Author & Artist Corner: Artist

Kelly Murphy

While growing up in southeastern New England, Kelly Murphy was surrounded by an abundance of flora and fauna. It was not until recently that she became more fascinated with urban areas and their intricate mazes of buildings and streets. When illustrating these cityscapes, she resorts to the wooden building blocks she would play with as a young girl. Kelly loved to see how tall and uniquely shaped the buildings could get before eventually toppling over.

Kelly at age 7 
 Kelly at age 7


 Art Desk
Kelly's studio


Creating my Cricket Cover

Here are a few of the sketches I created while throwing around ideas for this month's Cricket. The editors were attracted by my mystical cityscapes, which they saw in my online portfolio, and asked me to create something similar, something fantastical with a Middle Eastern flavor, since since that was the setting for several of the issue's stories. 

I thought of Marduk's dragon. Marduk was the Babylonian name of a late-generation god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon. Dragon referenceThe mythical Dragon of Marduk, with scaly body, serpent's head, viper's horns, front feet of a feline, hind feet of a bird, and a scorpion's tail, can be seen on the famous Istar Gates. King Nebuchadnezzar ornamented the monumental entrance gate dedicated the goddess of love and war, and the processional street leading to it, with scores of pacing glazed brick animals. On the gate were alternating tiers of Marduk's dragons and bulls of the weather god Adad. Along the street were the lions sacred to Ishtar. All of this brilliant decoration was designed to create a ceremonial entrance for the king in religious procession on the most important day of the New Year's Festival.


Here's the progression into the final cover. Obviously, the Babylonian referrence was a bit too obscure, but still cool to research and learn along the way.



Final Cover 

Click "Add new comment" below to ask Kelly a question.

I've always wondered how you get the ideas for your covers. Is there someone giving you a theme, or do you have to get those ideas yourself?

submitted by Mary-Jane, age 13, Germany
(May 12, 2010 - 12:07 pm)

Dear Ms. Murphy,

      I love to draw and have recently discovered that I am pretty good at drawing old cartoon characters (the Jetsons, The Flinstones, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, etc.) Do you have any advice for me (on anything :) Thank you so much.

           ~Rachel M. 

submitted by Rachel M., age 12, Helotes, Texas
(July 2, 2010 - 7:55 pm)