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Work Samples

Melinda-Fabian-Iguana-In-the-Jungle.jpg

Iguana Paper Sculpture
I love the textures and shape of an iguana. In this 3D paper sculpture I had to experiment with many ways of creating the texture of the skin out of paper to capture his unique look. I didn’t want to just paint in the detail, I wanted the iguana to look real and feature him in his natural jungle habitat. The final piece is made completely from paper and was painted in watercolor and gouache. For his habitat, I created the tree branches and leaves out of paper and added realistic greens, yellows and oranges typical of the jungle.

Melinda-Fabian-Crab-On-the-Beach-Paper-Sculpture.jpg

Maryland Blue Crab
I created Crab on the Beach as a study in forming paper into life-like sculpture. As a Marylander, the blue crab is symbolic of the state and my goal was to capture the blue crab in all its glory. Each leg needed to be carefully shaped and formed, while the top shell had its own unique challenges. I paid particular attention to the detail of the mouth and eyes. After creating the paper shell, I painted the crab in true to life colors – yes, right from a blue crab. Finally, I made the sand out of paper as well.

Seahells_Melinda_Fabian.jpg

Paper Shells - 3D Paper Sculpture
The seashells are one of my favorite paper sculpture pieces. Yes, every shell and speck of sand is paper. Even people who see the piece in person can’t believe the shells aren’t real and only made from paper. The ridges in the shells are not an optical illusion - I formed each ridge in the paper. The sand dollar required special attention to get the desired realism. The final piece was then painted in watercolor and gouache to highlight the true colors in the shells.

Melinda-Fabian-Giraffe-Paperr-Sculpture.jpg

Nelly
Nelly is a three dimensional paper sculpture of a giraffe. Nelly was inspired by a trip to the zoo. I had the opportunity to see and study the giraffe from which I developed the comical, animated pose used for this paper sculpture. This paper sculpture is a lasting tribute to the beauty and elegance of the giraffe while capturing the humorous features that make the animal unique. The head of the giraffe is 3-dimensional and pops from the page – even the eyelashes are made from paper.

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About Melinda

Harford County

Melinda Fabian's picture
Melinda Fabian has more than 30 years of experience as an illustrator. Her signature art features paper sculpture designs, which combine watercolor and gouache illustrations with 3D hand-sculpted paper elements for one-of-a-kind art pieces. These designs literally jump off the page, causing viewers to do a double take upon realizing they’re not just flat paintings. Each piece is made entirely out of paper — from the fur on a squirrel and little ants marching across the stem of a flower to the sand on... more

3D Paper Sculpture

​These paper sculptures are 3-dimensional and are meant to be viewed from all sides. Unlike a flat painting where I only would have to make the image look right while viewing straight on, these paper sculptures require understanding the entire scene from all directions. These paper sculptures are very difficult to create due to the fact that I need to develop the scene in my mind's eye from all angles, then figure out how to recreate that image in paper. Finally, I paint the paper sculpture in watercolor and gouache paying particular attention to light and shadow as to not present a conflict with the natural light from the space where these sculptures are displayed.

  • Quackers

    Quackers
    "Quackers" is a three dimensional paper sculpture that is painted in watercolor and gouache. It is mounted to a wood base underneath a glass globe. This was inspired by a trip to the boardwalk in Havre de Grace, MD
  • Quackers

    Quackers
    This is another view of Quackers looking at the sculpture from the other side giving you a glimpse into the ducks natural habitat.
  • Busy Bee

    Busy Bee
    Miniature 3D Paper Sculpture of gardening tools and flowers. Even the tiny bee is made out of paper. This sculpture is 3"high x 3"wide.It was designed and meticulously created by paper sculpture artist, Melinda Fabian.
  • Busy Bee

    Busy Bee
    This is the other side of the Busy Bee Sculpture. As you can see, the entire sculpture is meant ot be observed with new and exciting features from every angle.
  • Ruffled

    Ruffled
    Ruffled is a free standing 3D Paper Sculpture Illustration of a pink flamingo. Melinda figured out how to make this paper bird stand on its own. Every delicate feather was hand cut and painted to create the beautiful pink colored flamingo bird. The "sand" is also made out of paper.
  • Ruffled

