The Dirigible Balloon
Poetry for Children

Artist Feature ... Shannon Ell

Find out about Shannon ...
Hello Balloonists!

Our artist feature today is about Shannon Ell who is a Scottish based illustrator and animator. Shannon is a member of SCBWI (The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and AOI (The Association of Illustrators). Graduating from Edinburgh College of Art with a Degree in Illustration, Shannon’s clients include Words & Pictures, The Little Living Room and Grumpy Goose Media.

This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
You can see Shannon’s large portfolio of wonderful work on the website at shannonillustrates.com

We asked Shannon a number of questions, which they kindly answered along with providing examples of their artwork. So, without further ado, the Dirigible Balloon is proud to present …

The Artwork of Shannon Ell
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022

How did you get into illustrating?
I’d grown up drawing, things like mind maps and portraits were my way of expressing myself alongside writing stories and making up games with my brother.

Throughout school I was much the same- doodling in jotters instead of doing the work (yet managing to still get high test scores) I just preferred my own escapism and my world was better. I then went on to do varying courses in art, a tattoo apprenticeship that I left due to mental health reasons before finally settling on the goal of illustration, I was told I was more of a fine artist at college so I did whatever I could to prove them wrong. Moved cities and moved colleges to get a second opinion, then getting accepted into Edinburgh College of Art direct access to 2nd year doing illustration.
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
It was really over lockdown in my 3rd and 4th year that I came into my own and really started to trust my abilities as an illustrator.

This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022

What are your illustrating ambitions?
I really want to illustrate children’s books, Non-Fiction and Fiction. I’m really into history and mythology so those themes are ideal. I have my own book in the making too about one of my cats so a series of Miles the Cat books getting published would be a dream come true. I would also really love representation and a steady income.
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022

Do you have a favourite artist?
Too many. I find beauty in most illustrators' work and find it so interesting how unique everyone is. I have an adoration for Lois Van Baarle and Simone Grünewald as well as Owen Davey and Matthew Johnson, John Bond and Rachel Ignotofsky plus so so many others. Beatrix Potter would have to be highest on my list of illustrators that influence me.
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022

What advice would you give to young artists?
Trust in yourself, don’t compare yourself to anyone else, take on board advice, don’t be disheartened by rejections and keep on going. It’s important to ask for advice and look out for others too.
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022
This picture is copyright (©) Shannon Ell 2022


Thank you Shannon !


Article written and organised by JH.

About the Writer


Jonathan Humble

Jonathan lives in Cumbria. His work has been published online and in print in a number of magazines and anthologies. His first collection of poetry (My Camel's Name Is Brian) is available through TMB Books and Maytree Press published a further collection (Fledge) in 2020. His poems for children have been shortlisted and highly commended in the Caterpillar and Yorkmix poetry competitions. He is the editor of The Dirigible Balloon and Poet in Residence for the Youtube channel "Mr. Dilly Meets ...".