The work of Camberwell graduate Ella Webb is enchanting in its nostalgia. Her intricate drawings of landscape diagrams are reminiscent of geography lessons. However, the designer’s work is filled with gems of details, elevating the illustrations to be far more interesting than they were during your GSCEs.
Ella’s series Diagram stems from the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami that affected Japan. “I spent the rest of the week watching the live feed,” Ella explains. “I was struck by the magnitude of the chaos, it reinvigorated my fascination with tectonic activity.” Geography, and more specifically volcanos, have always had an enchanting quality to Ella. “I had always wanted to be volcanologist since I was quite young, I was fascinated by the idea that the Earth’s geological activity, great forces in conflict, had shaped our earth. Its presence is quiet, yet from time to time, it sends us a gentle reminder of the movement beneath our feet.”
Ella’s layered line drawings examine sediments, rocks and volcanos, which are captivating in their minimal black lines filled with charming colour choices. Her style developed from “a number of documentaries from the 70s and 80s”, and in particular, The Volcano Watchers from 1987. "Much of the events were recorded using film, photography and illustrated diagrams. I think in some way I’m attempting to make myself into a caricature of the key figures who’ve been present since my childhood.”
The designer is also very active in finding inspiration and researching her pieces. “I spend a lot of my time hiking,” she says. “I also take a lot of film photographs when I go hiking, which I use later in my work. I’ve recently started to collect old 35mm slides, scanning them in and using the images with my illustrations. My main mediums are “0.5 Staedtler pigment liners, 2H pencils, and either gouache or coloured digitally in photoshop.”
Since graduating earlier this year Ella is looking to continue her geographical drawings by joining an agency in the future. “It would be great to begin working closely with scientists to depict meteorological and geographical events and broaden my understanding of the natural world.”
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.