    Ruffled
    This is a close-up view of Ruffled where you can see each and every feather that is hand-cut and then painted in watercolor and gouache.
  • Hopscotch

    Hopscotch
    Hopscotch, an adorable three dimensional little bunny rabbit, was created by paper sculpture artist, Melinda Fabian. Hopscotch is made completely out of paper - even her fur!
  • On My Soap Box

    On My Soap Box
    This is a cute squirrel sitting on top of a tree trunk checking out a little acorn. The entire 3D sculpture, including the squirrel's fur and tail, is meticulously made from paper. The sculpture is painted in watercolor and gouache. He was was inspired by a trip to Mariner Point Park in Joppa, MD
  • Temptation

    Temptation
    A 3D paper sculpture featuring a tetering pile of diet books stacked on top of one another with a delicious looking piece of chocolate cake sitting on the very top. Even the curls of chocolate on top of the cake are made out of paper.

Miniatures

I have a special love for Miniature Art. This presents an even more difficult challenge in that everything needs to be less than 1/6 of actual size and I create my art completely in paper. I am a member of the Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Society (MPSGS) of Washington, and the Miniature Art Society of Florida, (MASF). Several of my pieces have received awards at miniature art exhibitions.

  • Little Gray

    Little Gray
    This elephant's ear is coming right out of the painting creating life to this happy Gray Elephant. After she was sculpted out of paper, Melinda Fabian then painted her in watercolor and gouache.
  • Hanging Around

    Hanging Around
    This paper sculpture miniature won several awards at various miniature art shows. Melinda Fabian made this little iguana out of paper, watercolor and gouache.
  • Fun Times!

    Fun Times!
    Fun Times! is a miniature three-dimensional paper sculpture by Melinda Fabian. This photo realistic tiny art box filled with watercolor and gouache paints, a paint tray, sketch books, pencils and paintbrushes is really made entirely out of paper. Even the box is made out of paper. It is framed in a wood shadowbox picture frame.
  • Nelly

    Nelly
    Nelly is a three dimensional paper sculpture of a giraffe. Her face is three-dimensional and even her eye lashes are made out of paper!
  • My Safe Place

    My Safe Place
    Three dimensional hand sculpted, cut and shaped paper that is painted in watercolor and gouache to form a realistic, bunny rabbit sitting in a garden of violets and bleeding heart flowers. Don't you feel safer already?
  • On the Rocks

    On the Rocks
    Melinda wanted to make On the Rocks paper sculpture illustration depicting a life-like lizard climbing up a rock wall. It is all made out of paper that has been painted in watercolor and gouache.
  • Cone Flowers

    Cone Flowers
    This three-dimensional paper sculpture illustration features several cone flowers. I really like to do the flower centers in paper sculpture because of the intricate design.

Awards

I have been blessed and am grateful that my paper sculpture illustrations received many awards and acknowledgements. It is wonderful to be able to do something you love, create beautiful art that makes people happy, and receive recognition in terms of awards. Included here are a few of the awards I've received for various pieces I've created.

  • Hanging Around

    Hanging Around
    First Place – “Hanging Around” - Elizabeth Specht Memorial 2017 Miniatures Exhibition in Mariposa Sierra Artists Gallery, Mariposa, CA. Honorable Mention – “Hanging Around” - 20th International Miniature & Small Works Show, Willcox, AZ 85643
  • Temptation

    Temptation
    Award of Excellence – “Temptation” - Ridge Art Association, Winter Haven, FL Honorable Mention/Sculpture – “Temptation” - 33rd Annual National Miniature Art Exhibition, Art Gallery of Fells Point, Baltimore, MD
  • Yikes! Get Me Out of Here!

