On 2 March 2018, Ella Masters’ brother Saul took his own life – a traumatic and painful time for Ella and just three years after her mother’s death.
To help navigate the grieving process, the London illustrator turned to her sketchbook to reflect, heal and motivate herself through a difficult emotional time and in her own words, "find the beauty in death". She began a mindful sketch-a-day for a whole year, sharing her artworks online.
As part of this year's Mental Health Awareness Week, Ella will be showcasing a selection of sketches from her #ella365project during an exhibition at We Built This City on London's Carnaby Street. Her sketches will also be available to buy as prints and postcards with a percentage of sales donated to CALM charity.
"Saul’s suicide was out of the blue and unbelievably traumatic," Ella tells Creative Boom. "For me, art has always been my comfort, something I turn to at times of struggle. In the days after I lost my brother, I took myself off to the art shop and bought a cheap A6 sketchbook and a pack of Posca pens. My idea was to draw one page of illustration a day in this sketchbook and give myself at least an hour a day to switch off to concentrate on myself."
Ella adds: "My brother wasn’t just my brother, he was an incredible writer, a supporter of my work, someone with endless potential, he was creative and kind and his death felt like a terrible waste. Rather than spend my time being angry I wanted to take myself away and fill my time with something that was going to help me create space for my grief. I’m so happy now that the project has also offered so much hope to others too."
The #ella365project exhibition by Ella Masters launches today at We Built This City on London's Carnaby Street and runs until 27 May 2019. You can also show Ella your support by following her on Instagram.