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Melissa Gay



My inspiration for creating art comes from the natural world, both as explored through science, and as storied in myth and legend! I want my work to evoke that state of wide-eyed wonder we all viewed the universe with as children. To a child, reality itself is magic, and magic is everywhere!

I like for my paintings to have visible brush strokes and to look painted rather than smooth and realistic. Too much smoothness makes my teeth itch! I liken my space art to visions from a dream, or blurry views of impossibly distant civilizations through an ancient astronomer’s telescope. While my commercial illustrations have mostly been rendered on illustration board, my personal work is nearly always on canvas. Any extra texture is a bonus as far as I’m concerned! I prefer to work in acrylic, because it allows for quick drying and fast layering. I like to paint in many translucent layers to let the light bounce around inside the painting. I strive for atmosphere and texture that reward multiple viewings and let the viewer’s imagination become part of the story.

In my life as an illustrator, I have been a cover artist and interior illustrator of books and tabletop roleplaying games for about twenty years. My list of clients has included Baen Books, Llewellyn Worldwide, Hay House, Apex Press, and many tabletop roleplaying game companies. (Among the ENnie-award-winning and fan favorite games I have illustrated are the Dresden Files RPG, Fate Core, Part-Time Gods, Mermaid Adventures, Hero System, Over the Edge, Trail of Cthulhu, 13th Age, The Dracula Dossier, and Camp Myth.) I have won two Chesley Awards for my illustrations (“Offering”, 2018, and “Harvest”, 2019). My imaginative realist work has been featured in ImagineFX Magazine, io9,, and several of the Infected By Art anthologies. I’m a proud member of the Changeling Artist Collective and of ASFA, and I’m a co-founder of the Birdwhisperer Project.

Apart from drawing and painting, I am never happier than when in the woods hunting for secret waterfalls and climbing on rocks. Come visit me on the web at!

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