    Yikes! Get Me Out of Here!
    Honorable Mention – “Yikes! Get Me OUT of Here!” - 25th Annual International Juried Miniature Show, Parklane Gallery, Kirkland, WA
  • My Safe Place

    My Safe Place
    Honorable Mention – “My Safe Place” - Elizabeth Specht Memorial 2017 Miniatures Exhibition in Mariposa Sierra Artists Gallery, Mariposa, CA
  • Quackers

    Quackers
    Honorable Mention/Sculpture – “Quackers” - MPSGS - The 83rd Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature, Bethesda, MD
  • Ruffled Feathers

    Ruffled Feathers
    Second Place/Mixed Media — "Ruffled Feathers" - 2013 National Miniature Art Exhibition, Art Gallery of Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.
  • Seaside Treasures

    Seaside Treasures
    Third Place – “Seaside Treasures” - Elizabeth Specht Memorial 2017 Miniatures Exhibition in Mariposa Sierra Artists Gallery, Mariposa, CA. Second Place/Mixed Media — "Seaside Treasure" - 31st Annual National Miniature Art Exhibition, Art Gallery of Fells Point, Baltimore, MD.
  • Crab on Deck

    Crab on Deck
    Honorable Mention — "Blue Crab on Deck" - 13th Annual National Miniature Exhibition, Renaissance Art Gallery, Huntington, WV.
  • Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction

    Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction
    First Place, Adult Category - Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction - Harford County Drug Task Force, Harford County, MD.

Photo Realism

One of the more interesting techniques I've developed with my Paper Sculpture Illustrations involves the creation of photo-realistic sculptures. I love to hear people who view my art and can't believe I only use paper. The images in this section represent a few of my most realistic Paper Sculptures. You can set the real object next to these Paper Sculptures and without touching them, have a hard time knowing which is real.

  • Miniature Gourds

    Miniature Gourds
    Photo realistic miniature gourds (front) photographed with the real gourds (back).
  • Gourd #1

    Gourd #1
    This realistic looking gourd is made entirely out of paper and is then painted in watercolor and gouache.
  • Gourd #2

    Gourd #2
    This realistic looking gourd, the second in a series, is made entirely out of paper and is then painted in watercolor and gouache.
  • Gourd #3

    Gourd #3
    This realistic looking gourd, the third in the series, is made entirely out of paper and is then painted in watercolor and gouache.
  • Cat Nap

    Cat Nap
    3D paper sculpture illustration of an orange tabby cat sleeping on your favorite chair.
  • Paper Shells

    Paper Shells
    Three dimensional, hand sculpted paper that is painted in watercolor and gouache. Even the sand is made out of paper.
  • Tree Hugger

    Tree Hugger
    This little sculpted furry squirrel is made entirely out of paper that has been cut, shaped, sculpted and then painted in watercolor and gouache. It is sitting on "bark" which is painted watercolor paper. This was my first successful piece with realistic fur.
  • Crab on the Beach

    Crab On the Beach
    A 3D Paper Sculpture of a Maryland Blue Crab created by Melinda Fabian. The paper sculpture is painted in watercolor and gouache. The entire picture is made out of paper, including the sand.
  • Fun Times!

    Fun Times!
    Fun Times! is a miniature three-dimensional paper sculpture by Melinda Fabian. This photo realistic tiny art box is filled with watercolor and gouache paints, a paint tray, sketch books, pencils and paintbrushes. Even the box is made out of paper.
  • Paper Mum

    Paper Mum
    Two mums. One is paper and one is real. It is a lot of fun creating these paper sculpture flowers - making them as realistic as possible.

Weird and Wacky

​This section contains some of my most interesting Paper Sculptures. Working in paper has its own unique challenges and as I push the limits for what can be created, some fun and very interesting results have happened. While not every attempt to create a paper sculpture succeeds, (Yes, plenty of attempts end up as crumpled up balls of paper), these pieces show the extremes that I can achieve, but still keeping the pieces realistic in nature.

