Four Year Business Anniversary

02 Jul 2020


Elly Jahnz's four year business anniversary


Time to blow my own trumpet. Today is my 4-year business anniversary. I've been a freelance illustrator for FOUR years! That's incredible and I can’t quite believe it. In these uncertain times I'm going to take a moment to reflect on the positive things that have happened since freelancing. When I quit my design job of seven years, I didn't have a business plan beyond "be a freelance illustrator" (in hindsight, I’d probably recommend a little strategic thinking first). I told myself that I'd start freelancing on the 1st of July. That day, the phone rang and it was an old colleague who'd moved away who needed some work doing as their designer was off sick and they had a deadline looming. (Thanks JB if you're reading this!). Since then, I've been fortunate to work for clients across the UK and Europe. Some of the things I’ve done are:

And lots of other projects, big and small. I want to take a moment to say a big Thank You to every client who has offered me work over the past four years and for all the people who have supported my little business along the way. You know who you are. It's been great working with you all.


From a poster for Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club by Elly Jahnz


Freelancing hasn’t always been a bed of roses, and I don’t wish to portray it as such. There have been quiet times, uncertain times, times where schedules clash and projects move and suddenly you have to work ten-hour days seven days a week to shift the work but thankfully, they have always been balanced by good periods and successes large and small. I’m grateful for the freedom that this way of working brings, of having the freedom to work on a range of projects, to set my office hours, to make sure I have enough time for my hobbies and see my friends. I was worried that it would be a lonely existence sat away in my attic working but it’s far from that.

I know I've got loads more to learn and loads more I want to accomplish. Since my ‘leap of faith’ start as a freelancer I’ve become a lot better at business development and planning. I’ve found that I need a solid plan and schedule to achieve things. Taking regular days to sit back and plan for the future (whether that is career aspirations, finance, business systems etc) is so valuable.

So, I'm going to eat some cake, put on a party hat and dance around my office for a bit because while I look to the future quite often, I don't often take the time to reflect on the past, so now, after four years, is a good a time as any.

Thank you! 


Celebrate, a scene from Nature Month by Month, written by Anna Wilson and published by Nosy Crow by Elly Jahnz

Charity T-Shirts for Ivy x Little Village

05 Jun 2020


I recently teamed up with clothing brand Ivy to create a couple of embroidered t-shirts inspired by the recent lockdown. A percentage of the sales will be donated to the wonderful charity Little Village, a London-based charity that acts like a foodbank, but for toys, clothes & kit for babies and children up to the age of five. The charity focuses on helping families that are dealing with challenging circumstances such as homelessness, unemployment, low wages & domestic violence.


Little Village also do fantastic work raising awareness about child poverty – 1 in 3 pre-school children are now living in poverty. 95 thousand children in London are living in persistent poverty and 4.2 million children are living this way in the UK overall. 72% of these are from working households. It is these families who are going to be hardest hit by the Coronavirus pandemic, and the children involved are likely to be profoundly affected socially, emotionally and financially. During the pandemic, Little Village has seen a 66% rise in demand for its services between mid-March and mid-April. 


Bluebell tee for Ivy x Little Village

Bluebell illustration for Ivy x Little Village by Elly Jahnz


I worked closely with Sally, owner and creative director of Ivy on these designs. The bluebell tee was inspired by the beauty of nature springing into life as we went into lockdown. The quarantine coincided with spring and the bluebells were everywhere in the woods. We chose the bluebell as a symbol of slowing down, noticing the world around you and connecting with nature.


One Day at a time tee for Ivy x Little Village by Elly Jahnz

Hand drawn text for Ivy x Little Village charity tee


The second design was to remind us all that this won’t be for ever and that slowly, surely, things will get back to (hopefully a better version of) normal. 


Ivy will be donating 15% of all sales to Little Village. See the range here.


To learn more about Little Village you can watch a short video about them here.


If you would like to donate to Little Village directly, you can do so at their Just Giving page, and you can follow them on Instagram @LittleVillageHQ


New Kids' t-shirt designs for Joules Clothing

27 May 2020


Joules clothing have released some more of the t-shirts I designed for them back in 2018 as part of their SS20 kidswear collection. It’s so great to see the final product and how their artworking team have made the designs come alive. As I used to work for a large fashion brand, I know all the meetings, reviews, sign-offs and amends products have to go through before they make it on to the shelves so it’s so gratifying to see some of my designs make it through the whole way.


Crab chomp applique designed by Elly Jahnz for Joules Clothing


Crab print designed for Joules Clothing by Elly Jahnz

Got to love a stripey t-shirt. 


Crab chomp design by Elly Jahnz for Joules Clothing

I love this little crab, although I don’t approve of his junk food diet…. These interactive prints are so much fun.


Surfing Dinosaur Illustration by Elly Jahnz for Joules


Surfing Dinosaur Print by Elly Jahnz for Joules

And this guy, well, I think he may be my finest illustration yet. Dinosaur, check. Surfing, check. Japanese influenced Hokusai-style giant wave, check. That ticks all my criteria for a successful illustration. And applique too! The print is so tactile. My only regret is they don’t sell these in adult sizes….

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