Nancy Ellis is part of SPINE Festival 2024, along with an incredible team of creatives they’ll be leading workshops and arts activities for children in Libraries and schools across London this Spring.

Spine 2024 AiRs

Describe yourself in 3 words…

No Frills



What inspires you?

Everyone with something genuinely meaningful to share or express, across all professions and platforms. 

Tell us about your worst ever gig?

Hmmmm…an illustration commission of a single building with a lot of similar windows, I’m very easily tired of repetitive drawing…! However it was also good at the end, when it was finished.. 

Every difficult challenge brings something to learn from, even if it was just the sheer relief that it is completed!

What’s your number one artist pet peeve?

Assumptions that your pictures are quick or easy for you to make, or that it is down to ‘talent’ and not ‘proper work‘. I can honestly say that it is not all whimsical illustration desks and birdsong, much of the process is a total struggle and a test of your motivation and perseverance.

Whose words do you love at the moment?

The Letters of Vincent Van Goch, (Penguin Classics edition). He was a brilliant writer, so much expressed so deeply from the heart, I highlighted so many lines.

For authors, I love Olivia Hawker’s writing, especially one for the blackbird one for the crow. 

What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t get bogged down in the detail so much, it is better to do and to share, than to do but hide it away… Believe!

How do you relate to the themes of magic & imagination?

When you’re struggling to bring a piece together, and then it starts to emerge before your eyes, when you’re about to throw in the towel, that feels like magic- the feeling of being happy with a piece of work and being able to move onto a new one.

Imagination for me is being able to put yourself in the mind and feeling of a character, whatever animate or inanimate thing that might be. For me it isn’t fantastical rockets or castles and so called made up or imaginary stuff. It’s very much imagining stories in real and everyday life.

What do you enjoy most about working with children, families and libraries?

Children are just brilliant. Children are so giving in their willingness to take part. It is incredible to see eyes light up when you give children the freedom to express themselves however they wish to do so through the magic of their own, unlimited imagination.

When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An animator or illustrator. Trust in your inner voice!

About Nancy Ellis

Nancy Ellis, has over 20 years industry experience, working as both an illustrator and animator, since attaining her BA at Camberwell College, London.

Nancy’s journey into producing animation for TV began with Catchphrase, (a popular UK TV show back in the day!), and was on hand at the recording studio to make last minute adjustments or create new animations during filming.

Then on to a West London production company, working for clients including the BBC, Nickelodeon & Fox Kids. Nancy’s position as Animation Director included developing concepts for pitches, designing characters, storyboarding, animating & leading animation teams through to final production.

After several happy years, Nancy began working for herself and teamed up with London based agencies to produce animations for major brands, always with an emphasis on character design and colourfully, illustrated backgrounds.

This led to opening her own animation studio, with Lee Ellis, and a long standing collaboration with the brilliant people at In Tune for Life, (a UK registered charity), providing short animated films to assist their global health campaigns.


About SPINE Festival 2024