This week, we chose 19-year-old artist Ruth Elliot (@ruthssketchbook) as our latest #COTW. Based between Cockermouth and Edinburgh, Ruth is a Politics and German student at the University of Edinburgh.
Using Etsy to sell her work, Ruth mainly uses the medium of watercolour to create vibrant and dreamy paintings that capture a range of subjects including landscapes, people, food, animals, places in the Lake district and more. She is also inspired by Taylor Swift, which has brought many Taylor Swift fans to her Instagram and Etsy alike, with her album tracklist sketches proving very popular.
In addition to her stunning work, she has a gorgeous Instagram feed. Ruth’s backdrops change with the seasons and we’re a little obsessed with this unique way of showcasing artwork.
In our catch up with Ruth, we chatted Taylor Swift, the Lake District as Inspiration and Instagram as a place for developing motivation…
Tell us about your personal history with art
I’ve pretty much been drawing and making since as long as I can remember, but it wasn’t till I was about 12 that I set up my Instagram account “Ruth’s Sketchbook” and started posting my drawings. To begin with that was mostly film characters, pictures of friends, and nature. It grew much more than I’d expected and seeing other people’s work on Instagram kept pushing me to try new things. During lockdown last year I decided to start an Etsy shop, which has worked out well!
What place does art have within your life?
Whilst I do sell my work, I’m always glad that I don’t rely on it as a full-time job: for me, I need the time to enjoy what I’m doing and create work that I’m happy with myself - not just what sells.
Living so close to the Lake District is obviously a huge source of inspiration - it's pretty much endless! I particularly like including water in some way, there’s just something about it I find really fascinating. More broadly though, I find almost everything is paintable; my camera roll is full of pictures and screenshots of things I was going to paint and never got round to. Streetscapes, travel photos, people, clouds, old buildings...
What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
Watercolour for sure! It’s what I’ve practiced with most so I'm most confident with controlling it, and I just love the vibrancy of it. I also really like that intentionally messy style which watercolour is perfect for! That being said, I have been using acrylics more recently and they’re growing on me...
We noticed that you are particularly inspired by Taylor Swift, could you tell us more about this?
When I was 13, Taylor Swift was my favourite artist. Since then, I began to grow out of her music, but then she released the albums Folklore and Evermore which I found lyrically very inspiring, and I began creating more work based on that. It also led me on a bit of a trip down memory lane with her earlier music which was nice. I also seem to have attracted a large number of Taylor Swift fans to my Instagram account!
What future plans do you have for yourself and your art?
For now, I’m quite happy with where I’m at with Etsy, because it balances really well with my studies. In terms of my own development, I’m always trying to improve my style and I really want to practice my portraits since I’ve been painting landscapes for so long! A couple of projects that I’d really like to complete for my Etsy shop are cards with the lakes on them like my Wainwrights ones and to make more original pieces available.
All Images used belong to @ruthssketchbook.