surprise you that spooks feature in every design, but they are all a bit different. Some designs incorporate text into their design too. It’s risky on a small design. However I am confident that the words are a big and bold enough part of the design that they will work fine. There is also a witchy design that is new territory for me. This design is based on my Haunted House piece where I drew a cut through of a haunted house and included spooky paraphernalia in each room. The basement was the witch’s potion room like we see here. The camera design is based on a Beetlejuice themed gif I created. Although it nods to the film this design is more about proving the existence of a spooky afterlife! 

The Campaign

The campaign will see each design unlock after a certain target is hit. There will be the chance to gain early bird prices on the first day only as well as he previously mentioned freebies. It doesn’t matter if you pledge before a design you like becomes available as everyone will only be asked to pick their designs from the unlocked ones available after the campaign ends. This is irregardless of what is unlocked at the time of your pledge. 

Support the Campaign


To support the campaign just visit my Kickstarter page by following my bio link at www.instagram.com/thisissianellis once it launches Monday 24th August

Preparing to Launch My Next Kickstarter Campaign

I am excited to finally start talking about my next Kickstarter campaign. The campaign will launch on Monday 24th August. It will be my first campaign to launch a brand new series of Spooky Season themed acrylic earrings!

My First Campaign

This will be my second ever Kickstarter campaign. My first ran just over one year ago and funded my Skeptical ghost enamel pin. It was my first pin badge and I learnt all about pin production and kickstarter too. I have taken forward my learnings about running a campaign to this next project. If it is even half as successful as my last campaign I will be super pleased. My enamel pin campaign raised three times it’s target goal.

My First Acrylic Earrings

As with my first campaign I am using kickstarter to help launch a brand new product. Currently I have a range of 1 inch plywood charm earrings available. These earring have been really popular and I have really enjoyed designing and making them. I am running this campaign to fund a series of larger earrings made from recycled acrylic. Kickstarter is a brilliant platform to allow artists and creators to fund products that are new to them or with a large set up cost in a less risky way. It allows you to offer pre sales on your item so that you can be sure that there is support before you put your item into production. Especially in the current climate and as my art is now my full time job, it is a valuable tool to access. 

The Designs

There will be five designs available. This is a change from my first campaign where there was just one. Each design is unlocked as we hit various funding targets. I also have additional freebies on offer after for all pledges after all designs are unlocked. The designs are based on the spooky season. Which obviously won’t surprise you at all! I had great fun drawing them and they are all based on my own designs of earrings I would love to wear. A first peak at all five will be released on my Instagram page this week. Details of freebies will only be announced with the campaign launch. 

Support the Campaign

To support the campaign just visit my Kickstarter page by following my bio link at www.instagram.com/thisissianellis once it launches Monday 24th August