Studio Visit: Ashley Le Quere
Ashley Le Quere is an illustrator, pattern designer, screen-print fanatic and a self-confessed "crazy cat lady".
Much preferring ink to pixels, Ashley creates each element of her designs by hand to produce botanical inspired prints and adorable illustrations. Since graduating with a BA Hons in Illustration from the University of the West of England in 2009, Ashely has travelled all over the world, settling down in Melbourne for two years before coming home to London. During this time, Ashely made the transition from creating custom and editorial illustrations to focusing on surface pattern design.
We caught up with Ashley to find out more about this transition, her organic process and her love of travel and cats.
Hi Ashley! Can you tell us about your creative process? You tend to create things by hand rather than doing a lot of digital work. Is there a reason for this?
I have tried, in the past to create my illustration digitally straight on to Photoshop or Illustrator but it doesn’t give me the same feeling… It makes me so happy playing with textures and layers (getting a bit messy). I feel free when I create by hand and the mistakes don’t seem to be a bad thing when created by hand.
As a self-confessed “crazy cat lady” is it difficult to resist the temptation to base all your personal projects around cats?
Just as I was answering this question I looked up from my desk and I have 3 cat illustrations I recently created up on the wall.. Is that bad?! So, yeah, I guess I have loads of trouble stepping away from loving cats too much! I think it would be solved if I got one as a birthday present!!
After working on editorial and custom illustrations for a number of years, you switched to focusing on surface pattern design. What were the reasons behind this?
Hmm, It wasn’t a conscious choice; I began to drawn collections of objects, like post boxes (they where a big addiction of mine for a few years!) and I just played around with the collections making patterns and it all started from there really.
I also did an internship in 2012 with Ella Doran, who is a well know British Surface Pattern Designer and I loved what she was doing – It seemed like the possibilities of what you could make endless – from making ceramics to rugs to stationary!
Are there any pattern designers or studios you have been particularly inspired by recently?
Only the other day fell in love with Viktorija Semjonova – she is a London Illustrator who makes loads of cute little badges and Wes Anderson goodies!
I am also constantly drawn to Scandinavian design, I am obsessed with Marrimekko and I’m always up for a trip to Ikea!
You went traveling for six months in 2012. Do you still travel a lot? How does/ did this fuel your creativity?
I haven’t left London for nearly 6 months now and I getting itchy feet… I’m always dreaming of new travels and looking up how much flights are! Traveling inspired me so much that I think about it all the time… my recent Illustration of Indian Building was inspired by 3 months I traveled in India, at the time I didn’t realise how much I would love it and how much it inspired me.
You live in Melbourne for a little while. What was the creative scene like over there and how did it differ from London?
Melbourne was a lot like London… but with better coffee! They definitely had their own style and it was very much the creative hub of Australia.
If you could relocate to anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
If I could relocate anywhere and had all the money in the world… it’s a hard one but probably New York or maybe Tokyo… its too hard to choose!
You also have a blog where you regularly share new projects, WIPs, inspirations and processes. Why did you choose to launch this? Does it keep you motivated?
I started to show my WIP to people on my Facebook page and I got a really good response to it so I decided to share a project I was working on every couple of weeks.
I really like sharing my process, a lot goes into my work and its also really interesting to get feedback on projects and get someone else’s perspective.
Tell us about the last book you read or documentary that you watched – is there a subject matter interests you most?
The last book I read was How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. It’s a book about feminism, where it stands in today’s society and Caitlin Moran’s views on it. I am a feminist and there have been some great debates/topics about Feminism recently, it seems to be gaining momentum again, its exciting!
What is your go-to snack of choice to fuel your creativity and productivity ahead of a big deadline?
I love a good cup of tea, it can get bad sometimes if I’m procrastinating though… I’m sure 6 cups of tea cannot be good for me!
Finally, what’s next for you? Any creative projects you would like to mention?
At the moment I’m focusing a lot on making products for my shop (which I just launched) and hopefully working towards doing creative markets! I love to screen print and have a little set up in my studio so I’m getting quite addicted to that! I have some exciting work coming up with a suit case brand that I can’t wait to get started on! And would love to work with you guys at Inky Goodness, I have always followed loved your projects. Thank you for interviewing me, it has been an honor!