Nikki Schaffer
Features Editor

As a child, Lady Lucas always loved the creative self-expressionism found in art. What she didn’t know at that time, was that she was destined to become a self-published children’s author and illustrator. Although her real name is Ashley Lucas, joining the art business industry allowed her to find and embrace an artistic name.

“I thought I should include my last name, and I love alliteration, so ‘Lady’ seemed to work well. My art students started calling me Lady Lucas instead of Ms. Ashley years ago, so I sign my artwork with the name now too.”

Ashley sitting at her most recent book signing surrounded by her artistic creations.
Ashley sitting at her most recent book signing surrounded by her artistic creations.

Drawing inspiration from children, animals, art supply stores and traveling has given Lucas the opportunity to hone an artistic process of design, which starts by sketching lightly with pencil, then going over with permanent marker, and finally following with watercolor pencils. She enjoys the art of making craft books and is crafting and drawing every day. Her favorite artists include her parents, Tim Burton, Richard Scarry, Jim Henson and above all things, art that is cute.

Lucas has lived in the New York City area since she was 18 years old, where she attended the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television. During her days before being an artist, she has held many odd-jobs, working at dentist offices, law firms, and software companies as well as working at a fashion accessory business.

This month, she has returned to her hometown where she is happy to be living with her parents here in Lancaster before embarking on a trip to Austria this fall. While in Austria, she is hoping to create a picture book incorporating German in some way.

Today Lucas currently sells digital downloads, picture books, plush dolls and wall art which is available on her website and her Etsy store. Her books, cards and artwork are also available in downtown Lancaster’s store, Strawberry & Co.

Although Lucas is able to fulfill her dreams through her artistically driven career, she was not always able to feel financially secure.

An image of Puff from Ashley’s book, The Angry Artist.
An image of Puff from Ashley’s book, The Angry Artist.

“As an artist, you can expect to have many low points emotionally and financially. My books have always come out of these times for me. They cheer me up and make me feel complete. My Etsy store is more of a place where I try to be strategic about what people will buy. I create printable downloads people of all ages can enjoy.”

Lucas says she could not have gotten to where she is today without sheer determination and stubbornness, as well as lots of encouragement from family and friends.

Recently, she finished a picture book called, The Angry Artist which tells the story of a bunny named Puff who is cute, but often frustrated on her journey to becoming a working illustrator. Lucas also held a book signing at her parent’s gallery which was successful, leaving her with a sense of encouragement that she should further promote her book this fall. Her wish is for the book to accurately portray what it’s really like to be a struggling artist.

Lucas also shares some advice for aspiring artists at Millersville.

“Planning and goals sound boring but they are absolutely so important. I thought after college so many companies and firms would be dying for my great talent. The reality is, no one cares or will do the work to get your work known unless you do it yourself. You must be willing to put in the time and effort. Always be gracious and nice to people. That is just as important as the time and effort. People will notice and your career will slowly build and build.”

If you are interested in Lucas’ work, check out her website at http://www.ladylucas.com/. You can connect with Lucas on Instagram @LadyLucasArt and Facebook.com/purplebatwithredshoes. Be sure to also sign up for her monthly e-newsletter: eepurl.com/bOxPf.

Above all things, Ashley believes an artist should listen to themselves.

“Find your voice and follow it. Develop a true style, which shouldn’t be too hard because it’s the style you create naturally.”