Wednesday, February 8, 2012

LOCAL FAVS - illustrator

Okay peeps I have another great installment of My Local FAVS, for ya.  Meet Lezlee, a super fabulous illustrator who happens to be one of my favorite up and coming designers.  We will totally be able to say "we knew her when!" You may have spied a few of her things on my instaFriday posts.  I sport a really cute notebook to school designed by the one and only.  So let's get to know Ms. Lezlee

How long have you been designing, painting, creating and just being fabulous in general?
Wow, let’s see… I have been painting since I was REALLY young.  I got a finger painting kit for my birthday and had a painting party where my Mom had set up refrigerator boxes in the yard with paper on each side like an easel and my friends and I painted away. 

Since then there were drawings and different stages of “art,” like cartoons, watercolor paintings, random church drawings (drawings made while in church), and then I actually took art classes somewhere in there. I went to Winthrop University majoring in Graphic Design, but honestly… I wasn’t good at it. So eventually I figured out that I was meant to be an illustrator – that’s a long story for another time – but I’ve done just about every type of art, including sculpture! 

What exactly is a licensed illustrator?
I make patterns and illustrations that manufacturers use (license) for their products. Open your mind to every single thing you buy, most likely the pretty colors and/or design on it has been created by an artist, like me, and the manufacturer asks nicely if they can use it. That’s licensing. Fabrics, greeting cards, wallpaper, wrapping paper, gift bags, purses, phone cases, recipe cards, photo albums, scrapbook paper, desk calendars, rugs, coasters, figurines, and Christmas ornaments. Everything. So really… the possibilities are endless.

Where do you create? 
That’s a good question. Here’s my desk.
And that’s where most of my “work” happens. But creating really happens in my head. For example, I’ll see a pink flower vase and I start to imagine colors that would look really good next to it and what style of design it might work best in – Exotic? Kid friendly? Girly? And then I just start thinking of shapes and lines and before you know it, I have an idea.
It’s just a natural occurrence in my head that I happen to know how to act on and physically create… and people seem to like what comes out.

What inspires you most?
Color. Home décor. Fashion. And culture. I’m visual, and seeing interior decorators put so many different patterns and colors fearlessly together inspires me to do the same thing. Fashion always has an influence on the “trends” and seeing what clothing designers are using in colors, textures and prints always gets my heart racing. I also love cultural expressions, like the way elephants are decorated in India, or mehndi designs, or Moroccan carvings. 

Do you have a favorite piece or pattern that you have designed that you can share with us?
Oh boy… they’re all good but I do have some favs. One of my very first patterns was this Feathered Peacock pattern.  I kept seeing out in the marketplace where everyone was being so literal with their design translation of a peacock feather and I just had a different vision in my head. This was basically it. It’s been very successful. Manufacturers love it, and frankly so do consumers. It’s the top selling flask on my Etsy site.

Where all might we spot your designs?  You know so we can carry some LEZLEE gear and be all “Hey, I am like totally BFFs with THIS designer?”
That’s a good question… I sell things on Etsy! At Christmas I was doing photo greeting cards like 8 times a day, but I also sell hand-painted ornaments, flasks (big seller), desk calendars and a couple more brand new items! Since it takes a LONG time for licensed products to come out, I can use the patterns on items like these and sell them straight to you. 
For licensed products, you can check out for binders, journals, and stationery products – there will be more from me on there soon, I promise. I also have a birthday card out in Trader Joes! Luvali makes reversible or convertible products, and my fabrics are on their totes, messenger bags, wristlets, iPad/eReader carriers, and sun hats that are available online at – or look up the zip code for a store selling them near you. Also, I recently worked with on labels and packaging for their new products: Cocoa Nostra lip pots and chapslicks, Say It With Suds lip pots, Pure Floral solid perfumes and “I’m not here, I’m really…” solid perfumes and bubble baths. They’re Otherwise, some of the manufacturers that license from me are so big I have no clue where they sell into and I’m not sure I can really ask either. I really need help from the general public to do “spottings”… I’m thinking about making it into a whole “thing.” 
This Christmas I should have a ton of stuff out in stores so be on the lookout for wrapping paper, gift bags, gift tags, greeting cards, coaster sets and napkins. I also have a hopeful (cross your fingers) deal that will be out starting this summer, but don’t want to jinx it just yet! I keep peeps updated on these things through my blog, and I do LOTS of giveaways when I get samples.
5 Reasons Why I LOVE Licensing:
1 - It’s cool as heck to see my name on stuff.
2 - I get to make things that I would want to buy, and it seems other women want to buy, too.
3 - I get bored easily and licensing opens up my mind to things I NEVER would have imagined and keeps me on my toes.
4 - I think sometimes trends are too “here today, gone tomorrow,” and I enjoy making things that will still be amazing after tomorrow.
5 - Because I want to change the world, and I actually feel like I’m doing it. One purse,   greeting card and flask at a time!

Isn't she awesome!  I just LOVE her and her stuff!!  Lezlee is so awesome that she is giving away one of her BRAND NEW etsy items; a super cute monogrammed canteen!  It will be so cute hanging on your gym bag or if your like me sitting on your desk
(it takes a lot of energy to walk to the break room and back!!)
Monogram Canteen with Carabiner Keychain-Pink
ONE lucky winner will receive the monogrammed canteen in black, check her etsy site for additional details on the canteens!
To enter all you have to do is give Lezlee some facebook LOVE by "like"ing her page!  Then come back here and leave one positive comment about how fabulous Lezlee's stuff is!!  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Monday the 12th! You don't even have to be local to get a little sample of my favorite local this time!
Off to find some finger paints, I've been inspired!

ps. you DON'T have to have a blogger account to leave a comment just select anonymous! BUT be sure to leave your name in your comment!!


Anonymous said...

I DID "know her when" and am REALLY proud of her (I know her mom is too!!!!)! Can't wait to see what's next for Lezlee and from from her Esty!

Nancy Wood

Megan.Wood said...

Lezlee was actually one of my baby sitters when I was growing up. Its really cool to get compliments on my purse or flask (both designed by her) and be able to brag that we used to watch movies and eat sour jelly beans.
-P.S. EVERYONE should own a flask. My mom got one for me for Christmas. They are great for themed parties.

Amy E. Photography said...

LOVE her stuff! I would def love to work with her in the future to maybe brand some items for me and my business!

Anonymous said...

Love all of Lezlee Elliott's designs! They are so vibrant, fresh and down right cute!!!! Jeanie James

GrowingUpHappy said...

Such an awesome artist! I love Lezlee's stuff... all of it. If I could afford to buy it all I would! It is a good thing you got finger paints for your birthday ;)

Sarno's Sweets said...

Lezlee is amazing! I have an awesome notebook and pad for all of my recipes, that I love! She also designed my wedding save the dates and invitations. They are beautiful and original! I wouldn't have been able to find anything anywhere else that fits my style so perfectly! Amazing, talented, creative artist!
Jessica Sutton

Anonymous said...

Lezlee is an amazing talent!
Jamie Bristol

Anonymous said...

Pick me! Pick me! I didn't get my wife anything for V-day yet!

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