Timeouts are lightning-quick interviews, questions to help you get to know the players holding court at Dribbble. Thanks to Melanie for being today’s interviewee.
Melanie curates Badass Lady Creatives. We hopped on her bandwagon earlier this year, adding a Badass Lady Creatives section to the Weekly Replay. For her Timeout, we tacked on a sixth question so she could tell us more about the project.
Who are you? Let us know where you hail from and what you do.
I’m Melanie Richards, currently the senior web designer at Fuzzco in Charleston, SC. I mostly design and develop websites — thanks to a hobby I picked up when I was eleven-ish — but I also get to work on some fun branding projects at Fuzzco. Before Fuzzco, I was essentially a front-end web developer at Grooveshark, and studied graphic design at the University of Florida (fantastic program, would recommend). I run Badass Lady Creatives, a blog and directory which celebrates women working in the creative industries. I also keep a poetry and prose blog called Sedimentary.
What are you working on?
At Fuzzco, I’m working with a blend of local and national clients. Otherwise, I’m currently trying to step up my illustration game and explore some new styles. I have a few project ideas on deck — I am the queen of coming up with a kajillion projects and never doing them — including an illustration series on buildings in Charleston.
Choose a favorite shot of yours. Tell us why it’s a favorite.
Most of the shots on my personal Dribbble account are quick exercises, so this one is special because it was a really fun, slow labor of love. The shot is a crop from my poster for Joshua Krohn's The Just Love Project, and it features some of my favorite plants, along with some other little guys from around my neighborhood.
Tell us about your setup. What tools did you use to create the shot (e.g. hardware, software, pens, paper, blowtorch)?
My home workspace is pretty spartan. I’ve been terrible about hanging things up in this current house, so next I’ll be building some shallow shelves to display zines (which are way cooler than prints).
For this particular shot, I probably used the least efficient method possible: I gathered some references from life and the internet, then inked each plant over and over until I was satisfied with the shape. I used a size 2 brush, and the ink was Speedball India Ink. For a more opaque effect, I would use acrylic ink, but I really wanted this poster to feel more natural than graphic.
I scanned in the drawings, pieced them together in Photoshop, then used the Color Range tool to remove areas around the design. I half-toned the design so that the varying opacities would show up in the screen-printed poster, then erased any leftover speckles of paper texture.
Choose a favorite shot from another player. Tell us why you dig it.
I really, really love when Eileen Tjan does weird stuff. This is the third in a series of melty self-portraits that I find unsettling in a great way.
With Badass Lady Creatives, you’re entering the ongoing discussion about women in creative/tech by showing, rather than telling. Can you talk about the genesis of the site, and how it’s been received so far?
I started BALC in Spring 2013, when there were various bits of gender-based drama flying around the industry. For me, the discussion is bigger than gender: It’s really about making all people feel welcome in the design industry. It’s about sharing the limelight with the greatest variety of talented people; featuring awesome women is just one way to do that.
The project started as a Twitter/Pinterest-only thing. In December I launched the website and started writing a weekly column for Design Work Life. That was an accidental lean-startup way to do this project, and I’m so happy with how it worked out.
Reception has been awesome! I was nervous that people might think the site was silly or unnecessary. (I’m sure that opinion is out there quietly). Most encouraging to me is when someone is excited to hear they’ve been featured on the blog/directory. I’m the kind of person who is admittedly bolstered by strong feedback (both positive and negative), so to encourage someone else is very, very gratifying.