  • In the Jungle

    In the Jungle
    This 3D iguana looks like he is right at home inside his natural jungle habitat. Melinda Fabian created this textured green iguana out of paper that was sculpted, and then painted in watercolor and gouache. There are even a couple of 3D paper ants marching across a tree branch and lots of layers of painted leaves in greens, yellows and oranges so this iguana can feel like he is in his own jungle.
  • Crab On the Beach

    Crab On the Beach
    A 3D Paper Sculpture of a Maryland Blue Crab created by Melinda Fabian. The paper sculpture is painted in watercolor and gouache. The entire picture is made out of paper, including the sand.
  • Junk Drawer

    Junk Drawer
    Junk Drawer depicts one of those drawers that many people seem to have somewhere in their house. A catch-all type of space for all those odds and ends. Tape, scissors, paper clips, markers, pens, pencils and so forth. Melinda Fabian made her Junk Drawer out of paper and paint to create this 3D paper sculpture illustration.
  • Praying Mantis

    Praying Mantis
    This is a close-up of Melinda Fabian's paper sculpture illustration, Praying Mantis. The watercolor painting was brought to life by creating three-dimensional flower petals and a praying mantis.
  • Mr. Rooster

    Mr. Rooster
    Colorful rooster poses in all his fanfare. Melinda wanted to highlight the comical appearance in this rooster. Melinda experiments with making her creations pop out from the matted picture to add intrest and dimension.
  • Yikes! Get Me Out of Here!

    Yikes! Get Me Out of Here!
    Melinda Fabian's latest whimsical paper sculpture of blue crabs escaping back toward the safety of the water.

Beach Themed

Maryland is well known for its beaches. This section highlights Melinda's Paper Sculpture beach-themed paper sculpture illustrations.

  • Coral-Reef

    Coral-Reef
    Coral Reef is a fun, colorful display of an underwater coral reef complete with a little crab and clown fish swimming nearby.
  • Here Comes a Crab

    Here Comes a Crab
    These beautiful watercolor seashells on the beach have a little visitor coming to check them out. The 3D crab is made out of paper and some of the seashells also have 3D elements.
  • Seahorse Surprise

    Seahorse Surprise
    A three-dimensional golden colored seahorse with a little fish swimming by to say hello is a very bright and colorful watercolor and gouache illustration.
  • Seaside Treasures

    Seaside Treasures
    This little treasure is a miniature paper sculpture that has been painted in watercolor and gouache. The starfish is three dimensional and appears as though it is real, but it is made entirely out of paper. It has won 2nd place in the mixed media category at the 31st Annual National Miniature Art Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Fells Point in Baltimore, MD.
  • Yikes! Get Me Out of HERE!

    Yikes! Get Me Out of HERE!
    These Maryland Blue Crabs just realized what is happening! They are escaping as fast as they can! You can't help but smile when you look at this piece and put yourself in their place - you would try to make a great escape as fast as possible too!
  • Baby Crab

    Baby Crab
    This completely three dimensional paper Baby Crab measures only about 1.5" long and is sitting on a "sandy" beach that is also made out of paper.
  • Crab On the Beach

    Crab On the Beach
    This life sized, completely three dimensional Maryland Blue crab is sitting on a sandy (paper) beach. I created Crab On the Beach as a study in forming paper into life-like sculpture. As a Marylander, the blue crab is symbolic of the state and my goal was to capture the blue crab in all its glory. Each leg needed to be carefully shaped and formed, while the top shell had its own unique challenges. I paid particular attention to the detail of the mouth and eyes. After creating the paper shell, I painted the crab in true to life colors – yes, right from a blue crab.
  • Paper Shells - 3D Paper Sculpture

    Paper Shells - 3D Paper Sculpture
    The seashells are one of my favorite paper sculpture pieces. Yes, every shell and speck of sand is paper. Even people who see the piece in person can’t believe the shells aren’t real and only made from paper. The ridges in the shells are not an optical illusion - I formed each ridge in the paper. The sand dollar required special attention to get the desired realism. The final piece was then painted in watercolor and gouache to highlight the true colors in the shells.

Animals

Melinda loves nature and these paper sculptures capture the beauty and wonder of animals in nature. From majestic giraffes and elephants to nearly microscopic insects, these paper sculptures capture the essence of beautiful animals in three dimensional paper sculptures.

