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Photographed by Paige Jones
Mother Stories

The Bookshelf: Inside the Dreamy Portland Studio of Carson Ellis

Written by Erin Feher

Photography by Paige Jones

If you’ve ever gotten lost in the whimsical world of illustrator Carson Ellis (her books, including Home, Du Iz Tak?, and The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, conjure up both a homespun nostalgia and an age-appropriate melancholy), you may not be surprised to learn that the artist lives on a endearingly ramshackle farm on the outskirts of Portland with her two sons and her indie-rocker husband, Colin Meloy of the Decemberists. Oh, and lots of llamas. In addition to her catalog of a dozen children’s books, Carson is also the long-time illustrator-in-residence for the Decemberists, and received a Grammy nomination for the design of their 2015 LP, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World. She graciously gave us a tour of her beautiful studio space, and opened up about all aspects of her creative process, from how her stories materialize to how motherhood has impacted her work. Click through for the full tour below!

For more inspiration from the authors and illustrators behind some of your favorite children’s books, check out our previous “The Bookshelf” profiles on Christian Robinson,  Jon KlassenYuyi Morales, and Isabel Sanchez Vegara,

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  1. Jenna says...

    Carson this is so lovely, can you share where your studio chair is from? It looks awesome. Feel like my husband who is an architect probably needs that chair.

  2. Suzume says...

    You have a great smile! …And all those copies of “Wildwood” (and the other two books in the series) in various languages…! It seems like you’ve found a great place to live and work. ^^

  3. Dudley Mairs says...

    Hi Carson. I love your work. In particular the illustration you did for The New Yoker, July 29, 2019. Being a big Melville fan, I’m wondering if this illustration is for sale…either as a poster or artwork.
    Please let me know.

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