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Melissa Douglas (Let me illustrate)
Posted On 7 July 2021
Melissa Douglas, also known as Kittykatmaniac, or Kitty for short, is a 2D artist known for neon art and their love of villains. They have been an artist for almost 30 years and will continue to be for many more years to come. Currently, Melissa is a full-time toy designer, but is still always open to freelance work, especially for boardgame illustrations. Melissa has got a dorky cat named Venom, after one of their favourite comic book characters.
“Hi everyone! My name is Melissa Douglas, but I’m better known as Kittykat Maniac or Kitty.
“I’ve only recently become a board artist thanks to Book of Villainy, but I’ve been a professional illustrator for over 15 years.
“I suppose I became a board game artist because, well, it was something new. I’ve actually never illustrated a board game until last year, but I’d happily do it again.
“The art style I’m best known for is… it’s a little bit difficult to call. I have so many. I’ve been known to draw on really cute and colourful characters like stuff right out of a Lisa Frank colouring book, but I could also draw like really creepy and ominous stuff. So I kind of like to keep people on their toes. I don’t want people to think that I have just one specific style, but I suppose if I had to have a signature style, most people would recognize my work based on the colours that I use. I’ve got a lot of bright neon colours. I love using neon in my work. I think that if you’ve seen my stuff you’d point out, you’d know how to point me out if it’s got a lot of neon colours in it.
“The bit that I’m most proud of in the Book of Villainy is the diversity. I’m so glad that there was a collection of different ethnicities and styles. Fortessa and Andrew were really awesome in letting me explore different avenues and they super encouraged me to keep the characters diverse. So huge props to them.
“I’d say that I like creating art that makes people feel a number of emotions, like depending on the subject matter of course. I usually get like happy and excited feedback from people who share similar interests in colour. For those who are a little bit, who are a little unaware of my horror stuff, I get a lot of unease and like sometimes I get a little creeped out with the work that I make, but I suppose that’s what I’m going for. I want you to feel like you can keep looking at my work and never get bored of it, like there’s always something new you can find in the piece.
“My inspiration is another hard thing to pinpoint. Sometimes there’s days that I can’t draw for beans and I’m sure every artist has been there, but then there’s times where I’ll wake up at like 2 am in a cold sweat and just paint a unicorn shooting lasers out of its eyes. I don’t know where that comes from. It’s out of nowhere. It’s out of the blue. I wouldn’t be able to tell anybody how my artistic process really works. If anybody else has it figured out, please let me know. I have a lot of questions. I think at one point I was chugging cans of Red Bull and just belting out art for conventions, but I don’t remember a lot of the art I made during that time so I wouldn’t recommend caffeine as inspiration. Stay hydrated folks!
“Since Book of Villainy was my first board game, I learned a lot at once, but the most important thing I think I learned was that you’re going to make a lot of mistakes and there’s going to be a lot of things that get in the way, but you really have to push through. There are times where I was just, like I don’t know if this looks right, I don’t know if I’ve drawn exactly what they’re looking for, but a lot of communication and a lot of back and forth, we got it down and that was really helpful making the board game.
“I think the most challenging part of it for me was keeping the style consistent. Sometimes my hand deviates and it got a little difficult, but I managed to wrangle my hand back to the right path. We got it all tied together which I really appreciate Andrew and Fortessa‘s patience with me on that.
“Book of Villainy took a solid four months of work, I think, if I try to condense it. I really poured myself into it. If anyone knows me, I love drawing villains, so I really wanted to put my best work forward for that project.
“In my view, more board game artwork, like, I feel like you should use a lot of… It depends on the person obviously, like it’s whoever is drawing the piece, whoever is drawing it, whoever is commissioning the work, you know what you want. Personally, I like using bright colours, not that I’m biased or anything you know.
“I have so many artists that I admire. Oh man, the list is so long. I can see a few of their usernames of like artists that I follow religiously. I’m not going to list them all here because I, oh my gosh, I have like a big book of artists who I admire. The top ones from my head: BiggsRegretty, TheBlueBear27, Variouvery, DoodleLust. Oh my gosh, there’s so many, there’s so many I can’t name them all. I’m sorry guys. I hope I can give a list somewhere. I have so many people who keep me drawing every day. I look up to them a lot.
“My favourite colour, uh, is it possible to have a favourite colour anymore? I have a favourite colour palette. It’s usually like dark almost monochrome colours with one pop of neon colour, like usually a bright blue, green or pink. I have a favourite colour palette, like that’s my palette. I can’t. Nobody has a favourite colour anymore. How can you pick just one?
“If anyone else wanted to become a board game artist I told them go for it, of course. I had so much fun helping with the Book of Villainy, like being new to the board game scene. I knew I was going to make a few mistakes, but I would suggest to anybody else trying to get into board game illustrations, uh, know yourself, know your style, keep your head up, even if you feel like you’re making a couple of mistakes. People are willing to work with you and you’re among friends and if you have fun making the game, it’ll show, people will notice.
“Anyone who wants to get in touch with me can usually find me at Kittykat Maniac, that is k-i-t-t-y-k-a-t-m-a-n-i-a-c on, uh, pretty much any platform. I’ve gotten really busy in the past few months working in a new and awesome job designing toys, uh but I’ll do my best to answer when and where I can. I really do hope that everybody enjoys Book of Villainy. I, god, it’s such an awesome game. Have a groovy time playing it. Hey, if you like it, let us know. Oh yeah, let us know which villain you picked and hey thanks for supporting the project. I really do hope you have a great time.