  • Nelly

    Nelly
    I tried to capture the comical expression and fun quality that giraffes possess. Nelly is made completely out of paper and her face is three dimensional and pops out of the paper.
  • Too Tall Tully

    Too Tall Tully
    Too Tall Tully was inspired by Willow, a baby giraffe at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. I had the opportunity to see and study Willow from which I developed this comical, animated pose for this paper sculpture. I was saddened by the Maryland Zoo’s announcements of the death of Julius, Willow’s half-brother and Juma, Willow’s mom this year. This paper sculpture is a lasting tribute to the beauty and elegance of the giraffe while capturing the humorous features that make the animal unique.
  • Too Tall Tully

    Too Tall Tully
    This 3D paper sculpture of a giraffe was a lot of fun to create. I especially liked making his eyes and the mane of this young giraffe. I exaggerated his mane on top of his head and the ossicones (the tufts on top of his head) which I think adds character to his cute little face. I think he looks like a young giraffe-just starting to figure out what mischief to get into. Although I did choose the name Tully (Gaelic origin), because it means peace. I think of giraffes as looking like they are calm and peaceful animals.
  • A Walk in the Woods

    A Walk in the Woods
    In this paper sculpture illustration, I wanted to give the feeling that the viewer could feel as though they are in the woods, watching this young deer walk by. The deer's face and tail are completely three dimensional along with the grasses and ferns in the foreground. As you go deeper into the woods, the plants and trees become less three dimensional as they begin to melt into the flat, watercolor background.
  • Bunny In My Garden

    Bunny In My Garden
    This is a delightful, colorful piece depicting a bunny among the colorful bleeding hearts with butterflies fluttering by reminding me of childhood story books-where you can just imagine the scene coming to life right out of the pages!
  • Hoppy Bunny Day

    Hoppy Bunny Day
    This charming little bunny is sitting among the grasses - enjoying an early spring day as she munches on her morning breakfast of green grasses. The bunny, grasses, crocus flowers and clover are all three dimensional.
  • Crossing My Hearts

    Crossing My Hearts
    Crossing My Hearts is one of my very first paper sculptures. I like the concept of taking a flat painting and creating three dimensional elements in it, bringing those items into the foreground, and seemlessly blending them back into a flat background. I wanted some of my favorite flowers, the bleeding hearts, to come right out of the paper, and become three-dimensional. The little black ants are dancing across the stem of the flowers celebrating springtime and adding a touch of humor to the illustration!
  • Bumbles Delight

    Bumbles Delight
    Bumbles Delight highlights a completely three dimensional paper bumble bee that is sitting on top of a three dimensional center of this cone flower. Some of the petals in the foreground come out of the paper towards you while the petals in the back of the flower melt back into the flat watercolor background.
  • Peanuts Please

    Peanuts Please
    Peanuts Please is a three dimensional paper illustration. The trunk and ear of the elephant are 3D.

Birds

I like creating the feathers of the birds - individually cutting the delicate feathers out of paper, adding paint and replicating the bird. Some of my paper sculptures were inspired by watching birds in my local area. I enjoyed watching the eagles at Conowingo Dam - sitting up high on a tree branch, waiting for just the right moment to come swooping down to grab that fish out of the Lower Susquehanna River below. A sight I highly recommend you see if you ever have the opportunity. Best time to go is in the fall . One of my favorite birds to look for and watch are those vibrantly colored pink flamingoes whenever I visit the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Maryland has plenty of parks and shoreline to observe and study birds including Anita C. Leight Estuary Center and Havre de Grace.

  • Peacock

    Peacock
    Peacock, is a beautiful 3D Paper Sculpture that was made to look like he is coming right out of the paper and into your view. Melinda Fabian meticulously cut each of the peacock's feathers by hand and then painted them in these vibrant watercolor and gouache colors to complete this sculpture.
  • Catch of the Day

    Catch of the Day
    After watching the bald eagles soaring through the sky at Conowingo Dam in Maryland, I knew I had to try to replicate that in a 3D paper sculpture. Each tiny feather of this miniature paper sculpture was individually hand cut out of paper and then painted in watercolor and gouache. There were lots of eagles and lots of photographers there trying to capture the birds soaring through the air. Seeing them in person, really gives you the sense of just how huge these birds are.
  • Keeping Watch

