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Ellen Morris

Photo of Ellen

Ellen Morris
Class of 2014
Art Major and Communication Studies Minor

Seizing the moment – that’s what Ellen Morris did when she submitted some of her artwork to Blue Ridge Publishing LLC.

The result – a contract to provide artwork for nine book covers.

It all started when the publishing company contacted Bridgewater College asking if any students were interested in submitting work; BC’s art professors passed the information along, and Ellen submitted four pieces to the publishers.

They felt her work was just what they were looking for. A meeting between the three – Ellen, the author and the publisher – was set up and the contract was signed.

Black Crystal Book Cover

The fantasy series, the Black Scarlet Saga by R.A. Oakes, will include nine novels, two of which are now available, Black Crystal and Black Scarlet. The series is a story about independent, strong-willed warrior women striving to triumph over the forces of evil.

According to Ellen, the publishers were very specific in what they wanted for the covers. However, she was given freedom in how she pulled everything together.

One requirement was a fire in the background. She took photos of a fire that she had built, drew it in pen and scanned it into the computer. She was then able to use her own creativity in positioning a black stallion and a woman dressed in black leather with a red cape and sword.

“The books were a very big event for me,” said Ellen. “This project gave me so much confidence in who I am and what I want to do.”

As the cover artist, Ellen participated in a book signing with the author at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Va.

The books are available for purchase online at, and

Ellen has utilized her creative artistic talents in other ways at Bridgewater by helping her fellow classmates with projects.

For the past two years, Ellen has worked with the business department’s entrepreneurship class in preparing students for small business ownership.

The class divided into groups and each group was assigned a company that needed a marketing campaign or a new company design. In order to provide the artistic components the project required, Ellen joined one of the groups.

During the 2012 spring semester, Ellen assisted with designing a brochure, newsletter and mascot for the Northend Greenway, a 2.5-mile multi-use path in Harrisonburg, Va.

This project benefited Ellen as well as the group. Since Northend Greenway is brand new, it needed a lot of new materials.

“It is a really good experience to figure out how to give them a consistent design that can go well with different materials,” Ellen said.

Through these experiences, Ellen, who will graduate in May 2014, is developing a great resume and portfolio.