Featured Creator - March // MELANIE J. MORGAN

March 17, 2018

   So - we've had both a multi-talented podcaster and musician here for my Featured Creator series, and guess who's here today to chat with us for this third installment? The incredible artist MELANIE J. MORGAN.

   I met this lovely human being through the Rooglewood writing contest (I've met so many awesome people through that contest, you guys <3), and I'm super excited for you guys to get to meet her! Shall we get started then?

Featured Creator - March // MELANIE J. MORGAN [post title image]

A few epic Melanie-things you should check out...

The Adder from Forgotten by Savannah Grace [artwork by Melanie J. Morgan]
an awesome sketch of my villain that Melanie did for me
go see Melanie's fantastic artwork at her ArtStation

her Facebook 

her YouTube

Savannah Grace: Heya, Melanie - I'm super excited to have you and all of your epic creativity on Scattered Scribblings today! What are a few quirks about yourself that people might be surprised to know?

Melanie J. Morgan: 1). If the world were made of only peanut butter, I'd eat the whole thing a bite at a time.
2). My favorite show is Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's, a spin-off of a show about children's card games and probably the most potent spiritually allegorical story I've ever seen (in its Native Japanese with English subtitles)...I can, have and will still play said children's card games.
3). I have a HUGE weakness for well-cared-for long hair on men, the strong, righteous silent type, motorcycles, epic power ballads in musicals, beautiful draft horses, fantasy armor, and cats in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of fluffiness (that last part isn't surprising at all...).
4). When I grow old, I'm probably gonna be that Granny who sits on her porch in the sunshine, knitting, listening to Skillet, and watching Pacific Rim.

Savannah: DRAFT HORSES, oh gracious <3. Good to see we already have something in common! :D Okay, so we already know you are an epic artist (I shared her drawing that she did of my villain from Forgotten in this post), but I'm dying to know - what are three of your favorite pieces of art that you’ve done?

"Always Come Back For You" by Melanie J. Morgan
'Always Come Back For You' by Melanie Morgan
Melanie: That's a hard one. Much of my stuff is close to me for different reasons. The Seabreeze collection thus far has the best and most interesting pieces, a few of them definite contenders for "Favorite", but, while not aesthetically my best work, "Always Come Back for You" holds a REALLY special place in my heart. The third, I'm not sure I could decide on. I love my storyboards, some better crafted than others ("Prince of My Dreams" is precious to me, even if it is old and drawn with tons of flaws, and features some AWESOME musical help, including my family's late kitty, who lent his ehm...unique vocal chords; and the ongoing "Etanun's Lament", which is portionally done and available to view, but it's a REALLY exciting project that's actually going to be redone and put into Animatic form with the help of some AMAZINGLY talented people). I know they're not "polished pieces" or anything, but they are very important to me. Also, I have a feeling some new "favorites" are in the works right now, so if anyone's interested, keep an eyeball out!

Savannah: Ooh, I love the Seabreeze collection like crazy, you did an amazing job with all of those pieces! What are your favorite mediums to use when drawing? 
Melanie: Well, my favorite classic medium is watercolors and ink. Yes, together, the soft vibrant colors contrasted with a stark black is just SO beautiful to me. Otherwise, I just use computer programs like Photoshop, Corel Painter, and Painttool Sai. I don't exactly have a lot of room for a ton of art supplies and having the "Undo" button is just SO useful. Plus, I'm super sketchy, so being able to clean up my work and separate it with lots of layers is super handy, so even I can party with the big boys and their clean, polished work...I mean, well, to an extent.

Savannah: To quite a large extent, in my opinion! I can paint about as well as a toddler and that's it, so I'm always incredibly impressed by anyone who can do gorgeous art like you can. Okay, and now I'm curious...who are some of your favorite artists whose art and creativity you admire?

Melanie: Glen Keane (Disney's supervising animator of The Beast and Ariel, mastermind behind Tangled), Tom and Tony Bancroft (Disney's supervising animator of Mushu and co-director of Mulan, respectively, they're both AWESOME) and Dominic Carola (head of production for Premise Entertainment) are the first to come to mind. They're SUCH wonderful, talented men with hearts for God who've helped my peers and I as students (Tony Bancroft even allowed me to interview him over the phone for my Making of a
"Etunan's Lament" by Melanie J. Morgan
'Etunan's Lament' by Melanie Morgan
Christian Leader course in college, he was SO fantastic and so gracious and did NOT need to help me as much as he did). 
I fell in love with Glen Keane's passion for the Lord that he poured into his work, I've shared his interview on the Beast's Transformation with every single person in which the topic of the film came up, and I still go back and watch it every time my creative heart needs a little boost. Just listening to him speak, you can feel the Lord's presence emanating off of him, and it's SO inspiring. If I can't meet him in this life, I can't wait to party with him in the next. Oh, and Michaelangelo and Auguste Rodin. Their work is gorgeous. Just flat out gorgeous.