    Keeping Watch
    Keeping Watch, is another 3D paper sculpture of an eagle that I was inspired to make after my visit to Conowingo Dam in Maryland where lots of bald eagles can be found in the autumn. The eagle is completely three-dimensional and only measures about 2.5". Each feather was individually hand cut. Even the claws and the talons are made out of paper, which was a very tedious and challenging task.
  • Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction

    Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction
    Rising from the Ashes of Drug Addiction was done to help raise awareness that there is hope after drug addiction - Maryland ia battling a tremendous Heroin problem. This paper sculpture is meant to show that recovery is possible. You will rise from the ashes of the addiction and bring new life from the addiction. Your world could once again become bright and colorful.
  • Rise and Shine

    Rise and Shine
    This vibrant, colorful rooster was so much fun to paint! His tail feather are three dimensional and individually cut out of paper.
  • Ruffled

    Ruffled
    Flamingos are one of my favorite birds to paint and sculpt out of paper. Those long necks, bright colored feathers, and long skinny legs are so much fun to sculpt! This is a completely three-dimensional paper sculpture that is under a glass dome. The feathers are very delicate and cut from a variety of different types of papers. Each is carefully attached to the flamingo's body and then painted in watercolor and gouache. Even the long skinny legs are paper.
  • Ruffled Feathers

    Ruffled Feathers
    This watercolor painting is a combination of a flat painting and a three dimensional paper sculpture. It is a miniature paper sculpture, with the outside frame measurements at 4.5" x 3.5" and is 1.25" in depth.The pink feathers on the bird's body become three-dimensional giving this flamingo the nick name of Ruffled Feathers.
  • Quackers

    Quackers
    Quackers is a completely three-dimensional paper sculpture - in miniature. The challenge of this type of sculpture, is not only does every element of the sculpture have to be at least to 1/6 scale of the actual size, but it also must be accurately depicted. It is very, very tiny. It is the intricate details that make this the most enjoyable part of the my paper sculptures. I like the challenge of it. Creating three-dimensional sculptures requires an attention to detail that goes way beyond flat painting to make the finished work be sturdy and look good from all angles.

Editorial

I have been freelance illustrating for the past 35 years for children's magazines, such as Sesame Street magazine, Nature Friend magazine, children's activity books, and Christian publications. After battling cancer in 2012, I took the opportunity to reinvent myself, combining my love of watercolor and gouache with my love of paper to create 3D works of family-friendly art. After perfecting the techniques of paper sculpture, my next phase is to go back to published work. I have many ideas that would work in publications and look to pursue that avenue in the coming year.

  • Veggies for Dessert

    Veggies for Dessert
    Veggies for Dessert is a paper sculpture illustration - a satire piece. Do we really have to add vegetables to everything we eat? No matter what you do to that broccoli, even adding whipped cream and a cherry on top - it is still broccoli. Won't you still be craving that delicious piece of gooey chocolate?
  • Temptation

    Temptation
    Temptation is a satire on the wonderful world of dieting.
  • Best of Maryland

    Best of Maryland
    Best of Maryland is a mock up of an editorial piece using my three-dimensional blue crab to illustrate the article.
  • Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction

    Rising From the Ashes of Drug Addiction
    Rising From the Ashes is printed in the 2018 HOPE against drug addiction calendar. It received first place in the adult category. In this three dimensional paper sculpture, I wanted to depict that recovery is possible and that you can rise above the addiction. In the ash pit is a variety of drug paraphernalia. The phoenix symbolizes new life rising above the ashes - a new beginning of a renewed and colorful life.
  • Nelly's Tall Adventures

    Nelly's Tall Adventures
    Nelly's Tall Adventures is an example of how my three dimensional paper sculpture titled Nelly could be used in a published piece.
  • PAPER

    PAPER
    This PAPER sculpture illustration is designed as a promotional piece to help viewers understand what my paper sculpture is all about. Starting on the left, with a simple piece of cut paper, I begin to form the shapes and as I progress I add more color and detail. The 'R' at the far right represents a final paper sculpture.

Melinda's Curated Collection

This artist has not yet created a curated collection.