I’m Ellie, an illustrator based in Manor Park. I've been drawing for as long as I can remember, doodling ponies and rabbits as a child, sketching buildings and taking Art at school, then finding my illustration style at university when my final year tutor sent me out into the Yorkshire countryside to draw from life and discover my style, which is loose yet closely-observed.
That style is now the driving force behind Ellie Smith Illustration, inspired by the recognisable, which can mean anything from local pubs to animals, iconic architecture to food. I don’t draw people or make believe, but almost everything else goes! I love to find humour in my work and embrace the wonky lines of on-location drawing.
My personal connection to the local area began when I moved to Manor Park in early 2018, having seen my brother settle here happily.
Since then I have discovered that my family connections to Manor Park and the wider area began in the 1930s, including family living in Leyton and Wanstead, running pubs such as the North Star, Leytonstone in the 50s and then a wool shop in Wanstead.
Other businesses were owned nearer to Wanstead Flats and I understand my great-great-grandparents' graves are in local cemeteries! I am surrounded by ancestors it seems! Things I love to do around here are: running on Wanstead Flats and at the local Park Run, swimming at the Aquatics Centre, cycling and sampling craft beers!
In 2020 I decided to refocus on my illustration, having had a few years where my full-time teaching job took my attention away from it. This coincided with the lockdown, and I channelled a lot of my drawing into the local area, with prints of local pubs such as The Holly Tree and Burgess & Hall Wines being popular in my Etsy shop. You may remember seeing a mural design when the Community Assemblies were asking for residents’ submissions for funding - that was me, with the support of my fantastic neighbourhood in Manor Park Village. It was inspired by the gardening days we’ve enjoyed, dwarfed by gangly hollyhocks, as well as the community garden that is being revamped at the moment.
As soon as I could I returned to in-person markets and broadened my range of products to include House Portraits, which did well last year. I still teach full-time, but a new role teaching A level Photography and Interior Architecture has allowed me more free time with which to work away in my studio.
My plans for 2022 include a return to local inspiration and I am excited to announce I’ll be selling some of my illustrations at Applecart Arts in Plashet Park when they open in the spring, as well as Fiore in the Avenue Road arches!
These are exciting steps towards having my work stocked in local businesses and also coincides with new ranges of local illustrations, including the Boleyn Tavern and Leyton Orient Football Stadium, a team my grandfather supported his whole life.
For those celebrating this year, I offer bespoke wedding venue illustrations, house portraits and am always happy to discuss ideas for one-off artworks - get in touch if you have an idea!
To see or buy my work online, find me at:
Local Makers Market at Christ Church Hall, Wanstead on 11th June