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Drawing Big Personalities with @joeyellis

For more imaginative character studies from Joey, follow @joeyellis on Instagram.

For Joey Ellis (@joeyellis), drawing is a study of relationships. “You can’t treat your younger sister the way you treat your grandma. They are at totally different stages of life. Drawing characters is similar,” says the Charlotte, North Carolina-based illustrator. Joey’s work is filled with bold, off-the-wall personality — from dragons in business suits to robot musicians.

“I love creating things that look one way, then different when you see them in a whole different world,” he says. “Things that are out of context, being used by someone else out in the wild. To me, that’s very gratifying.”

While experimenting with mismatched environments is important to his character work, the thing that weaves all of Joey’s projects together is something more simple: fun.

“I think everyone has the same problems. Everybody carries around heavy, sad things throughout their life — everybody — and it’s possible to handle it in a positive and silly way,” he says. “Life is short.”

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