Hi! I’m Mel
Illustrator & Surface Pattern Designer
A little bit about me. My journey. My career.
Born and raised in New Zealand, at the tender age of 16 I moved to Australia to pursue a career in ballet. I trained at the Australian Ballet School in Melbourne and went on to dance for both the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the Australian Ballet.
My ballet career was short-lived after a serious injury left me unable to dance. I went on to discover other ways to be creative working as an actor, graphic artist and web designer for many years before discovering illustration and surface pattern design.
After 27 years in Australia, I moved with my partner and two young kids back to New Zealand to enjoy a slightly different lifestyle closer to my family. Here, my studio looks out over the beautiful Wellington Harbour, whilst gathering inspiration from the incredible wildlife New Zealand has to offer.
In 2016, I won the Make it in Design scholarship (2016) and signed up with art agent Advocate Art. I love working both traditionally and digitally and my illustrations have appeared globally on products such as shoes, greeting cards, journals, fabric, stationery, phone covers and baby products.
In 2018 I ventured into children’s illustration. My first children’s picture book, published by New Frontier Publishing was released in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and USA and won the 2020 Rubery Book Award (Children’s category). I’ve since illustrated over 15 books for publishers such as Scholastic UK, Harper Collins and Random Penguin House.
I am also honoured to have a top teacher badge at Skillshare. Top teachers rank among the top 1% of teachers on Skillshare so it’s an absolute honour to be included amongst such talent. With close to 30,000 students, it’s been a pleasure sharing my process and my skills with the rest of the design community. I get such a thrill from watching other artists build their own careers. You can view my Skillshare profile here.
My signature course The Art & Joy of Surface Pattern Design, launched in May 2022 with over 100 students and is helping to build the careers of some very talented Surface Pattern Designers.
Thank you for visiting my website. I hope you find your own inspiration from my inspiration.