Illustrator, pattern maker, and self-confessed crazy cat lady Ashley Le Quere shares with us her penchant for pens, punting and paint brushes…
1. What’s the first piece of art you can remember making?
I remember being in primary school, it was near Christmas, we were drawing cards to give to our mums and I had drawn an angel on the front of mine, she had no neck, her arms came straight out of the bottom of her head and her body was a triangle! So weird how you see things when you’re a kid!
2. Which book illustrations have stayed with you from childhood/influenced you?
I think the books that I remember most, that have definitely influenced the way I draw, would have to be Roald Dahl’s books and the illustrations by Quentin Blake. Roald Dahl’s books are so imaginative, I still find them fascinating!
3. You’ve admitted to being a crazy cat lady, do you have a feline friend who keeps you company while you work?
At the moment I am living in a house with a really cute dog, called Charlie – he keeps me distracted most of the time! But I would love a cat… for now I have to stalk the neighbours cats!
4. What’s your creative routine?
I usually wake up really early… I love to have a long breakfast and start to work about 8. I usually get creative with my paints and inks in the morning; I find I’m most creative and work on the computer in the afternoon.
5. What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?
I love to explore! While I was in Melbourne I realised that I had seen more of Australia than the U.K… I know bad, right?! So this year I am really trying to get out every weekend and explore the U.K, last weekend I explored Cambridge and went punting for the first time.
6. You lived in Melbourne for 2 years, what was it like, did it have a good creative scene, and do you have any other adventures planned?
Melbourne has a great creative community – there are always new exhibitions popping up, new coffee shops and the shops were amazing (they have great style), lots of vintage finds and there were always creative markets going on every weekend, by the end of my two year visa I had accumulated so much stuff, it was hard to leave some things behind!
7. What 5 things can’t you live without?
Number one on the list would definitely be cake! And probably all the rest would be art supplies… my sketchbook, paintbrush, dip pen and ink… and if I could have one extra please… it would be CATS! Haha!
8. Your patterns have been applied to lots of different mediums, from homeware and stationery to clothing brands for ASOS. What’s next for you and who would be your dream client?
At the moment I’m actually working on something really cool for a suitcase company, I can’t reveal much more but keep your eyes peeled, I’m excited about it!
My dream client or collaboration would be a British homewares company. Interiors have always been my favourite things to design for, even when I was a kid I was always changing around my room and making plans to paints the walls and change things! If I could pick a company, it would have to be Heal’s, I love their designs and products!
9. We love your use of bright and bold colours in your work. Which artists/designers inspire you most?
I take a lot of inspiration from Scandinavian design, especially Marimekko – I love love love Scandinavian design, from the houses to storage! Hehe! Im a crazy storage lady too!
Another designer that I love is Vera Neumann, she was an American silk scarf designer, really popular from the 50’s right through to the late 80’s and has now become a vintage icon. I love to collect silk scarfs, especially the crazy bright ones!
10. What advice would you give to aspiring illustrators/surface pattern designers?
I think one of the main things I try to remember, is not to be too hard on myself and take time to relax and just enjoy what I’m doing – and do what you love!
Ashley Le Quere