Lesley Elkan was born in Sydney and has a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Biology) and a Graduate Diploma in Art (Plant and Wildlife Illustration.
She commenced her role as botanical illustrator for the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney in 1995, working along staff botanists to illustrate newly discovered or renamed plant species as well as documenting the flora of NSW.
These are black and white drawings are published in the Flora of NSW’s PlantNet, the Flora of Australia, Telopea and numerous other taxonomic journals. In addition, she co-curators the internationally renowned Margaret Flockton Award, for excellence in scientific botanical illustration.
Lesley has taught scientific illustration and botanical art at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the University of Newcastle, and Ku-ring-Gai Art Centre and paints detailed watercolour botanical studies for exhibition. Her work is held in collections around the world, including Kew Garden's Illustration Collection and The Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection. Lesley has won several awards in the field of scientific illustration. These include the Linnean Society of London’s ‘Jill Smythies Award’ (2005) and 1st and 2nd place in the Margaret Flockton Award in 2008 & 2004 respectively.