Saturday, June 25, 2011

sources of inspiration

good lord, it's been a long time since i posted here! things have been crazy. if you read my nicblog, you know that my dad got very sick on march 1st and passed away on march 25th. it was a terrible month. to make matters even worse, i had to prep for the stationery show in the month and a half after his passing. so, life was pretty much insane.

now it's a bit lighter. work has slowed down to a normal pace again, and we're all sort of adjusting to our new world without my dad. 

in good news, work is great. i now get to spend all of my time illustrating, and that to me is the best gift ever. after years of giving up on an illustration career, i've found my way back to it. and that is brilliant. to check out my new notecard line and my new wedding invitations, all illustrated by me, please go to my site

image courtesy of

in more inspiration, i was given this sketchbook yesterday by my hubby. it's the fabriano artists journal. a colleague of his used it for his sketching, and i fell in love. well, that colleague was nice enough to give him one for me yesterday (thanks jeremy!). it's a fun sketchbook, with multi-colored pages, and it inspires me to want to sketch fun things. sort of being like a kid again with a construction paper pad. i absolutely adore it.

hoping to fill this book up with tons of inspirational sketches. =)

so what inspires you?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

my little girl's birthday gift

last year i made an illustration for my daughter's 1st birthday party invitations. i made the original large enough to print and frame, and i put it up in our home above her toy chest. my goal was to make a new one each year for her birthday, so she could keep all of them and look back later to see the changing pieces.

of course, this year i have been completely swamped with work, and waited until last night to start -- and finish -- the piece. thankfully it worked out.

the theme is 2, for her second birthday. so she has two toys with her -- her "ivy doggy" and her "baby ocean", as she calls them. rainbow is her "favorite color" (ha!), so she's wearing a rainbow shirt, and the floor is based on her bedroom carpet.

she came out this morning and immediately pointed to ivy doggy. so i've done my job. happy birthday anna jae.

Monday, December 27, 2010

my super-secret holiday gift, revealed!

my grandpa, al maddalena, 1920-2007

i wanted to do something special for my family's christmas gifts this year. when you're lacking in available funds, it's great motivation to be creative and thoughtful...

since my grandfather passed away on christmas eve, 2007, i thought i might do a portrait of him. i didn't tell anyone that i was doing it -- the only one who knew was my hubby. i worked on it for about a week and a half (painting on the computer helps -- no drying time to factor in). and when it was finished, i did a print for each member of my family, my mom and my grandma getting framed versions and the rest were unframed.

a lot of happy tears, and clearly this piece went over well. =) i must admit, it was the most fun i ever had doing a portrait. i got to look at my grandpa's smiling face every night. what could be better than that?

the progression/process is below.

photo i was working from. our wedding rehearsal dinner, april 6, 2006.

first rough blue sketch...

 first layer of color throughout...

 all dark colors in, highlights and finishing details to come...

finished piece.

detail of my grandpa's smiling face. =)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

cross-post: wood inspiration

i'm currently working on a drawing for a ready-to-order set to add to the nic notes marriage line. it involves winter, and wood, and all those great outdoor things. 

so i started thinking, how many illustrations out there really involve wood? how many will inspire me? well, i have my answer. check it out:

 aesop's fable cover, illustration by milo winter.

 illustration by kristiana parn.

 winter woods abstract by joseph rossbach photography.

 we in winter woods, morton lloyd garchik.

 winter woods, illustration by vivien blackburn.

illustration from lokomotywa, by jan lenica

 the old woman in the wood, illustration by arthur rackham.

winter woods, illustration by karin neumann.

Monday, August 23, 2010

new illo started!

this illustration will be a print as well as a notecard. all about brooklyn and its wacky individuals.

it still needs color! but it's a start!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

top secret project is complete!

woo-hoo! just finished the painting for the top secret project. again, if you know this person, then shush.

detail of the face.

detail of the hand.

this is the pic i was working from for the piece. it's actually 2 photos put together. i like to work from multiple images, and had some other photos of the subject here for inspiration and feel. 

Friday, July 16, 2010

top secret update!

*almost* done. just need to do the hair and i'm finished. but i can't complete it tonight. we will meet again...