Melanie Grandidge

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With a loose expressive ink line and bright watercolour marks, my illustrations are positive and light-hearted in aim of putting a smile on people’s faces. Picture books and storytelling have always been at the heart of what illustration means to me, so I took the opportunity in my final year to focus on creating a full colour 32-page picture book. The story is inspired by my experience growing up in a quiet British seaside town, eating fish and chips and observing seagulls causing havoc. My imagery was inspired by both my hometown of Southport and drawing trips to Anstruther and Portobello. In the story, a timid little seagull learns the importance of not succumbing to his peers after being pressured to steal from Bill’s fish and chip van by the other mischievous seagulls.

My projects often begin with and are heavily influenced by painting on location. I love going on drawing trips as they enable me to capture the energy and atmosphere of the scene and bring more character into my final pieces. Sometimes a final piece can come straight from these trips such as my collection of watercolour paintings from my visit to Anstruther, on the Coast of Fife. Sometimes they can go further and inform my final piece, such as my print for the Wool Gathering exhibition.

Spending time drawing in the Jazz Bar in Edinburgh led me to create an A2 three-layer screen print depicting a girl finding a trumpet and imagining herself playing in an orchestra when she is older. I have found that I really enjoy bringing my love for music into my illustrations, so this is a theme I am continuing to develop in my work.

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