Reportage Varoom 35 – Melanie Reim

Washington Square Marchers Melanie Reim

Varoom magazine regularly covers reportage illustration. In issue 35 of Varoom magazine Derek Brazell selected Melanie Reim’s drawings from the 2016 USA elections which saw Donald Trump elected.

Protest brings people together over many shared issues from both sides of the debate. As we are all aware, the USA Presidential elections (in 2016) have polarized opinion, leaving people either horrified or triumphant, and have sent shock waves around the world as events and the potential repercussions of those events sink in.

‘Not My President’ Trump Tower

Amongst those keen to respond to the election and the reaction to it was Melanie Reim. Conscious that this was going to be a momentous occasion, Reim had planned on documenting the unfolding story of the day with her illustrator friend Veronica Lawlor, from voting in New York to attending an event at Javits Center and ultimately hanging out with a Hillary Clinton supporting crowd at Clyde Frazier’s Bar to watch the results unfold on screen.

Reim drew throughout that day and evening (“Being there to document the visceral reaction to the news as it unfolded was so hard, but so necessary.”), and following the Trump win continued to document the anti President elect protests in Washington Square Park and at Trump Tower. Speaking of the Love Rally held at the Park she said it was “kind, compassionate, empowering,” but still affected by the shock and sadness generated by the election results. “I will keep finding ways to speak through drawing,” she says, “Find your way.”

Black Lives Matter

As a witness to the events, Reim’s rapidly drawn images capture the atmosphere, tension, passion and action of the protest marches following the more enclosed moments of Election Day. The tangible sensation of being there is captured through her careful positioning at the scene. Her enthusiasm for reportage encapsulated with the rallying call, “Get in the middle of it all and draw!”

Melanie Reim


BRIEF: Reportage provides a unique insight to current events that become a part of our living history. The 2016 Presidential election in the USA already promised to be historic. The way that Election Day unfolded was surprising to most – and unknowingly, provided a very unique series of drawings to document reaction.

IDEA: To record Election Day, and subsequently and unexpectedly, the myriad of rallies and protests that ensued- and continue to do so.

MATERIALS: Cartridge pen/ink, color pencils, brush pen.

Election day: worried observors

RESEARCH: I am always studying my drawing heroes – they might be masterful draftsman, animators, reportage artists, significant mark makers, pen and inkers. They all resonate with me and come along every time I go out on location.

PROCESS: Get in the middle of it all and draw!

RESISTANCES: Access to certain areas was occasionally frustrating, but there was a story everywhere.

INSIGHT: The raw emotion of the reaction to this historical time is magnified when spending the time to draw it, as opposed to a click of a camera. I feel connected – and empowered, as well as we can be under the circumstances.

DISTRACTIONS: Once I am in the midst of it all, there are few distractions- only more stories!

NUMBERS: One in a million. That is me, feeling the power of like-minded people, especially the sisterhood, around the country.

STORYTELLING: The 2016 Presidential Election.

Varoom 35 is available here


10th May 2018

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