Drawn to Nature: Illustrator Lisel Jane Ashlock
Much of Lisel Jane Ashlock’s childhood was spent knuckle-deep in the soil of the family garden or bird watching with her self-proclaimed “naturalist” mother. But it wasn’t until she moved to New York City that her innate love for drawing the flora and fauna she grew up with was awakened. “Finding green was few and far between,” says Lisel, “so the moments of stumbling onto a hidden neighborhood garden, or bringing a fire escape to life with plants brought my innate love into sharp focus.”
But before rediscovering the subject matter that would give life to her art, Lisel first came to her craft. In art school, Lisel found that illustration was the perfect marriage of two of her favorite pastimes—drawing (she was an avid doodler all through her school days) and photography (her college major). As an illustrator, she could employ what she learned as a photographer about “capturing a mood or feeling through composition, color, and light to create an image that tells a story,” Lisel explains. So with a photographer’s eye, an illustrator’s hand, and the heart of a nature lover, Lisel has carved a niche for herself as the award-winning, go-to artist for all things botanical and wildlife-inspired, with her work now adorning everything from textiles to packaging, book covers to editorials.
In her latest collaboration—a collection of wallpapers and murals with Hygge & West—Lisel brought her trademark style to patterns for the home. “The whole collection is a love affair with my favorite thing to draw: botanicals!,” Lisel says. “Each pattern is a celebration of all things floral, from wild California natives, to lush night blooms, and even a little dip under the sea. It was such a pleasure to get lost in the intricacy of each of these unique illustrated gardens.” And it is that intricacy that makes this collection so distinctly Lisel’s.
“I have found so much satisfaction joining these detailed hand-drawn florals, with the meticulous design that is required for making patterns. I love being able to bring fresh blooms to walls of both city and country dwellings alike.”
Each of her new wallpapers—Sonoma, Secret Garden, and Atoll—embraces different sides of the natural world and translates them into intricate motifs that make for the most stunning backdrops for any space in the home. Her murals—Night Heron and Canopy—capture enchanting settings that transport and delight. “I was inspired to create images that bring lush details of very particular environments. Walk into florals tumbling from the ceiling. Wander through a dreamy twilight garden,” says Lisel. “These tableaus could be applied to statement walls, entryways, and anywhere to bring a bit of wild into interior spaces.”
“I love using pattern in unexpected ways, not just for color and pop, but to bring dimension and layering to otherwise sparse environments. Patterns can bring unique narratives and charming stories to a room, adding a curious sophistication to any interior.”
At the end of a long day, when her studio is closed for the evening and night has fallen on the California landscape where she lives, Lisel’s thoughts turn back to the great indoors, where cozy reigns supreme. “If my family had a mascot, it would be cozy,” she says. “I come from a long line of cozy, but the master of cozy was my grandmother Moozie. Cozy was taken seriously at her home, which is nestled deep in the Redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Sitting at her kitchen counter, she would let me sip black tea with milk and sugar, which I still guzzle daily. She was the master of creating the warmth and comfort that is hygge, and creating this same feeling for my family is mandatory! Lighting, scent, and warmth, coupled with tidy, open space to let beautiful objects breathe are the things that bring hygge to my home and my studio.”