Savannah: *gasps* You got to interview Tony Bancroft? That's incredibly cool - I bet you were on cloud nine, and he probably had some really neat this to say.  And what advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Melanie: DON'T. GIVE. UP. No matter what other people say, no matter what society tells you, do NOT let it have any power over you. Yes, you may think your stuff isn't as good as you'd like it to be right now, but MAKE NO MISTAKE. Someone out there in the world NEEDS your art. Not anyone else's. YOURS. You may never meet these people, you may never hear from them or even know they exist. But you were given a mission, and the work of your hands will touch someone's life in ways that are beyond your understanding. So whatever you do, don't give up. 

Seabreeze by Melanie J. Morgan
DO. NOT. COMPARE. Comparison is creativity's murderer. There's a reason that saying's a thing. Don't compare your behind-the-scenes to everyone else's highlight reel. Each person out there is just like you, with hopes and struggles and hurts. And each artist out there is a potential teacher for you. If you admire their work, learn from them, study their art, even ask questions (again, they're just like you, they're not that scary). And don't be intimidated by tutorials or other people's artwork in general. They are a teaching tool for you, learn from them. 
Encourage your fellow artists, those you admire and those you feel a rivalry with. Chances are, you could end up with a new, dear friend that you never would've had otherwise. Whatever you do, don't compare your stuff to theirs, that only opens doors for the darkness to get in, and your heart will only suffer for it, plus you might pass up the opportunity to make new friends. Befriending your peers and people in your future industry is a priceless thing. You can learn so much, and in return, as iron sharpens iron, you could be a positive influence on their lives.
Don't let yourself have an existential crisis over your "style". In your life, you'll learn different things from different artists. You tend to pick up on details you like about other artists' work, and all that mushed in together tends to become your style. So your style is an effect, not something you have to actively strive to create. Yes, learning a number of different styles and imitation of different styles is useful for work and visual communication, but if you fall in love with another artist's style, don't be depressed if you can't truly replicate it. You have your own path, your own story that is uniquely yours, that no one else can replicate. You'll be fine.

Savannah: ... whoa, okay, so I'm speechless now xD. Your answer was just <3. Seriously, how do I respond to something that epic? (except to say that I think all of that beautiful advice goes for ANY creative souls!) Thank you for that, Melanie. Now I'm inspired to go do something epic!

Alright, back to you - do you have any creative outlets besides drawing/art?
Melanie: I'm a storyboard artist by trade, so I'm basically the person between the script and what's on screen. I decide visually how the story is told and how it communicates to the audience. Soooo it's not too much of a stretch to imagine I'm a writer as well. I also knit scarves and make jewelry occasionally and I'm a costumer. I make costumes, props, and am working on learning costume armor right now. I've been working on costumes on and off for around 11 years, so I'm...decent at it, I suppose.

Savannah: GRACIOUS, 11 years? I bet the costumes you make are beautiful <3. And, from what I've seen at your writing, you are just as epic with words are you are with art! What genre do you like to write in? 

Melanie: I love worldbuilding, so it usually ends up being some sort of fantasy conglomeration? Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Traditional Fantasy, Cyberpunk, yada yada yada. Basically anything that's not set in our current world and super realistic and stuff. I think there's only one story in the works that does take place in our modern world, and I'm writing it with my best friend of 20 years, so it's got a special exception. I love pushing the envelopes of imagination and adventure and action and romance and intrigue and mystery and all that good stuff. I love creating new worlds and immersing people in them. I also won't deny my penchant for subtle, witty satire. Basically, I like a story that make its audience feel things, things that make your heart soar, mourn, squeal, sigh, and be thoroughly and completely satisfied by its end (And yes, I like all that stuff in one package, thank you).

