March 18, 2021 4 min read

Elizabeth Szekely, aka Lizzie Lamb, grew up in the verdant foothills of the Dandenong Ranges outside Melbourne, and after a film-worthy career in fashion design and illustration overseas, is now settled back in Melbourne with her husband and two small children.

An idyllic childhood spent chasing lizards and spotting possums on her parents flower farm instilled in Lizzie a love of nature. “We would go out with our torches at twilight for what we called a ‘possum prowl’ to see how many possums we could spot. We also had a friendly blue tongue lizard who visited and let us pat him….we probably shouldn’t have done that!” Lizzie chuckles from her home studio in Melbourne.

Lizzie was interested in art from a young age, even being featured with her painting in the local newspaper while in kindergarten. Her parent’s flower farm also did a solid trade in dried flower arrangements, “when they were popular in the eighties” – so Lizzie learnt early on that creativity and business could go hand in hand.

Lizzie studied Graphic Design and Art at High School, enjoying strong encouragement from her teachers. “Both my Graphic Design and Art teacher were just as excited as I was when I was accepted into RMIT” she reflects.

Completing a Bachelors Degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising at RMIT, Lizzie started her professional career as a fashion illustrator, however she recognised early on that her work had broader appeal.

Lizzie Lamb - Artist Profile

“I branched out to include publishing and book illustration, and have worked with some big exciting brands including Penguin Publishing, Tattinger Champagne , and Alannah Hill.” Now truly a Renaissance women, Lizzie’s work over the past 20 years has graced fashion and textiles, book covers, greeting cards, wrapping paper, advertisements, promotional pieces and even corporate branding. 

Fashion design has proved an excellent base from which to launch an illustration and design career. “In fashion design, there is a very strong focus on detail and capturing texture and the movement of fabric, how light and shadow work on soft surfaces. These skills have certainly helped me with other styles of drawing, such as capturing textures like feathers for example.” 

Inspired by fashion, fairy tales and her extensive travels, Lizzie’s work is light and fun, with a colourful whimsical style that features hand drawn figures in pencil, ink and watercolour. Her range of Australian greeting cards includes some of the cutest and most cuddly native Australian animals; from pigmy possums to fun galahs and sing-song magpies.

 

Stylish Australiana is pleased to stock Lizzie’s beautiful range of Australian animal greeting cards – you can find them here.

 

Having spent lengths of time working overseas, Lizzie readily identifies the unique Australian landscape as something to cherish. “For me, Australiana is firstly about nature: the wild natural beauty and sheer space we enjoy here - but there’s also so much more than that. Something intangible, like funny Aussie slang or an in joke that only Aussies get. I definitely missed that a lot when working overseas.”

 

What technique or skill are you most proud of?

“While digital illustration becomes more and more popular, I’m really proud of my ability to still work by hand. Illustration has trends that come and go , I think staying original is also something to be proud of -  there is something about a hand-drawn illustration that is incredibly special – especially in the digital age.”

 

What is your dream project?

“Definitely something that involves travelling and exploring … maybe working on some illustrations for a luxury hotel in an exotic location…?”

 

How has your creative style changed over time?

“I’ve developed a more obvious and consistent signature style, even through I do still like to experiment with different mediums and styles.  Also, since becoming a mother I’ve worked more in that space - doing children’s illustration and animal illustrations while still embracing my fashion background.”

 

What challenges you?

My children! I’ve got two very busy little boys. I feel like my children give me endless inspiration but also make finding time for work very challenging.

 

What is the strangest gift you’ve ever received?

Hmmm… last year someone gifted me a huge packet of toilet paper. Normally that would be a pretty strange gift, but I guess COVID has changed all the rules!

 

What memorable comments have you had about your creations?

I’ve done some illustrations of beloved pets for people and am always thrilled when the clients love them. I’ve even had clients kiss the glass of the frame! 

One of my biggest thrills was when I did a pet portrait for Mayte Garcia (a performer best known for being married to Prince). She has the portrait hanging in her office! 

I also recently did a series of ‘celebrities and their pets’ drawings and got a few lovely comments from notable people - including from Bindi Irwin, which was lovely!

 

What material do you love and why?

I love nice thick, watercolour paper. It’s lovely to work on. My go-to drawing tool is a simple grey lead pencil! It’s always the first thing I use to quickly get my ideas down.

 

What is your favourite thing about where you live?

The balance of nature and also city life. I’m lucky to live in an area of Melbourne where nothing is too far, the beach is a 15 minute drive and it’s also easy to get out to the hills. It’s also just as easy to get into the City where I love to visit my favourite place, the National Gallery of Victoria. Oh also the coffee…of course!

 

What piece of advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Apart from boring advice like ‘save more money’ … I’d tell myself not to worry about fitting in so much ...oh and to embrace my red hair. (I hated having red hair when I was young!)

 

You can see Lizzie’s range of beautiful Australian greeting cards here.



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