Melissa Boardman is a Wellington-based illustrator whose work centres around her passion for the native birdlife of New Zealand. She finds the variety of birds found in New Zealand endlessly inspiring, and, while embracing the popularity of well-known native birds, she also strives to include the rarer and less accessible species in her work.
Melissa loves nothing more than being among nature. With camera in hand, she frequently visits wildlife sanctuaries, estuaries, and protected islands, both local to Wellington and all around New Zealand. She quietly observes and photographs birds in their natural habitats and finds that seeing birds in the wild helps her better understand what makes each bird so unique. She studies their behaviour so she can portray their characteristics through her work and uses her own experiences and photographs as inspiration for her illustrations.
Melissa creates her illustrations using gouache, an opaque watercolour, which suits her bold illustrative style. From her home studio in Wellington, she creates a range of locally made illustrated products and accessories, which all celebrate our beautiful native birds.
Melissa volunteers at Zealandia Ecosanctuary where she monitors the titipounamu / rifleman population, her favourite bird. She reads their leg band combinations and works with the conservation team to keep a map of where each bird is in the sanctuary. She enjoys the challenge of finding elusive birds, especially rare species, and by sharing her experience in nature on social media, she hopes to inspire others to care about our wildlife as much as she does.
Melissa Boardman at DWRF 2021:
Drawing the World
Story Time Double Decker Bus