An Illustrative Blog TourSep162014


A good college friend of mine, and amazing illustrator whose floral and intricate ink drawings I adore, Te Chao was sweet enough to name me at the end of her latest blog post, in a fun little continuous blog tour of awesome illustrators from around the world!

Click below to follow through to the post, and to read more about what I’m working on at the moment, what type of illustration I do, a look into my process, and to see who I pass the torch onto next in the blog tour! ❤

What am I currently working on?

I’m currently in between children’s book projects at the moment, and for the past few months, as well as for the next few months before work can start on a new book that is penciled into my calendar, I’m working on some fun commissions. They range from logo designs, hand lettered invitations, a large oil painting, secretive calligraphy projects (what I’m actually working on at this moment), tattoo designs, original nursery art, as well as gallery shows, running my online shop where I sell my first published children’s book (Is There Enough?), pin-back buttons, soon to be posted original art, prints, & bookmarks, as well as making friends and immersing myself in the up and coming local art scene here in San Mateo, CA.

I keep busy, but I’m also using this time to re-center myself. I’ve been slowly redesigning the amazing 1920’s studio apartment my husband and I have shared for the past 3 years, and he and I have also just adopted our very own fur baby, Mango. As a four month old shih tzu puppy who’s stubborn and cute as alllll get out, he’s been quite the new adjustment to my daily schedule.

How is my work different from others in my genre?

When I set out to start work on “Is There Enough?,” by Faye Ellen Hartzell, I knew as my first published children’s book that it would need to properly represent who and what I’m about as an illustrator. I really examined what it was about my own art and illustration that made me feel happy to create, and reminded myself to bring as much of that to the book and story as possible. Because the story is about a young boy who is worried, and spends most of the book looking for answers, I knew I would need to inject the pages full of his loving and supportive family, bright, cheerful colors, all to ease the worry in the young readers of the book while following the main character around his home.

I think about every tiny little detail in my illustrations, whether they be in pages of a book, or framed on gallery walls. I’ve always been a little bit of a perfectionist and maximalist at heart, but only to the point of which I feel I must put every bit of my passion and attention into what I’m creating – which I’ll admit seems to be anything and everything I can think of, whether it be design, fine art, illustration, hand lettering, or even dabbling in sculpture and ceramics. I demand a lot from myself in my artwork, but mainly that I enjoy what I create.

Why do I illustrate what I do?

I have many obsessions and inspirations as a human being, as well as an artist and illustrator, but when it comes to creating, I’ve found along the way that my heart truly lays with children’s book illustration (primarily). As has been a standard reply of mine for years, I love being able to bring to being polar bears in tutus. In other words, it’s the absurdity, the freedom of imagination, the innocent adventure, the playful colorful excitement, and the awesome and humbling responsibility that accompanies creating art that tells a story meant to enrich the lives of children.

Apart from children’s illustration, I am drawn to the feminine, and have previously explored imagery rooted deeply in myths, fairytales, and portraiture.

How does my illustration process work?

I work almost exclusively in traditional media, scanning in finished work and occasionally touching it up digitally. No matter the project, I start by sketching out my rough ideas and researching like a crazy person for hours/days on end. Once sufficient reference imagery is shot, I start working on final composition and rough drawings.

Then, depending again on the specific project, I start my own complicated, and sometimes frustrating, process of refining and finalizing my drawing in the form of layer upon layer of tracing paper. If I’m working on a watercolor/mixed media illustration (which is typical), I’ll transfer the final drawing onto the watercolor paper using my light table (an invaluable tool I’d recommend as necessity to any aspiring illustrator). Once the drawing is transferred, or even before, I do a quick color study and plan out my attack for laying down the watercolor.

Then begins my favorite part! Laying in COLOR! Mixing paint and laying it all in has always been the most satisfying to me in the creation process. This is where everything comes to life for me – and with watercolor, I’m always surprised and mystified by it’s beauty and lusciousness in the way it soaks into the page. And once my fun with paint is done drying, I bring in some ink, some pencil, some this or that… usually sharpening up the rendering.


I don’t know if others would call this part of their process – it’s certainly a necessary evil of mine – but once it’s “done” I still have to scan it in, clean up the scan, and do any post editing or color corrections necessary. It realllly is not my favorite part of the job, and there’s usually a large glass of moscato helping me along this stage of the game, but once all the file formats are saved, uploaded, emailed, and posted… I feel like I’m on cloud nine.

Next up on the blog tour of illustrators:

So, thank you for reading through! I’m excited to be passing along the torch here to someone who has continuously inspired me along my journey in becoming an artist: Grace Anderson of Red Pomegranate Creative Studio!

Grace was my first college roommate, and our friendship has been through it all over the last 8-9 years. I’ve lived with her twice, moved across an entire state to work alongside her as a Graphic Artist at a home decor company, talk with her daily (even though she now lives in Portland), and have seen her grow into an amazing woman of both artistic and altruistic virtue.

Her inking capabilities have always truly astonished me, and her painterly style in her oil paintings always capture a moment of truth. Please check out her illustration work here, like her on Facebook, read her blog, and let’s keep the illustration blog tour a moving!

I just wanted to thank Te one more time for picking me, and also wanted to link to the other wonderful and amazing illustrators who were before Te on the blog tour! I really think you should check them all out! There’s Laura Tibaquira (and her blog), Thyra Heder, and Denise Holmes, who also participated in the blog tour, and whose post I saw over on Facebook! Love this idea and love the illustration community coming together in support of each other! Much loves!

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Hello! Please remember that though your voice, comments, love (& even constructive critizisms) are welcome, this is a space for inspiration, support, & friendly conversation! I reserve the right to remove, or edit, any comments posted that are outrightly mean-spirited, use profanity, or are overtly self-promotional spam. Thank you so much for reading my blog & in helping me create a fun little corner of the web here! - xoxo Melody

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