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Melissa McFeeters


Duration: I started freelancing fulltime in 2012.

Education: BFA in graphic design from Tyler School of Art.

Influences: Tetris, Philadelphia history, Italian Renaissance art, mythology, Lane Smith (The Stinky Cheese Man era), Ghostwriter, RuPaul, mid-century illustration, science book diagrams, stamps and other ephemera.

First big break: Although it was a small publication, working in-house at a magazine was huge. Having to create illustrations and infographics so regularly strengthened my skills as a designer and opened the door to so many other opportunities.

Work environment: I split my time between my apartment in Fishtown and my shared studio in a converted textile mill in Kensington. We’ve got these huge windows and doors that open out to the street from the second floor, so the studio is a dream in the spring and fall, but can be brutal in high summer and deep winter. It’s the price I pay for a studio with cheap rent!

Technique: When I started illustrating I used chalk pastels and Photoshop to create what was essentially a digital collage. Since then, I’ve slowly phased out the chalk pastels because a lot of my illustrations got too detailed and small to pick up on that specific pastel texture. I still use Photoshop, but most of my textures come from a library of existing files that I go back to again and again.

Philosophy: It’s complicated.