Megan Padilla is an intern architect whose graphic design and artistic talents have garnered national attention. This year (for the second time), Megan's entry for Disney's D23 Expo Design Challenge was selected as one of just 23 finalists.
The Disney competition challenged entrants to create "arrrrrrrt!" in honor of the 50th anniversary of Pirates of the Caribbean. Her piece depicts pirates Captain Jack Sparrow, Captain Hook, Captain Long John Silver, and the kraken.
She etched the characters in a 12x16in wood panel using a wood burning process called pyrography. A layer of resin with gold glitter is poured over the surface to seal the piece and give it a shiny glass-like coating.
Megan's piece is on display at the D23 Expo at Anaheim Convention Center this weekend, July 14-16. View all the finalists.
In addition to this year's design challenge, she was also a finalist in the 2015 D23 Expo Design Challenge and the Victorinox Swiss Army Design Contest, which asked artists to capture the best of New York City.
Megan was also a finalist in both the 2015 D23Expo (left) and the 2015 Victorinox Swiss Army Design Contest (right).
Since she was a child, Megan has drawn her favorite Disney personalities, and is now imagining her own characters and depicting a variety of subjects.
Her mother and uncle, both prolific artists in New Mexico, encouraged Megan to master her craft, and through extensive practice and elective art classes, Megan refined her skills and adopted a slew of different mediums: ballpoint pen, oil, acrylic, water color, graphite, pyography (a technique using a heated metallic point to burn wood or leather surfaces), bisque pottery, murals, and architecture.
With a captivated Instagram audience of 1,000 fans, Megan posts new and updated work daily, even sharing her #dailysketches produced during her lunch hour.
Her work featured on Instagram has led to numerous commissions for portraits. Below are examples of Rat Pack ornaments she donated for a Women in Design: New Mexico charity auction and a portrait of Frank Sinatra sketched entirely with ballpoint pen.
Her painting of Chicago Bulls stars Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman even caught the attention of Pippen, who regrammed the watercolor piece.
As an intern architect at Dekker/Perich/Sabatini since 2008, Megan has contributed her design talent to education projects and has advanced the firm's 3D models and graphic presentations used to communicate design concepts to clients and users.
"I've drawn and painted for as long as I can remember," said Megan. "I would build houses on the computer when I was little, and studying architecture seemed like a great way to continue pursuing my creativity."
Megan recently worked on Deming Intermediate School in southern New Mexico and Capitan High School, which is depicted below in a rendering Megan created to communicate the design with the community and school.