Melanie Matthews creates these energetic and brightly-coloured animal characters from her base in Melbourne, Australia. With a mixture of expressive marks, she gets their personalities to pop out from the page, perfect for captivating her young audience.
We like the wide variation of mark making found in the details of her illustrations. You can see some dry, grittier marks at times, while elsewhere, the brush flickers around delicately. She tells us more about how she mixes it up and adds these lovely, tactile elements.
I work in a variety of fields but a lot of the work I do is for kids books/toys/games and advertising. My process starts on paper, where I sketch/write out ideas for whatever I am working on, and once I come up with something I’m happy with, I’ll take it onto the computer and into Photoshop to clean up the sketch. Then, depending on what my client needs, I’ll start laying out flat colours in either Photoshop or Illustrator.
Once the flat colours are all filled in I go back in with textures and line work.
The textures in my work consist of lots of different things, but most of them are scans of paint splotches. I use black acrylic paint to fill a sketchbook with all sorts of blotches, textures and shapes, and once they’re dry I’ll go through them and pick out the ones I like best.
Then I scan them and convert them into Photoshop brushes. I’ve also made brushes from photographs of textures too. Adding them to my illustrations is then a matter of ‘painting’ them in and blending them together until I get the look that I want. After the textures are all added, I’ll start drawing over the top of everything and adding all the final little details.
I work from a small studio located in the southern inner-city suburbs of Melbourne, which I share with an architect.
© Melanie Matthews. 2012