an image depicting Ashly Jernigan's illustration and artwork, in collaboration with Patricia Barrett Studio

Artist Spotlight: Ashly Jernigan and the Spirit of Feminism

Though she describes herself as a “late bloomer” when it comes to feminism, there’s no doubt she’s in full bloom! From growing up doodling in her father’s legal pads to freelance fashion illustration to finding her stride–and voice–as a graphic designer and illustrator, learn a little bit about what makes her unique, what inspires her, and how she inspires others through her acclaimed & poignant illustrations! 

Drawing, Fashion, & Illustration

a piece of art by Zurich-based illustrator and author Ashly Jernigan

Growing up in Sedona, Arizona, drawing was always a way of life for Ashly Jernigan. In her own words, “constantly doodling” as a kid, she took the logical next step and studied fine art in college, earning a BFA in visual arts and an AAS in fashion design. 

One of her professors in college, sensing a burgeoning talent, took Jernigan under her wing–sparking an interest in freelance fashion illustration. “Before long,” said Jernigan, “the illustration part of the fashion world was all I cared about. I could actually get paid to draw!”

Though she took on a swarm of freelance jobs–and excelled at them–the work left her feeling empty. “At times I felt like a chameleon,” she said. “Doing what people paid me to do–in the style they asked for.”

But after moving to Switzerland with her husband–and having her first child–she discovered her true passion. 

“I allowed myself to discover my voice as an illustrator, to draw what I cared about, and do work simply to create.” 

The Strength of Female Energy

an illustration showing the spirit of feminism from Zurich-based author and illustrator Ashly Jernigan

The strength of female energy is at the forefront of not only her artwork–but her life as a whole. 

“I feel incredibly privileged to ride on the coattails of the fierce women who came before me and fought for the rights I enjoy today,” she said, “but I realize how far we still have to go.”

That’s what she hopes to address–through the power of illustration. 

“I want to collaborate with more women”, she said, “ I want to share stories. I want to address our collective frustrations and be a voice for change.” 

Which is why she’s so excited for her upcoming work, A Table Set For Sisterhood.

A Table Set For Sisterhood

an excerpt from Ashly Jernigan and Ashley Schutz's upcoming work exemplifying the spirit of feminism, A Table Set For Sisterhood

“I can 100% say that A Table Set For Sisterhood is the best thing I’ve ever done professionally”, she said. 

What started as a 100-day project–drawing an inspirational/influential woman each day–with good friend and chef Ashley Schütz has turned into a beautiful, empowering feminist cookbook.

The two Ashl(e)ys originally wanted to make a fun cookbook idea for their children, but quickly realized it had to be for everyone–not just children. They then came up with the creative idea to pair 35 “heroes of feminism” with original recipes.

“It’s not only gorgeous,” said Jernigan, “but it’s the perfect vehicle for telling the stories of these heroic women. Our hope is that through fusing storytelling, recipes, illustrations, and meal discussion topics, we’re solidifying our readers’ connection to and enthusiasm for these female icons.” 

A Table Set For Sisterhood hits shelves in May 2023!

“You Are The Only One Who Can Do Exactly What You Do”

an image by Zurich-based author and illustrator Ashly Jernigan.

“I think every artist doubts themselves more than they need to,” Jernigan said. “But your ideas are good. You are the only one who can do exactly what you do.”

While she admits drawing is the love of her life, she also admits it’s a challenging relationship. 

To combat self-doubt (again, self-admittedly “silly”), she challenges herself to solve a task or problem to jump-start her creative process. She added that projects rarely turn out the way she initially envisioned. 

Which is where the idea for 100-day projects came from. 

“I guess I have to be forced to draw to get the creative juices flowing. There’s sometimes a rough patch where I’m frustrated things aren’t coming together like I had hoped, but once I explore other options, I’m very happy to find that it came together even better than I had hoped.”

A Table For Sisterhood is a testament to that resilient spirit of feminism. 

“After four long years–and many iterations–we’re finally seeing our incredibly hard work pay off.”

Staying Inspired–And Inspiring

a piece of art from Zurich-based illustrator and author Ashly Jernigan

Though she’s not sure what comes next, she has some great ideas in the works and she’s excited to embark on the next project-and to make a difference. 

Working with Patricia Barrett is just an added bonus. 

“Women like Trish keep me inspired and moving forward,” Jernigan said. “I feel that what we are doing together falls perfectly in line with my vision and I feel beyond lucky to work with her now!”

You can see more of Ashly's work on her website & instagram!

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