Meet the Melvin Crew: Resident Illustrator/Ninja Kelly Halpin


By Michelle DeLong / Illus­tra­tions by Kel­ly Halpin

You know Kel­ly Halpin’s art­work, even if you don’t real­ize it– her deli­cious­ly evil genius cre­at­ed our dys­func­tion­al fam­i­ly of Melvin char­ac­ters, from the jacked and dead­ly Killer Bees to the racked and ready OG Melvin Man. Besides being a tal­ent­ed artist, Kel­ly is a pro­fes­sion­al moun­tain run­ner for La Sporti­va and Osprey… casu­al. She does crazy shit like SPRINT UP THE GRAND TETON for fun. Actu­al­ly, when we ask if she’s done it, she chuck­les and says yeah, sev­er­al times, and pro­ceeds to school us about a real chal­lenge, aka run­ning up 11 moun­tain pass­es in one go. Her roots with Melvin run deep, and we think it’s high time you real­ly got to know the woman who breathed life into our crazy cast of char­ac­ters. We sit down with Halpin in the stu­dio for a behind the scenes look at how she cre­at­ed so much rad­ness, what’s next, and what makes her tick.



Have you always been an artist?

I spent my entire life draw­ing. I end­ed up in school for film­mak­ing, but I decid­ed I liked to tell sto­ries through illus­tra­tions more. I like draw­ing because it’s pret­ty sim­ple. A piece of art can con­vey an emo­tion… it’s a way to get your mind on paper.

How do you get in the mood to cre­ate?

I have a feel­ing, emo­tion, or char­ac­ter in mind. I have a gen­er­al idea what I want before I put pen to paper, but I nev­er know exact­ly how it’s going to turn out. So I go into my flow state, lis­ten to some good music. I usu­al­ly try to com­plete some­thing start to fin­ish.

What brought you and Melvin togeth­er?

I used to goof off with Tofte late nights at the restau­rant [Thai Me Up]. I hung out there a lot, and he was famil­iar with my art­work… we both have a weird sense of humor so we just start­ed com­ing up with fun, wacky ideas. That’s how the Melvin char­ac­ters were born… we start­ed mak­ing them 7 years ago, when Tofte was still cre­at­ing Melvin Brew­ing. So, I was work­ing with him on these sketch­es way before any of the beer came out.

Which char­ac­ter did you dream up first?

Melvin him­self, the guy with the body of a brew­er and a hop for a head. Then I did Melvin, 2x4, Hubert, and Killer Bees. The orig­i­nal con­cept was that none of the char­ac­ters would have faces, so they could be any­one and every­one all at once.

What’s the lat­est char­ac­ter you’ve cre­at­ed?

The Your IPA man! When you grab the beer, you’ll see your­self in the reflec­tion, and be like yeah, this is MY IPA. Right now I’m work­ing on the Cit­radamus rebrand­ing. We are com­plete­ly redo­ing the char­ac­ter. It doesn’t actu­al­ly have cit­rus in it, which was con­fus­ing, so I am redesign­ing it to reflect the beer bet­ter, and it will look like a wiz­ard.

Do you pick favorites?

I real­ly love May­hem, the Killer Bees char­ac­ter… I like hon­ey, so it was real­ly fun cre­at­ing this buff dude drip­ping with it. For drink­ing… I lovvvve 2x4. I’m not real­ly that good at ses­sion­ing beer, which is why 2x4 is per­fect, because it’s got so much kick.

What do you do when you’re not illus­trat­ing?

I go around and try to run in weird places… this year I’m going to South Africa to run a moun­tain tra­verse that con­nects 5 peaks. It’s 120 miles and there’s no women’s fastest time record­ed on it. We are try­ing to run it unsup­port­ed and get a women’s fastest time. It will be a good adven­ture one way or anoth­er… it’s so fun to be out in the wild and know you don’t have any help out there, it makes it very real.

What’s your most mem­o­rable run so far?

One in Green­land was crazy, I def­i­nite­ly got myself into some trou­ble there. It snowed so much that I had to change my route and do some free solo­ing, and the rocks were falling under­neath me, and I was out in Green­land alone…it was kin­da scary. The most fun run I’ve done was the Wind Riv­er High Route, you go over 11 moun­tain pass­es and 11,000 feet, and we did that in 63 hours run­ning with packs on. [Note: this route is in the Wind Riv­er Moun­tain Range, locat­ed in Halpin and Melvin’s Wyoming back­yard.] We end­ed up at the trail­head for the eclipse.


Yup, while you were wear­ing nerd glass­es, drink­ing a Hubert and watch­ing the eclipse from your neighbor’s front lawn (Us. We did that.) Kel­ly Halpin was tak­ing it in at the end of a 63 hour suf­fer­fest that she lit­er­al­ly calls fun. We are pret­ty lucky to have such a super­hu­man on Team Melvin: check out some ear­ly sketch­es of the Melvin line­up from Halpin’s secret stash.




The evo­lu­tion of the Melvin man, who is designed to look like a brew­er (hood­ie, Carhartts, boots) and a fer­men­ta­tion tank all in one. 


Hop Shock­er, part of out RIIPA series, is a beefed up ver­sion on the orig­i­nal Melvin Man. To see his ful­ly ani­mat­ed orgin sto­ry, click here.



 The evo­lu­tion of May­hem, the Killer Bees char­ac­ter, aka Kelly’s fave. He was mod­i­fied so he would stand out more on a beer can.



Pre­lim­i­nary sketch­es of the 2x4 man. Fun fact: his Viking hel­met and pad­dle are actu­al­ly 1st place awards he’s won in beer com­pe­ti­tions.