Savannah: "soar, mourn, squeal, sigh, and be thoroughly and completely satisfied by its end" - did I mention that I'd DYING to read more of your work? Those are all the things that I adore in a book <3. What’s your favorite thing that you’ve written? A piece of fanart? A completed novel? A novella?   
The Mherking by Melanie J. MorganMelanie: Wait, something finished? Finished or not, how do I choose my favorite child?? Well, the only things that are COMPLETED stories (I have tons of unfinished things and fanfiction pieces strewn across the internet), are Seabreeze (a Goldstone Wood fanfiction) and A Snow White Short Story that may become a novel. I write under a pseudonym, so I don't wanna give too much away just yet. I have a fairy tale collection in the works (a collection of 7), a novel-length fanfiction piece I'll release online only, a slew of spin-offs, a trilogy, and a number of one-shot novels lined up...my goodness...
Usually my favorite is just whatever I'm working on at any point, then it just kind of joins my shelf of gold-guilded favorites when it's done (The shelf is just about empty right now because I've had a terrible time finishing things). Seabreeze, for instance, is something I love (also doubles in pieces of fanart category), though I know the story definitely has issues. I'm a big proponent of allowing a little room for imperfection in your old stuff. Imperfection is, well, human, so everything I create is so sentimental to whatever place I am in my life at the time I'm writing it. And looking back on it is like looking into the heart of another person, so I can't just choose an absolute favorite, because each thing I write is a window into myself, my past, my present, where I come from, and where I hope to go.

Savannah: And I just went back and read Seabreeze and GRACIOUS, my poor heart </3. That story is so gorgeous, I can't. Out of all the fanfiction I've ever read up to this point, Seabreeze is my absolute favorite. Okay, last question and we'll leave you to your epic creativity - who are three of your greatest inspirations, and why?
Melanie: Well, Yeshua of Nazareth (Yes, I'm weird and like His Aramaic), Creator, and Holy Spirit, obviously, I wouldn't be anywhere without Him. I went through some rough inner demons in my life and I say with absolute confidence I would no longer exist here without His love, inspiration, and faithfulness. Even just going outside and seeing his creativity, listening for His voice, and reading the greatest story of all--the one He wrote Himself, is enough inspiration for me. And that doesn't even BEGIN to cover how I feel listening to a good Worship song.
My mother. I know this sounds super cliché, but, well, historically I've had a hard time keeping friends. Very few of my peers have stuck with me through thick and thin, and those that have, they have their own lives now, their own families, so I always feel a little on the outside. I've always felt alone. My mother is the one person who has supported me and been with me through everything, the one human person I don't feel anxious talking to, the one human person I know won't leave me of her own volition. And she's given me so much inspiration to KEEP doing what I'm doing, no matter what horrible things I feel about myself.
Glen Keane, as I mentioned before. His zeal for the Lord and how that flows into his work as an animator, artist, and storyteller, oh MAN I hope the Lord can do that in my work someday. I don't mean being as "successful" or anything, I want my work to REACH people the way his work has. And his unwavering heart for God, oh JEEBERS, if I could choose any mentor in the world...

Savannah: Oh gracious, yes, Glen Keane's work is amazing - Tangled is an epic movie. And I LOVED what you had to say about your mom! Moms are some of the most amazing people in the world <3. Thank you so much for being here today, Melanie! It was epic getting to chat with you. You're an epic human being! Keep blessing the word with your talent <3. 

Melanie J. Morgan headshot

Melanie J. Morgan is an ambitious prairie dog living in the cornfields of Pennsylvania, oft masquerading as a storyboard artist and a writer who, in reality, oversees younglings who sell people popcorn in a theater of the film variety. The prairie dog has made her nest with a cowardly dog, a mischievous cat, and parents who tolerate her strange, hermitlike ways. She consumes stories as fuel (particularly any good, epic story of any medium that is not live action film/TV) and has a terrible habit of suckering her coworkers into doing vocals and music for her storyboards. It would be wise not to allow her to see your talents if you do not wish to be recruited. The prairie dog is deceptively devious.

   Guys - how incredible is Melanie? She's such an inspirational, sweet person, and her artwork is INCREDIBLE. I hope y'all had fun getting to hear from this lovely human being.

   Okay, a quick note before I sign off and let Melanie take over the comment section - I updated the My Writings pages with a new thing called The InnerCircle. I'd be pleased as punch if you guys would stop over and check it out ;).

   Alrighty, I hope you guys had fun reading that interview! I've got a ton more fun stuff coming up, so make sure to stick around ;).

~ Savannah Grace 

what's your favorite Disney movie?
chat with Melanie in the comments!