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Daily Inspiration: Meet Melinda Hendrix

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melinda Hendrix.

Hi Melinda, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I first got into art out of boredom. In elementary school, I had many years of unenthusiastic teachers who left the class to their own devices. To fill the time, I began to draw. As my pencil etched the paper, I could imagine new worlds, new characters and escape the doldrum of the classroom. By the time I was in middle school, you could not put a blank piece of paper in front of me without a drawing emerging on it. As I got older, my love for reading and history also grew and I began to translate what I imagined in my head to paper. I became more attentive to the literature we had to read in high school and began drawing the characters. I was particularly fond of period horror and science fiction like “Frankenstein,” “Jekyll and Hyde” and H.G. Wells stories. For months, I would go through obsessive phases where a book, TV show, or movie would inspire me and it was all I could think about and draw. The more obsessed I was, the more emboldened my imagination became, the more I dreamed of creating my own characters and worlds. By the end of high school, I was determined to not just let art be a hobby but my profession.

I was largely self-taught for a large part of my childhood. I did not even have a proper art class until I was a junior in high school. College was an exciting time to have the skills I had cobbled together all my life, forged and refined through dedication training and hard work. I was introduced to the world of animation and 3D modeling and I immersed myself in every opportunity to learn a new skill. I had many amazing professors and mentors to guide my path as I tried to find my way to a specialty that would match my wild and wandering aspirations. With the support of my parents, sister and mentors, I settle on illustration with an emphasis in entertainment arts. My concept creations deal mainly in sci-fi and historical fiction taking many of my early influences and incorporating them into my current work. Now that I have finished my education, I am now transitioning to utilizing my skills and passions I have spent my life pursuing in the animation and video game industry. It is exciting to see all the possibilities and nothing makes me happier than to see the spark of joy in others who are inspired by my work.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
My journey to deciding to become an artist was fairly easy but the struggle to find where I fit in has been a constant battle. For many, school is that perfect time when you can explore different avenues and career paths to find that perfect artistic knitch. However, while my friends seemed to easily fall into one specialty or another, I was struggling to understand what role my art was meant to fill. I had no clue had to market myself. What was my dream job? Who was my audience? These were questions that plagued me constantly. All I ever needed to feel fulfilled was to create a story or finish a painting that inspired others. In a way graduating during COVID has been a good thing because it has given me a chance to step back and look at my work objectively without the stress of having to produce for class assignments. With renewed confidence, I am looking for new opportunities to use my talents and skill to help others realize their worlds through concept and character art.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a freelance illustrator and concept artist who specializes in semi-realism and characters. My favorite projects delve into sci-fi or historically inspired aesthetics. As a history lover, research is one of my favorite parts of being a concept artist. Finding new ways to reimagine or modernize old designs is always exciting. I’m known for my male character illustrations and creating moody but colorful artwork. I am most proud of my passion project, “Variant,” a science fiction-fantasy action epic I wrote and illustrated for my senior portfolio. I am very excited about it and continuing to develop it. What sets me apart is the unique immersion my artwork provides to my viewers. When someone is lost and entranced by one of my illustrations or characters, I know I have accomplished my goal.

What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned along your journey?
The most important lesson I’ve learned throughout my growth as an artist is don’t let your insecurity stop you from pursuing your dream. Often, I’ve found that I am the main obstacle getting in the way of fulfilling my potential. That feeling of being underqualified, thinking “I’m not good enough now but I’ll get better and try again later.” That fear of disappointment can be debilitating. But, if you never put yourself out there, nothing can come of it! It is best to lift up your head, knowing you have done your best, and take a leap of faith in everything you do. There is no harm in trying!

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