Meet Mel Valentine Vargas

h1 February 18th, 2020 by jules


I’m breaking my own rules again here at 7-Imp. Normally, I feature illustration students on the first Sunday of each month, but hey, I feel like featuring one day. So I am.

Meet Mel Valentine Vargas! They are, as they will tell you at their site, a Chicago-based Latinx illustrator and comics-creator. Mel, as explained below, is currently attending Columbia College Chicago, studying illustration and animation. Mel likes inking illustrations with brush pen work, and they also enjoy exploring new ways to detail and texture their work digitally.

I’m turning the site over to Mel to show us their work and talk a bit about plans (including an upcoming debut book!). I thank them for sharing here today. (If you want to see even more, don’t forget Mel’s site. And their Instagram feed is @onlinevalentine.)

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Mel: I’m a first-generation American. My parents and all my family are from Cuba, and I was the first person in my family to be born in America. As a result, I speak Spanish and English, both fluently. I’m currently 22 years old and in my final semester of college at Columbia College Chicago, class of 2020. At Columbia, I study Illustration and minor in animation, specifically stop motion. My main focus is comics. That is my dream job, and that is what I love to do.



Mel’s two-page auto-bio comic


I table at conventions several times a year, because I love to meet new people and present my work in person. I will be attending the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) this year, as well as many other comics festivals, including the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE).


(Click to enlarge)


I will have a book coming out this Spring [pictured below]! It is self-published, and I will release it with a gallery show and a book signing. The book is about growing up with Cuban food. It’s an important and dear topic to me, so this is a project I care a lot about.


(Click cover to enlarge)


I’m Queer. This is also a very important factor in my work, because I try to make sure that my work can resonate with all kinds of people. I want to create work that I needed to see as a child. It’s imperative to me that my work helps someone feel just a little less alone.


(Click image to enlarge)



An excerpt from one of Mel’s comic diary entries from summer 2019;
see more here at her site




Pictured above: Some character designs
(Click second and third images to enlarge)


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All images reproduced by permission of Mel Valentine Vargas.

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