Deborah Lee: Pencil Lines and Passions

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

A red colored pencil elephant raises its head in triumph as streams of water erupt from its trunk. It’s almost magical how the once plain wall has now become home to one of nature’s most magnificent beasts. Four-year-old Deborah Lee steps back and smiles. She’s never put down her pencil since that day.

Photographic portrait provided by Deborah Lee

Granted, Lee has retired her red pencil since her youth, but the passion for drawing that resonates in the memory of that elephant has never left her. She continued drawing throughout middle school and high school, focusing on DeviantArt and Anime fanart. Later, college curriculum saw her move to a more design-based approach.


Among the thousands of illustrators trying to break into the art world today, Lee stands out.


Using a mix of digital and physical media, Lee’s work speaks volumes. Deep, rich colors that are unique but not overpowering work to highlight the very personal messages present in both her self-directed and commissioned pieces. At times simple and serene and often detailed but never cluttered, Lee’s work draws the viewer in, arousing them to reflect in awe on the image and its meaning.


Though she is still young in her career as an illustrator, Lee’s journey has been full of triumphs. Despite her book deals and awards, Lee considers her most prominent triumph to be the ability to take herself less seriously.


“You are more important than what you make!”


Sweet and personable, Deborah Lee clearly has an exceptional future ahead of her. The little girl drawing an elephant on the wall may never have guessed that she would one day be an acclaimed illustrator with book deals lined up. And yet here she is, stepping forward boldly into the future one pencil stroke at a time.


Read the full feature with Deborah Lee in your copy of Issue 1: TRIUMPH.

Full feature edited by Chloe Wen, Danielle Irene, & Laurel Prime

Spread design by Ndemazea Fonkem


Website: debleeart.com

Twitter: twitter.com/jdebbiel

Instagram: instagram.com/jdebbiel

THEASPIRANTSCO@GMAIL.COM | © 2019 by ASPIRANTS CO. Designed by Ry X and Ndemazea Fonkem.

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