books i love, #2



since i haven’t had a spare second to scan my latest sketches, ideas, or doodles, i thought i’d share another installment of favorite books – old and new, from all over the place. most of them were scouted during my ’round robin’ book filing at candlewick, where we get lots of new books from other publishers to inspire new books for us or just spark our interests…

1. Komoko Sakai

I saw this book at Curious George bookstore in Harvard Square, and instantly fell in love with the texture and the color. The story is simple, and cleverly done. The little boy rabbit is so convincing with his quips, especially since he’s mad that momma “won’t ever marry me”. That’s just something so innocent to say, it made me smile.

2. Salley Mavor

I’ve known of Salley’s work since my days in school, when a professor said Salleey would knit and sew in the back of class instead of paying attention during critique. Little did we know that would become Sally’s media of fame. I especially love looking at something I want to touch, that I can feel in my head, you know? Salley’s newest book just came into the office as part of our Round Robin acquisitions, and I just had to flip through it. I love the faces of these characters.
But what I love about Salley too is that she has such an unmistakable style, she chooses to *re-invent* the classics we all know and love in her own way. I feel like this is a case of style versus substance, and letting style dictate what you choose to illustrate. This is how I approach illustration situations – take a subject everyone knows, and create an image in your way of working. In my case, some sort of collage/painterly mixed media thing.

3. Marianne Dubuc

In Front of My House is purely here because 1) the design is really creative, 2) the story twists and turns and evolves in charming ways, and 3) I just love HOUSES. Houses are such a provocative, simple, unexplainable icon of society and person that can be illustrated for a child, an adult, as a painting, as a book, as a story, anything….It was a Round Robin find as well.

4. Scott Magoon – Mostly Monsterly

I love Scott’s pallette in this book, and with halloween right around the corner, I’m feeling kind of monsterly these days.

On a monsterly tangent, Kelly Murphy’s new Monster book is a sure hit (to be released by Candlewick!!), for sheer genius of cute and quirky monsters. And they have awesome monster backpacks. Baby Blues is another book she did recently with Candlewick. I like her faces.

5. Hyewon Yum – There Are No Scary Wolves
Great shapes, great color, and I love the use of pattern. A quick seal of approval here.

books i’m loving #1


“a girl once lay dreaming, dreams of saving the moon”

these words are from LILY’S MOON, but I found inspiration in Maurice Sendak’s MOON JUMPERS to get the right feel for the book:

I’m all about process, and lately, i’ve been feeling the pull to rediscover my favorite children’s book illustrators/books. Working at candlewick has me surrounded by pictures books, good and (gasp) not so good. But nonetheless, I’ve made some discoveries old and new that I’d like to share:

1. Hiroe Nakata

I heard of this illustrator last summer from a friend actually, but rediscovered the ducklings while perusing the children’s book section at Curious George in Harvard Square. I adore the characters, and the palette. Hiroe is a new addition to my book inspiration and I’m excited to explore more.

2. Mary Blair
She’s obviously, a color genius, character guru, and universal icon in the illustration world. But I’d love to highlight her Golden Book work with Ruth Krauss that I was looking at today (Oh, and Krauss is another guru of her time). The stories are simple, true, and embody this kind of americana in their positive message and sing-song quaintness. Mary Blair is the comfort-food of picture books, the Americana comfort that kids and adults alike need in the current topsy-turvy US.

3. Ezra Jack Keats

Keats was the first to show me that illustrators are artists first. To paint a picture as an artist, when you’ve had enough practice, means you will design well. And Keats’ pictures are crazy mixed media creations with depth, composition, and simple sophistication that brings children’s books to a higher level.
Plus, when you have a boy and his pup, what more do you need?

4. Jamie Harper

My interests peeked in this Candlewick illustrator find, when I got a peek at her newest work for Miles to Go. Her characters here look more confidently drawn, and experimenting with cut paper, pattern, and collage has given her books new life! I love Miles’ map shirt, his little car, and the house endpaper the mostest.

That’s all for now. I must return to the redesigns for my website. The new blog header is a good inclination of what the portfolio will look like!

As always,
all good things

beans and things

inspiration, sketches

rain and humidity be gone, it’s finally autumn!

so i have a new job at magic beans in cambridge. to make some moolah (which is actually the rewards program at the store, so puns galore!) on the side.
plus, i get to see my buddy susanne, whose work is also awesome and you should go look at.

but in the midst of craziness i wanted to post a few sketches and announce a new website is coming!

i have a lot of things cooking on my cambridge stove for you all to share soon!

all good things,

international dot day

candlewick press, children's illustration, inspiration, ittybit, peter reynolds
Hi All!

I have been up to a lot, job-hunting and all
since this is the first September not starting school
(sad face)
so, things have changed:

  1. I am the new design intern at Candlewick Press, located in Boston, MA! I just started this week and am learning SO much!
  2. I thusly have moved to Cambridge,
which….isn’t such a bad thing.

and am looking for part time work
to supplement the intern time.

So, if you’re hiring, I’m interested and ready!
So I’ve been having an awesome time getting settled in New England,
enjoying running along the Charles River,
my growing plant collection,
my red door and my little porch.

In honor of my new start, I’m honoring my new chapter with a nod to Peter Reynolds
and drew my dot for “International Dot Day” –
celebrating his story “The Dot”
with a whole day devoted to the love of the mark!
And my art certainly celebrates the mark.

So here’s Sam and his dots, and an extra, itty friend.

Enjoy the crisp fall and the start of changing colors.


sunny thoughts,

i’ve been busy

inspiration, watercolor

i’ve been busy

(my cousins documenting my watercolor wonder kit)

exploring lake winnepesauke with my cousins,

eating wild blueberries,
(picked from Mt. Major’s Fall Summit)

picking wildflowers,

(this one was a milkweed seedpod)

and painting.

(a sunset painted at sunset)

i’m filled with dreams and paint all over,
and will have lots to show real soon.

enjoy summer, everyone.

(our kitchen filled with fruit,
our table filled with flowers,
and a feverish young girl painting
through the late afternoon with family)

a lot of inspiration for a lack of postings

children's illustration, inspiration, sketches


sorry for the lack of updates. i was not online, which was a blessing actually.
I’ve been traveling extensively, in and around Southeast Asia. I’m based in Singapore with my honey, where there has been lots to see and do. And eat! But we’ve made several trips out of the country: Malaysia, Thailand, and Taiwan. Malaysia and Thailand are very close to Singapore, and Taiwan is north, in between the coast of China and Japan. All these countries have provdied their own unique inspiration to my art, life, and well being.

I’m back in Singapore for the rest of my time in Southeast Asia, so here’s a peek at some of my sketches and collages. They are ideas more than finishes, but they are what I’ve been up to nonetheless!

lots of the work is sketchy, but some paintings will follow in my next post.

until then,
happy travels!


asian papers #1


there’s so much to say about how much i’ve seen so far.
i’ll start with the creative stuff. people watching at the markets has begun and sketches will come, but paper stores have also caught my attention. from sophisticated to cute-cute, the patterns are everywhere and will be integrated into collage i’m sure.
sketch pages and my collages-on-the-go will be updated soon!

mushroom paper!

❤ nicole