Local Fashion Illustrator Rachael Meckling Captures Iconic Female Authors for New Collection

The illustrations of Agatha Christie, Dorothy Parker, Beatrix Potter and Virginia Woolf now adorn tote bags, greeting cards and prints in the Calgary Public Library Foundation’s online library store.

Canmore-based fashion illustrator Rachael Meckling has built her female-oriented business around capturing women and their fashion through her art, and her latest project is no different.

Meckling’s artist representative Kelly Rae recently connected her with the Calgary Public Library Foundation to create illustrations of iconic women from the literary world to be featured on new products in its online Library Store. The Library Foundation gave Meckling a selection of female authors with accompanying quotes, then let her choose the four she would ultimately illustrate. “I got to choose based on who I identified with and which authors were important to me,” Meckling says.

In the end, Meckling chose to illustrate English mystery writer Agatha Christie, American writer Dorothy Parker, The Tale of Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter and British author Virginia Woolf. To create the illustrations, Meckling studied archival photos and did online research. After a few days, she would start doing pencil sketches from memory before drawing the final images, which now adorn tote bags, greeting cards and 8″ x 10″ prints in the Library Store.


Here’s a look at Meckling’s four illustrations and why she chose them


Agatha Christie

The world’s bestselling novelist ever, English writer Agatha Christie wrote more than 80 mystery novels, short stories and plays over her lifetime. She was also responsible for creating popular fictional characters like Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. Meckling incorporated a monocle into Christie’s illustration to reference the idea of mystery and the character Poirot’s own eyewear. “I grew up with Agatha Christie, almost more so in a video/TV basis,” Meckling says. “My mom loved Agatha Christie, so I grew up watching all the murder mysteries.” Illustration by Rachael Meckling.


Dorothy Parker

American writer Dorothy Parker was one of the founders of the Algonquin Round Table in New York City. Her writing work includes essays, short stories, poetry, plays and screenplays (she was nominated for two Academy Awards for 1937’s A Star Is Born and 1947’s Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman, respectively). Meckling says Parker was the most difficult to draw of the four since she wasn’t as familiar with her work. “But when I saw the quote that they had for me, I was like oh my God, I have to illustrate that one,” she says. Illustration by Rachael Meckling.

Beatrix Potter

Of the four authors, English writer Beatrix Potter was the one Meckling had been familiar with for the longest. “With Beatrix Potter, I took so much illustration inspiration from her books,” Meckling says. “I read them religiously growing up. I love her illustrations, they’re so dainty and beautiful, and her use of colour.” Meckling also liked that Potter was both the author and illustrator of her books, which include the popular children’s story The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Illustration by Rachael Meckling.

Virginia Woolf

British writer Virginia Woolf, who is known for using stream of consciousness in her works, has written several acclaimed novels including Mrs Dalloway and To the Lighthouse. “Virginia Woolf was a part of quite a few of my essays in my Women’s Studies classes in fashion school, so she was quite dear to my heart,” says Meckling. Illustration by Rachael Meckling.

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