: We would love to hear a few things about who you are! Introduce yourself!
: Hi my name is Melodie Burns. I am an illustrator/wife/entrepreneur living it up in the countryside in Ontario, Canada. I love animals and you can tell firstly because the majority of my artwork includes creatures and I have a growing fur family of 2 dogs and 2 cats, soon to be 5 chickens! My artwork can be found on the cards that I create for my store Art of Melodious and let me tell you I love creating artwork for cards.
: You started Art of Melodious with homemade cards. Tell us a little about your background and how you got into creating cards and then starting your own shop selling them!
: Growing up I loved drawing and horses, so I drew, painted and rode horses. The great thing is I still do all those things!! In 2009 I graduated from Sheridan College with a Bachelor in Illustration, I had pursued post secondary education mainly to work on my traditional drawing skills, which I did, but I also expanded my breadth of creative outlets. These outlets after school led me to developing the style I use today for my cards today.
More about the cards now. Again growing up I made all my cards, cards for fathers day, mothers day, birthdays, wedding, Christmas, I even made my family’s Christmas cards every year to send to relative and friends. It was always something I loved doing, it was fun thinking up a funny idea for the recipient and getting creative with the artwork. Fast forward to me meeting my husband in 2011 (at the time bf) he encouraged me to take some of the artwork I had created on my own time and put them on cards. Honestly I had never considered greeting cards, even though I loved making them, my main goal was doing freelance illustration. But I decided to trust him and put out a couple designs and people loved them, and the rest is history haha. The more cards I create the more I loved them, it allows me to share my humour and connect people together. I hear a lot ‘oh that is so him’ or ‘haha that is so me’ It’s cool that people can see themselves in my artwork and also help bring people together.
: Your illustrations are so adorable and fun to look at! We noticed you love to illustrate animals and especially horses! What drew you to making most of your cards with animals on them?
: Funny this is a question because I couldn’t help but bringing up animals already. I LOVE them!! I wanted to be a vet or professional horse back rider growing up, so I was always drawn to animals so I decided to draw them haha. But I do find them really funny and have had funny experiences with them. Animals are very special and the relationship we can develop with them is special, whether it’s a past memory or a current experience we can all remember a time we felt close to a creature… even if it was a snake. I’m sure Noah would have had some funny things to tell us about the animals on the ark.
: You’ve now expanded from cards — to pins, prints, and you’ve even created coloring pages! What has it been like to see your business expand into new items? Favorite part about creating a brand new product?
: Oh man I love it! It’s so cool to see my artwork in different forms. When I started doing art prints, I loved how more details could be seen and when framed the artwork just stood out so nicely. Pins were the scariest because I had no idea how they’d turn out, I took forever choosing colours and perfecting the design. Once I had them completed it was so neat, it’s like my illustrations came to life in a different way because I was so used to seeing them in 2D. It’s really my favourite thing to come out with new pins, I can’t wait to do more. The colouring pages actually were a result of my pin designs, when someone buys a pin I give them a black and white postcard that they can colour. When I was a friend’s house her kids had coloured the postcard I have given them, she said they really loved colouring them. I saw how much joy they had and I wanted to share the love with anyone and used the postcard designs to create colouring pages that anyone can download for free. I wanted all kids or adults to have the opportunity to have fun colouring.
: We think cards are so important to give for special occasions, to show love/support, or to cheer someone up! What do you love about giving and also receiving cards? Do you have a favorite card of your own or a specific one of your cards that you love sending out to a loved one?
: I have always been a journaler and a note writer, if I can’t express something verbally I can in writing. And the best thing about a card is the meaning behind it and the guts (what is written in it). If you can find that special card that fits so well with someone and you can write an awesome little message, than it’s gold. But what if you can frame that card after, that’s even better!
My favourite cards are the ones my husband has given me because he choses nice ones and write nice messages in them. My personal fav card from my own collection is my Hay card (really I love them all) but my Hay I like you card was inspired from a year long project I undertook from the Year of the Horse in 2014, I actually drew a horse every day for the year and posted it to my instagram! SO #horsesfortheyear should have them all and the Hay card was one of them.
: A lot of your products are also funny and witty! How do you get inspiration to come up with card sayings and the images to go with them?! Any tips to get more inspired?
: I’m weird… haha um… either its an experience or I’m out and about and an idea will just hit me so I record it in my phone. Another way which is more reliable haha is I take out my sketchbook, settle somewhere comfy and start brainstorming ideas by doodling, making word maps and researching. It’ll start with me wanting, for instance, to create more love cards. So I write down ‘love’, than branch out to what does love mean, how do we show love, are there animals that are obviously lovey or do they do things that can be personalized. I try to push ideas to be clever, sometimes I’ll put one on the back burner and than go back to it a couple months later and am able to push the idea a little farther, than I know it’s ready. My focus wasn’t initially on funny cards but they really are the best to make and I naturally just gravitated to funny concepts, plus I saw people actually liked my humour so that helped.
A couple tips… 1) Always write or draw ideas down even if you don’t like them because they can possible become better or might help generate another better idea. A lot of the time a couple bad ideas have to come first to get the ball rolling. 2) Don’t try to copy someone else, it’s ok to look at others for inspiration but be you! That’s what will make what you do unique no matter what it is you do, plus you’ll be way happier… it’s harder to try and be someone else. 3) Pay attention what you are drawn to, what do you find funny, what do you like, what do you find pretty, because most likely you’re not the only one. And record it in your sketchbook or idea book! (even if it’s “i like the way my soup looks in the evening light” haha)
: What is the process like of turning one of your illustrations into a card image, print, or even a pin! How does your finished product get created?
: My illustrations no matter what start in pencil or pen in my sketchbook, I’ll play around with the pose or design till it works. Than I redraw it cleaner (unless my sketch was super awesome) and scan it to my computer. Once in my computer I take scanned textures I created into a computer program and collage them together adjusting them to the right shades, etc till they look just right 🙂 The pins are little different I take my sketch into Illustrator and redraw it into a vectorized artwork, than I choose Pantones for the colours and send it off to my maker. The pin artwork seems easier but it’s not, first I’m not a lover of illustrator and it takes much longer (for me at least) to create nice line work with all different pretty weights.
: What has the been the biggest surprise or most exciting thing to happen since starting Art of Melodious?
: That people actually love my artwork. I went through a personal tough period after school and found it hard to create any artwork. I had lost the joy in creating amongst other things. But when I started creating artwork for cards, I found my joy again. Like I said before it’s not like anything I had experienced, I had so much fun creating artwork for card and in a way it helped heal me.
: What do you see for the future of Art of Melodious? Any upcoming projects or current goals?
: I can’t wait to start experiencing new things to add to my card designs, like when or if I have kids I’m sure I’ll discover a lot more humours things in life. I want to keep growing my business across the world, I’d love to have stockists in the UK and Australia and more in the states and heck more in Canada haha! It’s fun seeing my product in shops and seeing people being able to enjoy my joy. I would say goal making is something I need to improve on haha being self-employed you need to wear many hats which means there are many skills that don’t come naturally that I’d like to push myself to do. Like for instance actually create a newsletter, yup seems easy but this is a goal I do have.
: Any advice for other creators out there?
: If you are feeling overwhelmed you are not alone, it’s ok not to be superman/superwoman (we are humans not aliens) and time to rest is so important. I find I can fill up my work plate so much but not actually take time to eat. Take a break and go outside, inspiration surrounds us every day. Oh and give yourself a little hug for making such cool stuff.
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