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...

update on painting progress...

i got a lot done!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

sneak peek! current portrait project...

this one is on the DL. big secret surprise portrait. if you know who this is... keep your mouth shut! LOL

Friday, June 18, 2010

sneak peek! new invites fresh off the press...

can't give you guys all the details yet. but i just got these back from peter kruty editions, and they are FABULOUS. they just look better than i could have imagined.

can you guess the setting?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

a newly found old commisssion

i'm in the process of updating my websites, and i was looking for work that i have not yet shown off. sadly, it seems as though i've lost a lot of files throughout the years.

that's the bad news.

the good news is, i found something i thought was lost forever. a private commission i did in 2006.

"the girls", a private commission. © nicillustration 2006

this piece was commissioned by my then-boss of his 3 daughters for his wife. it was a very large painting -- 4 ft wide by 3 ft high, i think, or something like that -- and was to be hung in their second home in miami. he wanted something modern, but his idea of "modern" just, you know, wasn't (like warhol was actually current).

so i started going through my library for inspiration. sebastian kruger is always a major source of inspiration for me, and i found just what i needed in his collection -- a group portrait of the stones (his favorite subject) that showed each band member in a different "panel" of sorts. they all had their own background and color schemes. yet, it works together.

so i took that idea and pushed it a little further. i took photos of my client's daughters, each in a different location at their home. different lighting, different backgrounds. then i took a group shot of them together. i used the images to come up with a composition where each of the girls had their own color scheme and setting, but yet were actually interacting with each other and reaching across the panels, taking on the new setting/color scheme of the panel they carried into.

it took me a long time to work on the piece. about 6 months total. but i think the end product was worth it.

glad i found the photo.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

just for you, mr. trump

hello mr. trump! i hope that you are reading this after my tweet to you today @realDonaldTrump.

i did this painting of you in 2004, for an illustration for Online Degrees magazine (no longer in publication). i was thinking of selling it, and i thought i would offer it to you first.

so, if you're interested, make me an offer! i'm happy to deliver it in person too. =)

all the best,
nicole block
designer and illustrator, the nic studio

Thursday, February 25, 2010

poster for the haiti poster project

i finished my poster for the haiti poster project! the concept centers on all the countries in the world that have donated help for haiti, to help rebuild. the sizes of the flags shown represent how much one country may have given in relation to another. the building is based on a number of painted metal shacks in port au prince's la saline market.

the poster may be printed generously by the folks at red dog graphics. however, they can only donate printing for one designer, and since a few of us finished by their deadline, there will be a vote held online to decide who is the lucky designer. i will alert my fans as to when the voting begins. =)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

cross-post: drawing for new project

what do we think? hand-drawn illustration for a current project. i think it's pretty damn, well, pretty!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

sketch of DUMBO brooklyn

i'm doing studies of brooklyn neighborhoods for some stationery work i'm doing. this is of DUMBO.

final illustration!

here's how the final illustration looked! client is very happy.