Melissa A. Benson of Ranting Centaur Studios, is an illustrator and fine artist with a colorful, realistic style that she uses for both fantasy and decorative work. She has been creating quality artwork for over fifteen years. She works mostly in a mixed media of watercolor dyes, and color pencils. Black and white work is high contrast multi-weight graphite pencil and large pieces are done in oils.
Her name is best known in the gaming industry for creating powerful and imaginative illustrations for many of the top collectible card game (CCG) publishers. Melissa worked with Wizards of the Coast before they became a corporate giant, when they first published Magic: The Gathering in 1993. She created several iconic character designs for that game, most notably Nightmare and Shivan Dragon. She did illustrations for many subsequent expansions of the popular role playing game as well.
She has also worked for White Wolf Publishing when they started Vampire: the Masquerade, Iron Crown Entertainment's Middle Earth game, the Dragon Storm RPG game published by Black Dragon Press, the oriental card game Shadowfist published by Z-Man Games and Camelot Legends among others.
Melissa specializes in believable anthropomorphic creatures and people in natural and historic settings. The bulk of her recent work has been private commissions for clients who want an accurate portrait of their role playing characters. Melissa takes their descriptions and makes suggestions (you really shouldn't have EVERY piece of equipment they own in the picture) until they are confident that they will be getting great results.