In Meagan Meli’s portfolio: A Forest Princess, Cyclops & Valentine

Meagan Meli’s creations contain a potpourri of themes, imagery and cultural references. Her illustrations can be playfully dark and scary in an Edward Gorey way. Yet no design elements are left stranded. They relate to each other by way of complementary colors, placement and equal doses of quirkiness.

“Valentine” by Meagan Meli

There’s the juxtaposition of the human heart next to floral Victorian shapes. There are hippy era mushrooms, a Native American-dream-weaver, Day of the Dead and woman-as-wolf symbols. Canines, feminine skeletal parts, beaks and third eyes are found in her works as well.

“Cyclops” by Meagan Meli

“Meagan is well into the process of developing a unique visual communication style,” says Chair of Illustration Ed Soyka. “She has a very personal approach. It appears she’s really benefited from a fine arts foundation.” 

“‘Cyclops’ is disturbing and arresting and thought-provoking,” says Illustration Professor Dan Shefelman of Meli’s illustration. It has a copper plate acid etching feel to it.”

Meli considers it to be her most “bizarre and gruesome” piece. “This is based on a real congenital disorder called Cyclocephalus, otherwise called a Cyclops,” she says.

“Dream” by Meagan Meli

In another work, a knotted bunch of wildflowers fits in delightfully beneath a skeletal torso. At the bottom pelvic area of the torso there are two fingers touching in an “Om” shape.

“I combined my favorite types of imagery into one piece to make my “Dream” illustration into something special,” said Meli.

“Forest Princess” by Meagan Meli

“I saw this woman’s face in my head for a while before I drew her,” says Meli about “Forest Princess” (above). This is more of a sketch but I worked hard enough to say that it is a finished piece!”

Meli, who is completing her BFA in illustration, received her AAS in fine arts at FIT. “They are different worlds,” she says of the two disciplines. “Going from working abstractly to the push to working very tightly is a leap!

“Experiences in my major have helped me find who I am as a young, developing illustrator. Professors John Nickle, Don Sipley, and Dave Devries contributed to the illustrator I am today. They are incredible talents.”

“Barn Owl” by Meagan Meli

“‘Barn Owl’ is the most popular from a series of five called “Osteology of an Animal,'” says Meli.

“I can’t believe how far I’ve gotten in two years,” she says. “I can’t wait to see what becomes of me after these final two years in the FIT Illustration department!

To see more of Ms. Meli’s work visit her website at: and on Instagram

Photos used with permission.

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One Response to In Meagan Meli’s portfolio: A Forest Princess, Cyclops & Valentine

  1. sue willis says:

    How extraordinary Meagan! You’ve grown enormously as a draftswoman and your concepts are straight to the point, communicated in a concise, unhindered manner.Rachel Ellner writes beautifully about the symbolism and playful eeriness of your works. I’m also warmed by the pathos you provoke–“Barn Owl” is, among other things, a sad tribute to the majestic animal that once was, and it touched me deeply.

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