Megan Dobbyn

About Megan

My current practice is Illustration and the main body of my work focuses on the beauty of nature. A lot of the work I create centres around natural habitats and themes with a rooted interest in folklore and storytelling. Since working at Leeds Art Gallery I have had the opportunity to research and deliver talks about local art history and I have found a love for researching in the Leeds Library and finding out more about our city. I enjoy drawing people and want to bring my interest in social history and illustration together. As well as illustration I have also organised and taught community art sessions at schools and festivals such as Thought Bubble Comic Convention. I currently volunteer at the Drawing Room at Leeds Central Library, helping to facilitate creative events. I am interested in the way art can be taught to give people a voice and empowerment to express themselves and fight for political causes. 

I recently completed a degree in Illustration at Leeds Arts University and after graduating I developed my professional portfolio. My dad was a comic artist and my mum always bought me the most beautiful illustrated children's books from around the world. Growing up with a parent as a full time illustrator I never questioned it as a career and I was lucky to have that support at home.

One of my biggest achievements is painting a mural for Unipol Leeds. I love the idea of public art being accessible for everyone to enjoy. I'm also extremely proud to have designed a range of fathers day cards to be released in Sainsbury's this year.

My work is inspired by texture and shape, all stemming from a love of nature. However since being asked to do a talk at Leeds Art Gallery recently, I have become really interested in local history. Leeds's colourful past has really inspired my writing and personal research projects and I love using the family history room in Leeds Central Library. I am also very interested in engaging children with activism and the arts and exploring the ideas of informal family learning.

About the project

For this commission I am creating illustrated GIFs of women, from Leeds's history, who have made huge contributions to our city. I have chosen:

  • Barbara Hepworth, a female artist and pioneer of sculpture

  • Leonara Cohen, an outspoken suffragette and one of the first female magistrates 

  • Nicola Adams, A black, female boxer, and the first openly LGBT person to win an Olympic boxing Gold medal.

 

Alongside these illustrations I am going to write a short biography and create a free worksheet for families to download, with activities linked to each woman. It's important to me that my artwork can be both enjoyable and educational, and can help tell a bit more of the story of Leeds.

My project is based around the Digital Programme's theme of connection with our bodies. 

  • Barbra Hepworth’s work grew from a strong connection with her body and her mindful connection with her work. One of my favourite quotes of hers is ‘I rarely draw what I see, I draw what i feel in my body’. 

  • Leonora Cohen’s life's mission was built on her connection with her body and gender, and her fire to fight for the rights that body deserved.

  • Nicola Adams in an amazingly inspirational Black, bisexual women from Leeds, she was outspoken about the positive effects exercise has on women's mental and physical health.

IG: megdobbyn@illustration

megandobbyn.co.uk