Written by Jessi Cole
Ellie McGinnis, Washington native and Kentucky resident, has been drawing wildlife since she was a young child entering art contests at 4H shows, where she also showed her bunnies.
Her dream was to be involved with animals in some way, so she began to pursue her dream of becoming an artist in the outdoor scene. She just wasn’t sure how to translate it into a business yet.
She’s always been outdoors. Her family were big hikers, and she grew up right next to an apple orchard in true Washington state fashion. Therefore, when she went duck hunting for the first time with her husband after moving to Kentucky, she was primed and ready to get hooked. But, actually, turkey hunting is what really sold her on the obsession of the world of hunting. She says,
“That was when I knew hunting is amazing and that I’m going to enjoy this for the rest of my life.”
The spring turkey is what really drives and motivates her; in fact, it’s the most difficult yet rewarding animal she illustrates. (Ducks are her favorite to draw—she finds them “quirky.”)
So, her new obsession and love of the sport began to translate into her artwork. It was a natural progression for her; she says on wildlife artists:
“I can speak for every artist—you’re most drawn to creating things you’re passionate about. Once I started hunting, everything shifted for me. It’s the inspiration for anything I do now.”
However, as she began attending shows and exploring the outdoor industry, she noticed a huge gap in women and children’s casual apparel. She was disappointed in the lack of “girl stuff.” She says, “everything was sort of rhinestone or pink—it just wasn’t my style.”
Ellie set out to close that gap for women representation in the hunting world. She knew her drawings would appeal to women and children in a way that other sellers weren’t reaching. She wanted to create something that catered to women and their love of the outdoors, too.
She believes that by exposing more women to hunting and allowing a connection that introduces women hunters to each other, we can help grow the number of outdoorswomen.
She says, “All the women I have met in the outdoor industry have been awesome. It’s an instant, automatic friendship because you have something in common already. It’s like a secret club that’s not really a secret.”
She used her money from breeding Mini Plush Lop bunnies to put herself through college and to eventually start her business, Ellie McGinnis Co. Starting a business was bold, and it was daunting, but it was a risk she was willing to take to fill the need she saw for more women and children’s hunting apparel.
Ellie works with graphite and paper, then finishes her drawings in Photoshop and Illustrator. Her drawings are fun, colorful, and indicative of a simple and passionate love for all wildlife and critters. The drawings range from doves sitting on a bent sunflower to a beloved Labrador picking up a shed found in the woods, and everything in between.
When Mossy Oak approached her about a partnership and creating an exclusive line of Ellie McGinnis youth tees, she was “flattered and honored.”
She knew this would be a huge push of momentum for her company. She says,
“Mossy Oak is to hunting as NASA is to space. Everybody knows who Mossy Oak is.”
The new line of Mossy Oak x Ellie McGinnis children’s tees, featuring a pointer, a sleeping fawn, a largemouth bass, a gobbling turkey, and more, launches in Spring of 2021, just in time for Easter.
And so, Ellie, Kentucky resident and cattle farm owner, has created a successful business doing what she loves most—drawing animals and wildlife. She says, “most of the time I’m just a cow mom.”
Mossy Oak is proud to partner with Ellie McGinnis. Check out her line of tees here.