Thursday, July 26, 2007

Zubie ~ the Lightning Bug

Ready for it's second printing, Zubie the Lightning Bug received a warm review from the Midwest Book Review for thier Children's Book Shelf.

"Zubie The Lightning Bug
Candace Coleman
The Parent Brigade Company
530 New Los Angeles Avenue, #115-332, Moorpark, CA 93021
0977499804 $15.99

Zubie The Lightning Bug: I Want To Remember Your Thoughts by Candace Coleman and with colorful illustrations from Ginger Nielson, is the colorful tale of Zubie the little lightning bug and his loving mother. Following the little bug through his adventurous life, Zubie The Lightning Bug offers parents and children a wealth of fun and interactive questions about their own life as a way of preserving those memories to look back upon in the years ahead. Original, entertaining, "kid friendly", and a lot of fun, Zubie The Lightning Bug is very highly recommended for parents and their children ages 5 to 9 for its approach to remembering the adventures of childhood and the accomplishments associated with growing up."

With the second printing just around the corner I will be helping the publisher to make some simple changes that will create an even better experience for parents and children.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007


Isn't everything you can discover at the Zoo... a wonderful thing! It really doesn't matter which side of the fence you are on either.

©Ginger Nielson 2007

Your comments below are truly appreciated, or you can Email Me ~ at

How Well Does Your Website Work?

Hi guys. I have been doing a great deal of websurfing looking at various illustrator's websites. In preparation for updating my own site, and possibly investing in new software (oh I wish) I took a good look around.

To me, and that is just me.... the sites that attract me as an artist or even as an art seeker are those that give me the least amount of grief.
I mean, just think about it for a minute. Do you really want to sit and wait minutes for a site to dance around and show you spots of color and little icons SLOWLY coming into view? Wouldn't you want to get right to the meat of a website. It is important for the target audience, the art editors, to see and be attracted to the artist's best work. What editor wants to spend three or four or even two minutes waiting for an introduction to allow him or her to enter a portfolio. ( Just think "slush pile on the internet.") A website that opens BING!, in one second, is an open door to your hard work.

The sites that appeal to me the most, are those that open quickly, show great color sense, good design, and are straightforward enough to allow me to see what I am looking for. Ease of navigation is key. Allow the visitor to move easily from one image to the next, provide links and backlinks.

Your links to the world out there should be those that show your skill, invite interest in you as an artist, and highlight your accomplishments. One of the most important links is the link that gives your intended target audience direct contact with you or with your representative. Adding reciprocal links to others in your field and maintaing a blog presence add another dimension to your carefully crafted website. List yourself on search engines.

Lately several of the illustrators that I have met, either in person or through SCBWI and online associations, have redone their websites with great success. They allow you to navigate easily, put forth their best and newest illustrations, and also do a fair amount of necessary self promotion. But don't trust me, take a look on your own. Pretend you are an art editor who has been asked to view several website portfolios...or ten or twenty. I think you'll soon see what I mean.

Lastly, if you really want the best promo advocate in the your mother.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Smart Writers......WIN for 2007

I am pretty happy tonight. The results of the Smart Writers WIN for 2007 are in. Congratulations are in order for Elizabeth Dulemba ( grand Prize winner) and Paige Keiser second place illustration, (both of whom I am sure you least their wonderful illustration work.)
I am honored to be among the top three illustration entrants for the second year in a row. Wow! I think I posted parts of this image before, but just the same here is my third place entry.
Illustration - Judged by Scott Piehl and Lauren Rille, Sterling Publishing

1st Place (tie) - Elizabeth Dulemba's "Lula's Brew"
1st Place (tie) - Michael A. Tyson's "Little Detective_Messy Monster"
2nd Place - Paige Kaiser's "Beach Day"
3rd Place - Ginger Nielson's "Fishing"v

Another Wall...

I mentioned hitting the WALL a few posts back. This has nothing to do with that 'wall' that writers and illustrators sometimes need to overcome. Rather, it is the wall I am painting for our summer theater camp for the children in our town and surrounding communities. The theater camp is open to children in our area who are entering grades 2-5 in the fall. Each year for the past three years I have been lucky enough to be invited to paint scenery for the plays that are performed.

This year the staging calls for some interior walls. This is a sample of one of the two 8foot high walls. There is more to come, including some 11' flats, and another interior scene. This small sample is a working model for the larger painting. Somehow the final product takes on a life of its own and although I would LIKE it to mirror the initial small idea, the larger scenery somehow requires some tweaks that are needed for the stage. Once the sets are up I'll post some pix. Stay tuned and see if I can make it all work.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Another Advantage

Another advantage of computer programs to create illustrations, is the ability to make a huge sketch into a smaller integrated part of a larger work. This little image is a part of another much larger piece, but the ability to create it in large sweeping motions and then reduce it to any size needed is one of the gifts that computer painting programs offer.
The original image is almost 14 inches wide, but it can be reduced to two or three without losing any definition. As for painting the elements, my painting program allows me to enlarge areas that would be too small to paint traditionally, and get just the effects I am looking for.

For those who asked.....I am GEEKY

And for those who didn't know I am, but might have wondered..... I am a computer Geek! And my fave program is Painter. The upgrades keep coming and I keep acquiring them.

The newest, Painter X is worth the price of the upgrade. Hard to say how many updates will be needed. With any new program as deep as Painter, there is always a bit of wiggle room for improvement. This first update to Painter X.... Painter X.1 fixes some of the problems people had with the initial offering.

My history with Painter goes back to Painter 4.0 when I was a graphic arts, Family Computing host on AOL. Several of us hosted chat groups and tutorial groups on AOL for those new to Painter. Those were my "formative"GEEKY days, I guess .... about 12 years ago.
This image is from a lesson on creating 3D text and it is still in some dark corner of AOL although it cannot be accessed by anyone anymore. I still use Painter for my illustration work, and the advances in technology, computers and the program itself make the time taken to learn it, well worthwhile.
The advances in the program and the learning all along the way makes the occasional struggle or late night learning session
profitable in the end result. Layers, transparencies, the ability to move objects and smoosh, squeeze, and manipulate a painting are only a few of the tools Painter offers. With the newer programs, the ability to paint with ease and mimic traditional brush strokes is amazing. (You can view this image a bit larger if you click on it)

And I do still paint traditionally as well. Somehow the work I do in the computer actually enhances my traditional work. There is something about being able to explore so many things in a computer, without having to completely rePAINT, that gives me an advantage when it comes to making those final decisions with traditional media.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Well... I thought I might have outsmarted myself. After installing Painter X and figuring out how to maximize the performance I went ahead and began loading in all my premade patterns, brushes, and image hoses. BIG MISTAKE. I must have overloaded the library capacity in the program, and when I next tried to open Painter X it crashed, crashed some more and crashed yet again.

After trying to reinstall it twice (TWICE) I did what I should have done in the first place. I simply read the READ ME files on the CD for techie issues. There was the answer. The next time I started P X all I had to do was hold down the shift key upon launch and choose Current Workspace. Voila! Success.

I mention this here in case anyone else has so many homemade brushes and patterns, etc. Don't load them into the program, just keep them in separate libraries, and access them as needed. That way the program doesn't have to run uphill hauling a backpack of rocks while trying to open all the doors and windows to your artwork.

Monday, July 2, 2007


A kind of a twist...a "Cheese Doodle" Sunshine!