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Life After Chelsea: Ellis van der Does – MA Graphic Design Communication


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Published date
13 August 2018

In the lead up to our 2018 MA Summer Show opening on 7 September, we’re catching up with some of our postgraduate alumni to find out what they have been up to since graduating.

Originally from The Netherlands, based in London, Ellis van der Does, 2015 MA Graphic Design Communication graduate talks to us about her experiences at Chelsea and how they have paved the path into her professional career.

What have you been working on since graduating?

I have been working on various editorial commissions, illustrated products, exhibitions, art markets and personal projects. I’ve been working with Vice UK, Cambridge University, Lenny Letter and The Atavist amongst others.

 How has your practice developed since graduating?

Since graduating from my MA at Chelsea I started to focus more on illustration again and made this the main focus of my practice. As I already had my BA in illustration I was comfortable doing so.

 What work/projects/exhibitions have you got coming up?

I just started working on a children’s book with a publisher and a writer, so that’s great fun. I also have new work on show at the illustration festival “36 Mountains” in Zagreb. Additionally, I’m working on two editorial projects.

How did your time at Chelsea push your practice? Did it challenge your ways in thinking in anyway?

At Chelsea we were working on a couple of projects over a long period of time. It’s interesting to have that experience as your challenged to be self-disciplined and keep pushing your ideas. Also it gives you time to experiment, which is nice.

What projects did you collaborate on whilst at Chelsea and with whom? Did this lead to any further projects?

I met Fine Art student Molly Rose Butt who was a Wimbledon College of Arts student at the time. We met at a Postgraduate Community event, we stayed in touch and will do a residency together later this month.

What was unique about studying at Chelsea College of Arts?

Such a big variety in people, ideas and outputs.

 What was the most valuable thing you learned on the course?

To believe in my own ideas!

In what ways did the summer shows enhance your practice? Did they lead to any new opportunities?

It’s a good way to showcase your work, but it’s important to look and push for opportunities yourself afterwards.

What advice would you give to our graduating students?

Just have fun. Document your work nicely (use the photography studios and other available facilities) Listen to advice, but also follow your own voice and personal taste.

Describe your time at Chelsea in 3 words

Passed by quickly!

See more work on Ellis’s website and Instagram

Explore work by more students at

Find out more about this year’s MA Summer Show open 7 – 13 September.