An artist with a Sri Lankan connection is making waves with her wildlife-inspired illustrations.
Amelia Ilangaratne, of Boxmoor, has taken her talents into the world of work after graduating from the University of Leeds last year with a first-class degree in art and design.
Not only does she now follow her passion for a living – drawing to commissions for a Chinese-based art company – she is also developing her own business selling her unique and beautifully-detailed work online.
Amelia’s delicate animal-themed illustrations are painstakingly created using pen, ink and watercolour.
The 23 year old, who is of Sri Lankan origin but has lived in Hemel Hempstead for most of her life, says she feels ‘very lucky’ to have carved out a career using her art.
She said: “It’s quite a niche job and there aren’t many opportunities in this world to get a full-time job as an artist.”
In fact, Amelia only ended up taking drawing seriously relatively late in her academic studies.
She had previously worked mainly on paintings and screen prints, but discovered her talents for sketching incredibly lifelike animals – each with a surreal addition such as balloon strings or carousel poles – while on a work placement during her year in industry from university.
Without that epiphany, the former pupil of Boxmoor Primary School and Hemel Hempstead School believes she would never have got as far with her art.
Amelia said it is difficult to describe where she gets her inspiration for the unusual pieces, but explained: “I like to draw animals because you can really add personality – they can often be quite witty.
“I like especially to draw elephants – I think because I come from Sri Lanka originally and they are quite an important cultural symbol there.
“I love animals and I think I was inspired by them on my holidays there as a child – it started from there and elephants are my main interest.
“They were part of growing up for me.”
Her current job sees her lovingly-crafted illustrations exhibited and displayed in hotels and restaurants around the world.
Additionally, she has illustrated a feature in women’s magazine Company andcreated a print used in a handbag range in Topshop.
But Amelia has also used her talents for the greater good.
Having donated an original drawing to the town’s Asda in exchange for a donation to homegrown charity Hope For Children, and more recently providing the artwork for the charity’s photography exhibition taking place from tomorrow (see page 20 for more.)
She now hopes to develop her own identity as an artist and sell her animal-themed drawings as original works, prints and even a product line featuring cushions and tote bags.
Her work has already been exhibited at Gallery Munro House in Leeds and the Peter Ingram Gallery in Aplsey.
Several stores, including the Boxmoor Framing Gallery, also carry some of her art as stock.
She said: “I definitely want to stay in this industry and grow my own business – I work on it in the evenings and weekends.
“For the future I would love to start having more stock in various galleries.
“I would also love to start selling some of my bigger pieces – that would be the dream, just to grow it as much as I can.”
For more about Amelia’s work and to buy her original drawings or Giclée prints, visit www.ameliaillustration.co.uk. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org