Gradwatch 2020: Illustrator Ellie Childs, Northumbria College

Ellie Childs creates textured, angular illustrations with characters with distinctive faces and profiles. She tries to experiment with colors and often uses palettes that depict people in unusual tones and shades.

Her graduation project, House of Procrastination, was heavily inspired by Lockdown. She had originally planned to screen print everything, but after the university facilities closed, she decided to do a graphic novella instead. In it, Childs tells the story of different people affected by the pandemic and the impact it had on them while they were stuck at home. Readers are likely to find something to relate to in each of the characters, be it Amir and his tendency to fall into the "YouTube spiral" or introverted Megan described as the "mother of many plant children".

"I really enjoy drawing characters and building different personalities into each of them through their clothes and the colors I use," Childs told CR. "I don't like using just one color for people, I like to challenge myself and make it work."

Child labor has a certain paper-like feel to it, even though it is mostly done digitally. The illustrator explains that she likes to add "chalky" textures to images to blend the two- and three-dimensional images together. The artist is no stranger to working on real paper and telling CR that she has been drawing since she was a teenager, including making Christmas cards for her family every year – something they seem to still annoy her about.

As with many other alumni, Childs missed many of her senior year milestones thanks to the lockdown and says the experience made students feel a little cut off from each other. Even so, she's continuing with her portfolio, working on new work that will convey her style, and plans to send it to illustration agencies later this year.

Childs is particularly interested in working with fashion brands and editorial illustration, and mentions the Guardian and the New York Times as titles she loves.; Click here to see all of our Gradwatch offers from recent years