Carson Ellis was born in 1975 in Vancouver, Canada. She was raised in suburban New York and college-educated at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she earned a BFA in Painting in 1998.
She has been a nanny, a hot dog vendor, a chairlift operator, an artist's model, and a cocktail waitress, among other things. These days she is happy to be solidly an illustrator, providing art for bestselling books, such as The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart and The Composer Is Dead by Lemony Snicket. Additionally, she is the illustrator-in-residence for the band, The Decemberists, and has created art for their album covers, t-shirts, websites, posters, and stage sets.
Carson lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband, son, and cat.