Meet Jenny Elliott, illustrator, urban designer and landscape Architect from Edinburgh

Meet Jenny Elliott, illustrator, urban designer and landscape Architect from Edinburgh

Introduce us to you and your brand!

Hi! I'm Jenny - a multi-disciplinary Designer and Illustrator based in Edinburgh. Trained as an Urban Designer and Landscape Architect, I am inspired by the built environment - making illustrations of local Edinburgh streets, parks and cityscapes - all those special local places that are great to explore and bring the city to life. These are available as art prints and cards - all printed on recycled paper and card and packaged using biodegradable materials. I also accept bespoke design and illustration commissions.

How has your brand/work developed since you began?

I have always used illustration, drawing, photography and film in my urban design work to communicate and share projects with people in an engaging way, but in recent years have really enjoyed further developing my drawing and illustration of local Edinburgh places - selling these as art prints and cards through my online shop, Etsy and SDX. For years, I mainly worked on drawings in pen and ink, with digital design tools like Adobe Creative Suite reserved for my urban design work. Recently, however, I am a complete Procreate convert for illustration! I use this on my iPad Pro, and am really enjoying exploring this as an alternative way of working that is quickly becoming my go-to. Though nothing can beat a bit of messy creating with pen, ink and paint sometimes too!

What are your main inspirations?

I feel very lucky to live in Edinburgh - a city that constantly inspires me. I love going for a walk, sketchbook or iPad in hand, and finding everyday scenes - from the public spaces and high streets lined with stone facades, to more hidden gems - like windy cobbled lanes and nooks of Edinburgh's historic built environment to draw. There are also some fantastic vistas across the rooftops toward the sea or Arthur's Seat, from Inverleith Park, Carlton Hill and Bruntsfield Links which are stunning and give a real sense of scale and character, as well as some phenomenal architecture in all shapes and sizes.

What do you consider to be your most popular product? Why do you think it resonates with people?

My illustration art prints and cards of the Meadows looking toward Edinburgh castle and the city skyline are a firm favourite - I think perhaps it's the spring and summery colours and that this view is a local favourite! I also created a children's illustrated animal alphabet which is available as an A1 poster or book including animal facts which has been popular too. Who doesn't want to know that a group of zebras is called a dazzle?!

What piece are you the proudest of?

My personal favourite illustration (available as an art print or greetings card) is of Bruntsfield Place - I used a complementary colour palette of blues and oranges and wanted to catch the daily life of this bustling street, the beautiful architecture and the people walking along it.

What would you consider to be the most challenging aspect about being a working artist/designer?

Currently, my biggest challenge is choosing which local place to illustrate next! I have a long list of incredible spots around Edinburgh and beyond that I'd like to capture. Feel free to get in touch and let me know if you have a favourite!
Besides that, as someone who both practises as an Urban Designer, freelances with various design commissions, is doing a PhD about public space, and also creates illustrated prints and cards for sale via my online shop and SDX, finding a balance between these different types of work is probably my biggest challenge.

Do you have any past accomplishments you wish to share?

I am really thrilled to have recently won a number of awards for my urban design work - which often focuses on the same types of public spaces and streets I illustrate and draw. I see both illustration and drawing, and urban design and research, as complementary ways to understand, communicate and share these everyday streets, built environment and local places in the city.

How did you find out about SDX? And what made you apply to sell with us?

SDX has a fantastic ethos and reputation - I had heard such great things from other artists and designers, and been inspired by Lynzi Leroy's fantastic vision and drive when we had met previously. SDX provides a fantastic alternative model for retail, that opens up opportunities for artists and makers whilst providing customers with access to high quality, locally created products.

What have you found to be the most challenging aspect to your business since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020?

The last couple of years have provided a good opportunity to reflect, to try new things and to rethink and test out new ways of working, designing, and living. I've enjoyed furthering my illustration and graphic design skills, working with new clients and organisations, and even opening an online shop and testing the water in SDX, alongside my urban design and research work.

What do you hope to gain from working with SDX moving forward?

SDX provides a community of fantastic artists and makers that I am enjoying being a part of. It's great to have shelf as part of their high street shop on George Street in Edinburgh - a location and physical shop space I would otherwise not have an opportunity to test out my products in.

If you could share just one piece of advice to aspiring artists/designers who want to make a living from their creative talents, what would you tell them?

Make what you love. Find the right market who will love it too. Ask for feedback - lots of it - it will help you understand where these two things overlap, as well as help you improve as an artist. Don't be afraid to try things - even if it goes wrong you'll learn a lot and it will help point you toward something that will work better. Know your worth - don't undersell your time and talent.

And finally, help share some motivation with your favourite inspirational advise or quote!

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." -- Maya Angelou

Thank you to Jenny for participating in our Featured Maker Blog, you can find her work in our Edinburgh, George Street shop

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