Lesley Smith (LinesmithIllustrates)


Lesley was born in South Africa where she studied art at both school and the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg  and obtained a qualification in fashion design thereafter. She has also completed a Graphic Design course at the Yoobee School of Design, Auckland, New Zealand. Design was always at the forefront of her aesthetic and she recalls how, as a child, she would stuff her mother’s stocking packets with an array of different fabrics and textures to highlight the legs of the illustrated woman on the front. Still today, pattern is a primary focus of her work having produced repeat patterns for fashion designers and clothing manufacturers. She has also taught kindergarten at the Village Waldorf School which she founded in 1997 when her children were young, and it is here that much of the humour that emerges in her work flourished. 

Her day job is as a graphic designer with a small advertising studio in Auckland, New Zealand, where she emigrated in 2003 with her family. She moonlights as an illustrator, having become addicted to the process of layering, colourisation and typography, giving life to her response to the world - to events, the emotions these events engender and to her deeply held views on the environment, politics and social issues while drawing on influences from literature, music and the visual arts generally.

Lesley’s work has featured on They Draw and Cook as well as Minted. She has also been a prolific 99designs artist but says: ‘These days my heart is in developing my illustration style which gives me enormous pleasure.” She has strong leanings towards book and book cover illustration, poster design for movies and events, music album cover design as well as packaging which is a particular crush of hers. “The image/typography combo is what really turns me on!”

She is represented in Australia and New Zealand by International Rescue.