Hello friends! Today I thought I’d share some thoughts on names, personality, creativity & a little bit about my reasons for illustrating “Is There Enough?”! Be sure to click on the jump below to read on!
We don’t really get to choose our own names, you know? Sometimes I wonder if I had gotten to name myself, what my name would have been… I’m an artist, an illustrator – I’m drawn to design and creative storytelling; my personality and very nature exudes and bubbles over with creative energy —
But whenever I think about what it’d be like to have a different name (possibly something more artistic; Sienna, anyone?), I realize how much my name actually is very representative of who I am.
I must admit that when I was growing up, I was almost always the only Melody in the room. And that did give me a unique edge amongst the Melanie A., B. and C.’s. I was named after my mom’s singing voice, as she studied opera in college & has an absolute affinity for music. I used to fall asleep to my dad playing guitar, & would wake up to my mom humming, but even though music was a constant in my life… I never could hold a tune or play any instruments.
It used to bother me, too. When I’d introduce myself, I’d say, “I’m Melody, like a song,” but then add, “No, I can’t sing.” At a certain point, however, the bitterness subsided as I found my own path in life, & the fact that I couldn’t live up to the literal meaning of my name didn’t matter anymore. Instead, I completely embraced my name.
My name is an extension of myself, it’s symbol of who I am: I’m a Melody, I’m a song of feminine sweetness, of frivolous gaiety, of artistic creativity. I live to tell illustrative stories that touch the heart and bring imagination to life.
Each artwork or illustration flows from me. Each piece is a melody from my soul, & together they comprise my symphony. I am the instrument, the musician, the conductor, the composer. Each subject I draw, each line, each color, each picture I paint, a conscious musical note.
Not all melodies are happy nor blissful all the time, though, and I’ve surely known sad times in my life. In time I’ll share all of my stories with you – I feel that those types of experiences give us depth as humans, & as artists I feel like there’s at least some responsibility to share those human experiences with each other.
Even though I love to focus on happy children’s illustrations most of the time now – my past experiences, my disability, and the injustices I see in this world, inform my work with a sense of sobriety, responsibility, & too, a constant gratefulness for all the little things (& big things) that are good. The things that are positive and bring about positive change.
That’s actually a big reason why I fell in love with Faye Hartzell’s story “Is There Enough?”. The story deals with a little boy named Noah who is concerned and worried about whether or not there will be enough room for his new baby brother – and without spoiling the amazing response only a mother can give, the moral of the story is so honest, true, and real to humanity.
A big concern early on for me getting into the project was not wanting Noah’s fears to rub off on the reader through the illustrations. I wanted the reader to empathize with Noah, but to see that Noah’s family and world surrounding him was one of love and safety – and really, the story is a journey of Noah’s to seek answers, but to also find relief.
Which is why I made the conscious decision to show the family home, and the rest of the family, as supportive, loving, excited, bright & cheerful (it also doesn’t hurt that it’s based on a true story, & in real life – Faye’s family is all those things and so much more amazing than that!).
And sometimes, I think we all just want to know that things are going to be okay when worry and fears take hold of us.
There’s a bird who lives in the trees outside the studio, whose melody reminds me of myself – happy, sweet, & hopeful. It’s a lovely calling of cheerfulness, & every time I hear it I smile, even on the mornings that I’m in bed with another migraine – because it’s as if he knows I just need to hear some encouragement & that I’m not all alone.
There’s still so much I can’t wait to share with you here on my little virtual sanctuary, but I think ending on a happy note is as good a place as any for today.
What’s your name, friend? Have you ever thought another name would suit you or your personality better? Or have you always felt comfortable with your name? What importance does it signify to you? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments! I’d love to hear what you think!