Artsycraftsy interview: Ella Lama

I was able to meet Ella through my good friend Geli and am so grateful our paths crossed this lifetime. Thank you Geli for introducing me to your “sister” Ella haha. I admire her work ethics and her creativity and she’s one of the people I look up to when it comes to marketing one’s services and products. Her playful and colorful designs always makes me smile as well!

Check out her lovely works below:

I felt very honored when she included my desk (well, a cleaner and neater version of it haha) in her #100days100desks project in instagram! I love that it had milk tea and my book tower in the artwork haha.


1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your art/craft.
– My name is Ella and I like drawing things. I started illustrating letters in 2012 and now I’ve expanded my drawing interests to include wildlife and everyday objects (I don’t have the guts to draw people yet!). I also have my own line of paper goods (with fabric products  coming soon!) which I sell at art fairs and at Common Room.

2. What are your favorite tools in creating art and why do you love them?
– I can live with a pencil, a brush pen (Zebra super fine tip), a sketch pad and tracing paper. I am having a digital phase right now, so all of my drawings are black and white and then I color them on the computer. When I do go analog I like playing with markers and more recently, gouache.

3. Can you tell us about your daily routine or your artistic process?
– I usually start my day with admin work so I don’t have to think about them anymore: replying to emails, paying taxes, making deliveries, etc. Then I do client work or if I don’t have any pending commissions I work on designing and prototyping stuff for my line. I finish the day by working on personal projects.

I work pretty long hours (from 10am to 2am sometimes) with multiple breaks in between. I also find that I take direction better in the morning so I choose to work on client commissions then.

4. What inspires you? What makes you excited?
– A lot of things! Nature, travel, milk tea, cute and fluffy animals, candy, books, product packaging, Japanese culture, sweets, basically anything! I always take notes of things that I find interesting and whenever I feel stuck I go over my notes to get ideas.

5. Who are the local and foreign artists you admire the most?
– Locally I admire Risa Rodil for her color sense, Kat Santos for her passion for learning and improving, Drea Dela Cruz and Denver Garza for their willingness to try new things, Cynthia Arre for her adaptability, Roma and Maan Agsalud for their work ethic, and Marcella Suller for her distinct drawing style. I also am inspired by (though not stylistically) Valerie Chua, Alexandra Paredes, Fran Alvarez, John Ed De Vera, Leigh Reyes, among many others.

I have an equally long list of foreign artists that have influenced me in my journey as an artist: Anna Bond, Lauren Hom, Jessica Hische, Mary Kate McDevitt, Katie Daisy, Julia Rothman, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Aiko Fukawa, Toshiyuki Fukuda, Bodil Jane, Mike Lowery, Helen Dardik, and many, many, many more.

6. Most inspiring place in the Philippines?
– Whenever I go to Baguio (or anywhere high in altitude) I feel relaxed and inspired. My friend, a meditation teacher, says it may have something to do with literally elevating my energy to meet the energy of the cosmos or something like that. I like to think in simpler terms: that I function better in cool weather.

Whenever I feel the need to ward off self-doubt or an impending creative block, I go to UP Diliman. I went there for college and it has taught me a lot about humility and hard work.

7. If you were stuck in an island and could only bring one art/craft tool with you, what would it be and why?
– I may be overthinking this, but I’d bring a camera with me, so I can make art out of materials in the island and digitize that with the camera. (What happens after the battery is drained? I haven’t considered that!)

8. Favorite snack/s while creating art?
Milk tea!!!!!

9. Earliest childhood memory related to arts/crafts?
– When I was in grade 4 I made dresses for my paper dolls (the selections that came with the package were too limited!). I liked drawing clothes so much that I made a coloring book featuring a girl named “Kate” for my younger sister.

10. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
– An astronaut! And then I got into journalism and wanted to become a writer. Then in high school my dreams became really vague: I just wanted to be filthy rich!!! To make the long story short, when I was a kid I didn’t dream of being an artist hahaha

11. What’s your current job now?
My official job title is “Punong Abala” in my own small creative business.

12. Favorite books and/or movies?
My recent favorites include Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, If on a winter’s night a traveller by Italo Calvino, The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.

I don’t watch a lot of movies but my interests vary greatly from Inception to Begin Again to Spirited Away to Paddington.

13. What is your philosophy when creating/making art?
– “The outcome does not matter.” I’ve got this from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic. As someone who is making a living through art, sometimes I get too conscious about and let the market decide what I make. I constantly need to remind myself that the act of creating is what’s important, and eventually my work will find a market for itself.

BONUS question:
The Universe starts from scratch and you’re given the chance to be reincarnated as a famous artist. Which artist would you choose and why?
–  If I have the chance to be reincarnated as someone else, I’d probably choose to live as Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. I have so much love for print that I cannot imagine my life without paper and ink. He may not be an artist technically but the technology he introduced to the world enabled a lot of people to express their thoughts and to reach a wider audience.

Where can we see your awesome work?
– I am on Instagram (@ella_lama) and on Facebook ( I also (irregularly) talk about my work and process on my website (

My merch is sold in art fairs, at Common Room in Katipunan and Rockwell, Buku-buku Cafe in Las Piñas, and soon at The Craft Central in Greenbelt.

What are you working on right now?
– I am working on new items for the holidays and my new 100-day project, #100days100desks.

(Note: Ella and @hueandai started a color challenge called #colorexploration in instagram too! I joined them and so can you–just check out @colorexploration or #colorexploration)

All images are from

Thanks, Ella! 🙂


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