Carly Lake is a freelance illustrator based in Los Angeles, California, who specializes in floral illustrations and botanical patterns.

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Over the past 10 years, I have been on an ongoing journey to learn about the native plants and animals in my local environment of Southern California. Illustrating the plants of California has been the main vehicle to develop more understanding of the landscape. This has, in turn, attracted a lot of other plant lovers to my artwork, and brought about opportunities to illustrate botanicals from around the world. I also have a fiber art practice where I explore natural dyes and pigments, mostly from plant sources. I love to learn and teach about the ethnobotanical histories and stories that each plant encompasses. The personal connection I develop with plants adds an extra vibrancy and personality to the way that I illustrate them. To maintain my creativity, I go hiking often and draw plants around me, or sketch them from my imagination. I am constantly inspired by the whimsy and surreal forms of plant material. From a small acorn, to the presence of a redwood, I will never bore of these botanical treasures that support our livelihood.


  • California Native Plant Society 
  • California Native Plant Society, San Diego Chapter 
  • The Kampong Botanic Garden
  • The National Tropical Botanic Garden
  • The Los Angeles Mycological Society


Which flower do you draw the most?
I am totally enamored with chaparral yucca plants and will spend the days of Spring happily mesmerized, sketching their exquisitely large, cup shaped blossoms.

What grows in your garden?
I’ve planted a variety of California native plants, including plants that provide a source of dye for the textile artwork I create. I love the process of learning how to care for these plants and see first hand how they provide habitat and food for native species. The garden provides me with endless creative inspiration right outside my doorstep. It’s an extra special treat when I have Japanese Indigo growing. I’ll harvest it and coax out its special blue pigment to use in my artwork.

What do flowers symbolize to you?
In California, you can find flowers blooming on different species of plants all year round. For this reason, they symbolize the ever present opportunity to find positivity in the world around us and within us.

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