00 PEEK Ella Kovacs

Ella Kovacs: Painting a world of whimsy

What started as a hobby grew into a passion and small side business for Ella. 

The director of integrated production at the Toronto office has always been passionate about art, illustration and colour. She’s constantly fascinated by the role that colour plays in our everyday life and is “deeply obsessed,” as she puts it, with the way certain colour combinations can communicate feelings and evoke emotions. 

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Ella started painting when she was five years old. Her father, an illustrator, painted a mural on her bedroom wall that she would stare at endlessly. It inspired her to learn some basic illustration skills that grew into her love of acrylic painting today.

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When a work charity event encouraged employees to donate something of their own creation, Ella submitted a painting of a pineapple wearing sunglasses that said “You’re awesome.” The offbeat illustration was a hit, and a friend suggested she turn it into a greeting card. With the support of more friends, Ella was able to take photos of her creations and launch an online store. That’s how Ella’s Cards was born.

The small business is an outlet for Ella to channel her creativity and entrepreneurial spirit into something she can share with others. Each card features a quirky, original acrylic painting by Ella herself. Her work is whimsical and playful, featuring bright illustrations of animals and objects to celebrate all kinds of occasions.

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But Ella would never call herself a maximalist. For her, it’s all about letting those colours truly shine by using white space to ensure the illustration gets the spotlight it deserves. Each card is designed like a small art print with a short, sincere message. It’s a style that still leaves room for the imagination and has resonated well with her customers.

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Orders for Ella’s Cards kept her busy enough that she considered taking her business full-time, but the pandemic, the birth of her first daughter and her love of production led her to step back. While her style has evolved over the years and she spends less time at craft shows and markets these days, her passion for painting hasn’t faded in the least. In her free time, you can find her seeking inspiration out in the colourful world or tinkering with Procreate in the comfort of her family’s home. Making art for those she cares about remains her first passion and priority.

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Ella gets a good amount of custom orders for everything from milestone birthday cards to wedding invitations. But the piece she loves the most is a personal project: Juniper’s First Words, a mini board book about her daughter. It captures her daughter’s first words and how she specifically pronounced them, alongside Ella’s signature illustrations. Her daughter always recognizes the little portrait of their family inside the book, something that makes Ella most proud as an artist.

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She is now considering branching into children’s goods. She would love to turn her designs into patterns for kids clothing and home products. Like a true artist, she’ll experiment with it while on maternity leave with her second child. After all, there’s always something new to celebrate.

LG2 would like to thank La Cubana Ossington and the Midoco Art & Office Supplies at Bloor and Bathurst who generously welcomed us as part of the Peek series. Photographs courtesy of Florence Thouin.
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Ella Kovacs, Director of Integrated Production