How I Got My Job: We Meet Illustrator Nelle Who Counts The Entire Kardashian Clan As Personal Fans

We chat to Ellen McCann AKA Nelle, who fills us in on working up that celebrity fanbase.

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Name:  Ellen McCann AKA Nelle.

Age: 27

Instagram: @nelle1717

Tell us about what you do?

I’m a digital artist living in Galway City. I work long hours, on average 50 – 80 hours a week. I also work part time at a web design company called After school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life so instead of doing nothing I did a PLC (post leaving cert) course in Art and Design in Moate Business College.

What did you study?

After the PLC course I decided to study art and design in Galway city which I dropped in and out of for personal reasons. During that time, I didn’t create any artwork and was feeling very fed up, anxious and depressed. One night I was looking through my Instagram and happened to come across some digital art. I was intrigued and began experimenting by drawing celebrities. I shared them on social media and immediately I got celebrity recognition from Chrissy Teigen. I knew I was on to something.

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What’s your essential kit?

I use a digital drawing pad and pen which transfers onto a screen. From that I use photoshop or illustrator to create my pieces. I always like to have a sketchbook close by to jot down ideas.

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Are you born artistic or can it be learnt?

Anyone can be artistic. Some people are naturally creative but I think it’s because we view things differently to others. I think anyone can achieve anything by changing the way they view things and having more self belief.

When did you know you were going to be a success?

After gaining the attention from celebrities and brands, I started to think that maybe I could be successful. What did I have to lose? There’s so much pressure on people to have degrees and qualifications these days but college isn’t for everyone and that’s okay.


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Tell us about your celebrity following

So since starting Nelle Illustrations a little over a year ago, I’ve received quite a bit of celebrity attention some of which includes Chrissy Teigen, Lancome, Maybelline, Atsuko Kudo, Alaia, Robert Cavalli, Lily Collins, Jennifer Lopez, Khloe Kardashian, Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian to name a few.

What made you draw the Kardashians?

You can’t help but get sucked into the Kardashian/Jenner world. Personally I’m all for successful women in business, equality is important to me. I find celebrity culture fascinating but I’m hugely interested in the fashion and beauty industry too.

What happened when The Kardashians saw your work?

The Kardashians have noticed, commented and re-shared my work on a few occasions and each time I’ve been delighted. I have good and bad days like everyone and when I get recognition on the bad days it gives me that extra push to pick myself back up and continue doing what I love. I’ve been battling anxiety all my life but the art definitely helps. I work extremely hard and give 150% to everything I do, it’s nice when people recognise that.


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Are you responsible for the  illustrations on Kim K’s website?

I got an email one night off someone saying she was contacting me on behalf of Kim Kardashian. She told me that Kim Kardashian loves my illustrations and wanted to know if she could use them on her website and app. Firstly I thought it was a joke but after a little research I realised it was real. So I of course I said yes! About two or three weeks later, five or six of my illustrations were featured on the homepage of Kim’s website. It was surreal.

That’s amazing! What’s your favourite drawing ever?

One of my favourites has to be my half-finished portrait of Chrissy Teigen, which I’ll finish one day. That’s where it all started for me, and it’s a nice reminder. I’m also quite proud of my Kardashian/Jenner Yeezy illustrations.

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Is it only celebs that you draw or would you draw us too?!

Celebrity culture, fashion and beauty are my main focus but I’m interested in people from all walks of life. I’m often commissioned to create portraits for people. So yes, of course I would draw you too!

Excellent, where would you like to see Nelle Illustrations in five years time?

I would hope to be involved in the fashion and beauty industry so I’m going to continue working hard and hopefully get that little bit closer to my goals each day. On a final note , I’d like to say to anyone that’s trying to make it, cut out the negative people and distractions in your life. It’s just not worth it. Start thinking more positively about what you want. My motto is do what makes you happy and do it today.

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