Portrait by Domenique Serfontein

Hello! I’m Melissa Culhane, and illustrator and animator based in Co. Westmeath, Ireland. I’ve recently graduated from my BA (hons) Animation and made A Quack Too Far. My background is in architecture and digital design, and my main theme of work is based around nature.

I work with a combination of hand drawing and digital design. I always want to incorporate a hand made feel to my work as a way of connecting with the viewer and also to tell the story of the how the work is made.  For me, everything starts with drawing and I work through drawings to figure things out.

I’ve been working as an illustrator for the last few years and one of the highlights has to be the number one bestselling book Naturama and the companion pocket book, My Naturama Nature Journal, co-created with the brilliant writer Michael Fewer.  Other big commissions are the large scale illustration in Dublin’s Docklands – 55 metres of an Irish Wildlife scene on Benson Street, commissioned by Dublin City Council, and a digitally designed mural for the UX Design Institute in the Digital Hub.

I teach digital illustration in small groups every couple of months (I’m an Adobe Certified Expert in Illustrator). I also facilitate a variety of art workshops for children and adults and many of them centre around cultivating a love of nature. Some examples of past workshops include nature journalling, making art maps, nature printing, wildflower sketch walks, urban sketching, and making nature mobiles.

Watch me on TV talking about Naturama (2016) and how I draw.


B.A. (Hons) Animation (2.1) Coláiste Dhúlaigh College of Further Education/ University of Wolverhampton, 2019
Cert. Animation (2.1) Pulse College/ Griffith College, 2018
Cert. Entrepreneurship (1.1) National College of Ireland, 2011
M.A. Digital Media Technology (2.1) Dublin Institute of Technology, 2010
B.Sc. Architecture, University College Dublin, 2006

Selected Exhibitions/Screenings

Animated Short Film – A Quack Too Far

  • Athens Animfest, Greece (2020)
  • Cambodia International Film Festival (2020)
  • Moscow Irish Film Festival, Russia (2020)
  • Chicago Irish Film Festival, USA (2020)
  • Bucheon International Animation Festival, South Korea, including Q & A (2019)
  • Anim!Arte – International Student Animation Festival of Brazil (2019)
  • Kamyanets-Podilsky’s Film Festival “BRUKIVKA”, Ukraine (2019)
  • Culture Night at The Dock, Leitrim, including a “making of” presentation and Q & A (2019)
  • 31st Galway Film Fleadh, Irish Talent Short Animation category (2019)

Illustration – Solo

Íontas Arts Centre, Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, Naturama solo exhibition (2017)
Bí Urban, Stoneybatter, Co Dublin, Naturama solo exhibition (2017)

Illustration – Group

NoFixedAbode, group exhibition, Copper House Gallery, Dublin (2017)
Print, Fumbally Exchange, group exhibition, Dublin (2017)
Transformation, group exhibition, #100daysofbicycles, Fumbally Exchange, Dublin (2015)
Elementals, group exhibition, Fumbally Exchange, Dublin (2015)
Xmas Exhibition, group exhibition, Bernard Shaw, Dublin (2014)
Blot, Children’s Book Exhibition, group exhibition, Little Green Street Gallery, Dublin (2012)

Video Art installation – Dream in a Landscape, and others

Bring your own Beamer, video art festival, with Woven Skull, IMOCA studios, Dublin (2011)
Contemporary Art and the Moving Image, Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast (2011)
Galway Art’s Festival, group screening, Galway (2011)
Sanctioned Array, group screening, White Box, New York City (2010)
Everyone Has A Different View, Playhouse, Nottingham (2010)
Expanded Architecture at the Festival of Architecture, Sydney (2010)
International Digital Art Festival, National Academy of Arts, Sofia (2010)
Videogram, Limerick (2010)
Darklight X, Dublin (2009)

Documentary short film – Bike Love – Directed and Edited

Cork Bicycle Festival (2009)
Kerry Bicycle Festival (2009)

Photos by Maiden Moose/Domenique Serfontein