Beach Party and more

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You might be wondering why my children’s illustration book work has been so quiet lately. Well, I’ve been working hard to finish up the digital collage/fixings for my new book coming out next year! It’s looking fantastic, and all involved are charmed with how the collage was added to the paintings. So hopefully I’ll have some sneak peeks to share soon!

 

In the meantime, my sister recently got a new leased car, and has her birthday coming up, so I was inspired to crank out a couple of little paintings commemorating the occasions. Here they are:

 

New design, and show opening

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Every few months I have the itch to change my website’s theme. This one is something quite simple once again. I hope you enjoy it! 

Also, as part of my MAT requisites, I am taking several Studio classes and will be completing my second class this Friday, July 25. With this class comes a week long exhibition in Mass Art’s Arnheim Gallery, where I will be showing 6-7 large scale works I created these 3 weeks. It was intensive but extremely satisfying. I’ve made some incredible strides in a short amount of time! Please come check it out if you are in town this weekend (or next week, 10-5)8ArtistPosterNG

 

Groupmuse: Sketches from a quartet concert

fine art, groupmuse, Uncategorized, watercolor

At the beginning of December, I enjoyed an intimate quartet concert at a friend’s apartment. I was thrilled to be able to paint the musicians while they played. The observation experience parallels the observation experience I had during last semester at Mass Art in my Art Education program.

I was transfixed by the immediacy of the performance, and the intensity of the songs and musicians. These four images are my results.

Groupmuse01

Groupmuse02

 

 

 

 

 

 

Groupmuse04

Groupmuse03

You can also find these images, plus an artist book, and more paintings, on my Fine Art portfolio page!

 

The hardest part

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Is the start of the project.

I have a very cool project starting with Charlesbridge Publishing. After several years of making opportunities for myself – searching for independent authors or publishers who were looking for illustrators for their words – someone contacted me for my illustrations. And I am so excited that one of my favorite publishers will be my first big break into the business.

But I am writing this post about the hardest part of the process – the start. Envisioning the project can be both exciting – imagining that final product on the shelves of bookstores nationwide! – but it is also the most daunting. How will I decide how to tell this story through my images? Is this the best way to do so? What am I missing?

It’s difficult bringing other people’s words to life, but I find I enjoy it as much as I do creating my own unique characters. My challenge is to infuse a bit of myself into someone else’s vision, our visions becoming one. Usually, I’ve worked alongside my author, hearing their praises or concerns throughout the process. This time, I am dealing with the Art Director, a role I once saw myself in at a startup company, and one that I’ve always been drawn to. This person is going to fuse author and illustrator visions together in a way I haven’t experienced yet in my years in this business.

It’s really, really scary.

I have to keep telling myself, they chose me for a reason. They like my style, and they believe in me (“They” being the art directors, who might be scary in my mind, but who I know to be very kind, wonderful ladies). But there’s that voice of doubt that still tells me, you’re going to screw this up.

This is a voice I am very used to. It has been with me since I was a child. And I see it in the students I work with. Envisioning the potential for one’s work is the most daunting, exhilarating feeling possible, and the best part is, we get to feel this feeling time and time again throughout our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, the most difficult part for a child, or an adult artist, is starting. And envisioning that shiny finished piece of artwork on display for everyone to admire. But as an art educator, I have the double duty of being an artist who deals with the same struggles of my students, and then the teacher who shares that experience with her students and takes her own advice.

So I say to my students, and I say to myself:

Bare with the process. Do you want your work to look good now, or later? Keep pushing through, this is just the beginning.

This is just the beginning.

Image

preliminary sketch of a chimney swift bird, trying to get the proportions and unique characteristics of the bird and bird’s nest

My newest endeavors

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To all my fans, old and new:

I am constantly learning new things about myself. This fall, I’ve started grad school for Art Education. I’m getting my Master’s from Mass Art, and am in my second week of classes. My brain is full of knowledge, and I am looking at everything in my life differently through the lens of a teacher. My decision to make this career change has never been better, and I can’t wait to update you all on my experiences!

That being said, I am still drawing, thinking, writing, and inspiring artists of all ages.  Stay tuned for my next adventures!

 

All good things,

Nicole

Recap of Comics Class Winter Semester

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I had a blast working with my students this semester at Brookline Arts Center in my Comics class. This was the first time I’ve taught the Comics class at the BAC, and the class is quite popular and well renowned in the community.

As always, I had a variety of personalities – some self directed, some distracted, some in need of lots of guidance. I always stressed that making comics is a process, it takes a lot of time to develop a full story – the text, the environment, the characters. Creating the world is harder sometimes than the dialogue you have to write. I never wanted my kids to feel like because they had a different style, or different working speed, they weren’t doing the right thing. As a storyteller myself, I am faced with the same daily challenges with my stories. They might not be comic books, but they still are stories.

Regardless, I believe that in the end – I did get through to each one of my students. They raved about the class to their parents at home. During our reveal at the end of our last class, they were proud of all their work – and we could see how they developed as artists in just a few short weeks.

Below is a selection of their work. It was funny, explorative, and inspirational!

 

 

“Whisper”, illustration friday

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The word of the week for Illustration Friday (Friday Feb 22) was “Whisper”. I was inspired by my latest batch of students from Brookline Art Center’s ARTVentures Winter Vacation Program, and decided to use them as models for some new characters: (top: with background. bottom, original) whisper_feb whisper2_web

Darwin Goes Digital

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Just to change it up today, while I was taking a break from working I decided to do some digital drawings of Darwin and Emma. Way back in early 2012, I was working on designs for mailers marketing my work, and this was a sketch for one of the designs. I tweaked it a bit, and here are the results. If I had more time, I may have colored things more detailed or differently, but this was how I was feeling this afternoon. I gave myself a time limit of 1.5 hoursImage

I sometimes forget how much I love my tablet pen. I taught myself how to use the tablet in Fall 2010, after  I realized while applying for jobs how valuable a skill it could be. Now I’m glad I’ve gotten so used to it!

***Updated to add a new version of this piece, with a more warm color scheme. If anyone knows my work, I tend to prefer to work in warmer tones. What are your thoughts?