I use textured, handmade papers from all around the world—and my trusty #11 X-acto knife—to create many-layered, often humorous collages. The bold jazzy look of cut-paper illustration is perfect for many applications. With it, I have created art for children's books, book covers, editorial illustrations, ads, packaging, greeting cards, posters—even street banners.

Cut paper is an ancient craft—it has been used for thousands of years in many corners of the world. I am particularly drawn to the modern papel picado makers of Mexico, cutting intricate images, through ten or twenty sheets of tissue-thin paper with a sharp knife; the lacy, ink-tinged flower, bird, and glorious-worker paper cuts of China; and the ceremonial, symmetrical papirn-schnitz designs from the vanished shtetls of Eastern Europe. I am proud to follow in this way-outside-of-Western-art tradition.

Melinda Levine
Oakland, California