Sketchbook, Uncategorized

Sketchbook Sunday

This week, it’s all black and white sketches, some of them unfinished, because I’ve mostly been working to finish a commission.  Two of the sketches are also missing from this week’s update, because I sent them to a client as samples, and they want those specific drawings!  When that particular commission is finished, I’ll include those sketches in that week’s Sketchbook Sunday.

070218-fairyWednesday’s sketch is based on an old painting that I did for my mom.  I don’t have it anymore, it’s still with her back in the US, but I wanted to see how it would look if I redrew it.  It’s a ladybug fairy inspired a bit by Amy Brown’s fairies.  This is one that I may finish later and, as soon as I work out how I want to do this, sell prints of it.




080218-goblinThursday’s sketch is a grumpy little goblin.  He was meant to have clothes but I ran out of time, so he’ll have to have some later.  He’s a bit different compared to the goblin I drew for Thunderhead Games, but I wanted to try something a little different, and I’m happy with his design.  If anyone has any idea for what sort of clothes he should be wearing, let me know!




090218-trollbeerLately I’ve been seeing a lot of art on Tumblr of pretty orc girls, and I think that’s great, I love seeing that art!  But less pretty characters can also be a lot of fun, so I set out to sketch an older troll lady who’s grumpy, not particularly pretty, and the sort of character you might encounter at the bar of a disreputable tavern.  She probably has important information for your quest, which she’ll give you after she finishes her beer and beats you at arm wrestling.  I am very happy with how she turned out, but once again did not have time to finish.  (The tattoo on her arm is meant to be a reference to Gary Gygax.)

100218-dystopiatzpAnd here’s some fan art that did not start as fan art.  The pose came first, and then I thought I would turn it into Ro Rowen from The Zeta Project, but that didn’t quite work out.  I changed her clothes to something a bit more asymmetrical and dystopian, with some elements from The Zeta Project thrown in.  This is the Ro of a darker TZP – but when you think about it, under its bright colours and cute characters, The Zeta Project is already a dystopia.  This is a future where the government sends shapeshifting robots to spy on you, and they’ll kill you even if you’re innocent!  Pretty dark already.



110218-garakAnd here’s today’s sketch!  My husband hadn’t seen much Star Trek before we got married, so I’m introducing him one series at a time.  We’ve finished The Original Series and The Next Generation, and have now moved on to Deep Space Nine.  One of the last episodes we saw was “Past Prologue,” which introduced one of my favourite characters:  plain, simple Garak, who is most definitely not a Cardassian spy.



And that’s all for this week!  Let me know if there are any sketches you’d like to see, and I’ll include them in a future sketchbook post.  I also have plans for semi-regular non-sketchbook blogging, so keep an eye on this page for more updates!

Inktober, Sketchbook, Uncategorized


I decided to do Inktober this year, and I’m so far behind on it.  In my defence, it’s because I was working on an awesome commission instead!  I’ll post it when I’m able.

At the recommendation of a friend and thanks to my amazing husband, I now have an iPad Pro which I’ve been working with for the past couple of weeks.  I love it!  I announced when I got it that I might never draw on paper again, and it’s true – I’ve tried sketching on paper just once recently, and gave up when I found myself moving my fingers to try to zoom in!

It’s not really in the spirit of Inktober to use a tablet (even though I’m very skeptical of anyone who says there’s only one right way to do things), but if the point is to get outside your comfort zone and learn something new, I would say this qualifies.  I’m also not doing the usual Inktober prompts, but the Inktober Monsters one:


So here are my first two monsters!  For the first one, “Witch,” I decided to do some fan art.  I’ve been wanting to draw a Rita Repulsa to go with my Power Rangers for a while.  I didn’t use any references until I got to her staff, so some of her costume details are a bit wrong.


My vampire is a Regency vampire, because I’ve been watching some Jane Austen films lately and I really love the style.  Plus the dignified, polite evil of Austen’s antagonists makes for a great vampire!


That’s all for now, but I hope to get around to Banshee on my day off tomorrow, with an update on Saturday or Sunday!

Heroines series, Uncategorized

Before and After + Visa Update

After spending nearly three hours waiting and worrying at the application centre yesterday, I have been approved for Further Leave to Remain in the UK for two and a half years!  This means, among other things, that I can finally start working again.  I am in the process of getting a National Insurance Number, and will be getting in touch with clients later today.

Here’s a look at my progress on Uhura from Star Trek.  I still need to add a simple background, and maybe play around with some effects to make it look a bit more 1960s.

And, before I forget, I have added a contact section to the site.  Now, you can email me through the form or send me a message via Twitter.  Now that I am allowed to accept freelance work again, I will be adding more contact information for prospective clients.  Watch this page for more updates!

Heroines series, Uncategorized

“Make Good Art”

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do.

“Make good art.”

Neil Gaiman

I’m having a hard time getting motivated to work on things tonight, despite the fact that I have a lot of free time and even more ideas and ongoing projects with which to fill it.  Now, close to midnight, after reading some art blogs and re-reading the speech above, I’m getting a little more active.

I managed to finish filling in the flat colours on yesterday’s Uhura drawing and started on the shading.  Here’s a look at my progress so far:

I started by shortening her right forearm, which looked much too long to me when I saw it again this morning.  I then put in all the flat colours and have now moved on shading, highlighting, and changing the colour of the lineart itself.  I’ll shade this a bit more after I’ve had something to eat, and then there are a million other things I want to work on.

Comics, Heroines series, Sketch Dailies, Uncategorized

Keeping Busy

Hello!  My name is Vanessa Ellis.  I’m a freelance illustrator from the US, now living in London after getting married.  I’m not allowed to work right now (hopefully this will change by the end of the month), but I have so many personal projects to keep me busy while I wait.  Here’s a bit of what I’m working on right now:

  • Sketch Dailies:  This Twitter account gives a new drawing prompt every day.  I have fallen behind due to preparations for the next stage of my visa and other projects, but this has been getting me back into the habit of drawing every day.
  • Fan Art:  Before I moved, I had started on a series of drawings of awesome female characters from my childood, and now I’m getting back to that.  Currently I’m working on a drawing of Lt. Uhura from Star Trek to add to this collection!
  • Collaborations with my husband:  We’re working together on a fan comic for one of our favourite cartoons, the tragically short-lived Batman Beyond spinoff The Zeta Project.

There’s more to come.  In fact, I’m getting ready to sign off and get back to work on a few things.  Keep an eye on this blog for more updates!