Lesley graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology from the University of Technology, Sydney in 1993. Then, following her interest in art, she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Plant and Wildlife Illustration at Newcastle University in 1994.
Since completing her formal studies, Lesley has worked as a freelance illustrator for organisations including The Australian Museum and the Australian Biological Resources Study "Flora of Australia Project" as well as natural history book and magazine publishers, illustrating both plants and animals.
In 1995, she became a botanical illustrator for the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney. In this position she produces black and white illustrations of new and threatened species which are published in Flora of New South Wales, Flora of Australia, Telopea and other scientific journals.
Her scientific illustrations have won several awards, including the 2005 Jill Smythies Award, presented by the Linnean Society of London and second place in the inaugural Margaret Flockton Award (2004) presented by the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.
She teaches botanical illustration at the Gardens and at the Ku-Ring-Gai Art Centre. In addition she has designed and taught a course in Scientific Illustration at Newcastle University.
She has exhibited in several group exhibitions including the Friends of the Gardens 'Botanica' exhibition from 1999-2004 and 'The Art of Botanical Illustration' (2000) at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne. Her work is held in collections in Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, London, Edinburgh and New York.
Lesley particularly enjoys portraying native orchids and Sydney's native flora in her finely detailed watercolour botanical studies.
You can view her coloured works at http://www.lesleyelkan.com and her B&W work at http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/conservation_research/herbarium_and_services/botanical_illustration
Source: Pers. Comm. Lesley Elkan