Why I do What I do
Imagination has always been a driving force throughout my life. I once imagined myself to be a future Forensic Psychologist! But after a year long internship, I realized the job was not nearly as glamorous (or creepy) as it sounds.
I finally found a way to combine my whimsical, and often dark imagination, with my love for drawing and received an MFA in Visual Development from the Academy of Art University in 2009. Now I use my greatest strength to help bring ideas to life as a Visual Storyteller through concept art and illustration.
My method for concept design is steeped in research – first in the story, then the stories and historic events that inspired it, and finally in visual inspiration. To create believable worlds and characters, it is important to equip oneself in the knowledge that inspires the story. Then to create my designs, I research the functionality of the props, environments, characters, and creatures to make them believable. If Story is King, Function is Queen.
Melissa currently serves as a Professor of Illustration at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Atlanta. She mentors the next generation of concept artists and visual storytellers by challenging them to push their skills to the next level, paying forward what she has learned in creature, character, prop and environment design while driving home the importance of story and function. When she has time and between quarters, she develops her own world building projects and stories. When she isn't developing her own world, she is exploring other through her love of film and animation, walking through her neighborhood, or hiking in the woods.
Melissa resides in Powder Springs, GA with her husband, 3 little time thieves (children... I mean children...) she calls "Little Howellers", a cat, and a small crazy dog.