This Sisters’ Day, August 6, we’re channeling the ice-cool chill of Anna and Elsa with a range of original Frozen illustrations by Melbourne-based designer Ellen Porteus. Be sure to save your favorite illustrations and share this Sisters’ Day! Now is the time to break out the snuggie, pop on Frozen and belt out “Let It Go” with your sis or bestie!
We chatted with Ellen about the inspiration behind her designs, her love of Disney and why Frozen is the ultimate celebration of sisterly love.
How did you get your start as an illustrator and graphic artist?
I was a newly graduated graphic designer with a 9-to-5 job, but my heart was in illustration. I began experimenting, creating and sharing personal work, which led to a bit of attention online. Once I had some experience under my belt, I hastily quit my job, moved to Melbourne, set up a work-space at home and called myself a freelance illustrator. I was so determined to make it work, so I just kept at it until it did. That was two and a half years ago and I haven’t looked back.
Your artistic style is very unique. Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a clash of a lot of different pop culture aesthetic influences, namely from the 1990’s: music videos, comics and artists like Roy Lichtenstein and Yayoi Kusama. I’m inspired by cleverness and cheekiness and work that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
When did your love of Disney begin?
Disney films are synonymous with my childhood. As a kid, I loved Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs so much I could sing the whole orchestral score. My favorite toy was a light up sword I got at Disney on Ice’s Beauty and the Beast. It was super cool.
What is it about the relationship between Anna and Elsa that inspired you?
I was inspired by the strength of their relationship, and the idea of solidarity between sisters whether it’s between your family, your friends, or all of women!
What visual elements from the Frozen film informed your design?
I enjoyed picking apart recognizable elements from the film and re-purposing them in my compositions, such as Olaf’s carrot nose, Anna and Elsa’s shoes, trees from the landscape scenery, and so on. I love choosing color palettes, so going through the film and picking out colors was an important early part of the process.
Do you have a sister? Or a super-close girlfriend? What makes the relationship between ‘sisters’ special?
I have a sister who is two years older than me and in our case, it’s the uncanny ability that only sisters possess to communicate complex thoughts and ideas through nothing but a quick glance across the dinner table.
How do you plan to celebrate Sisters’ Day?
My sister and I live in different cities, so I think it’s a very good excuse for a long phone call!
What advice would you give to other artists looking to get their work out there?
Throw yourself into it, work on it until you have something that feels like it’s truly yours, share it relentlessly and be proud of it!
Share your favorite @EllenPorteus illustration and tell us your Sisters’ Day plans using #Frozen and #SistersDay!