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Pastel, Charcoal, and Carbon Pencil Art by Ellen Cornett

A drawing of human figures and birds with moments of bright orangeWhat a Beautiful Bird am I, carbon pencil and coloured pencil

Ellen Cornett is an artist who works in pastel, charcoal, and carbon pencil. Based in Maryland, the artist’s current body of work is largely focused on personal interpretations of stories and fairytales.

A graphite drawing of highly detailed animalsThe Elephant's Child, carbon pencil


I really enjoy the way that Ellen combines photo-realistic detail with compositions that lean into the absurd. In series like Just So Stories, the artist creates layered images with drawings of people, objects, and animals that intersect in a fashion reminiscent of collage. The images in this series each tell a story through a series of disjointed visual details, and the negative space between allows for variance in viewer interpretation.   

A screen capture of Ellen Cornett's art


While the majority of Ellen’s current drawing projects are in greyscale, the artist is equally adept at using colour, as seen in her pastel drawings. The works in this series have a more distinctly illustrative feeling to them, and the dense detail and backgrounds afforded by Ellen’s painterly use of the medium lend to an overall sense of intrigue.

A pastel drawing of a surreal sceneThe Hare's Bride, pastel

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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