Thursday, February 26, 2009


I don't often delight in crime TV, but I do like the "hunt" that goes on within some mystery dramas, and the forensic chase in the CSI series threesome. What struck me last night in CSI NY was the mournful face of the Turkey Buzzard found roosting in Manhattan. It was such a forlorn and soulful face that it kept nagging at me until I could paint this version. So here is "Buzzy."

I am thinking I would like to include him in a story. Maybe he will get to meet Winston the Wonderhound at some point.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Winston Wednesday ~ Chapter VI

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: to save you all from having to go back into the depths of this blog I have archived all of Winston's Adventures on a separate blog. Just as it was before, it creates a new area, but at least all the chapters will be connected to one another and you can easily follow them RIGHT HERE)

The chase was on. Not to let her fears take over, the cook popped Roxxanne into her apron pocket and followed Winston who was following the dragon. As they might have noticed if they had looked out the window.....night was beginning to fall.

The dragon led the trio on a merry chase and disappeared into the caves below the castle.

In the caves it was even darker. Dampness and cobwebs surrounded the cook, Roxxanne and Winston.
Ahead of them they could hear the dragon's heavy footsteps. It bellowed loudly from time to time, as if to scare them away.
There was possibly only one other thing that was more fearsome. The Queen's anger. So they kept on the trail.

Winston the Wonderhound ran on ahead with the cook and Roxxanne close behind.

Does the cook have anything in her pocket that can help them now.
Anything at all? Anything besides Roxxanne?

(If you are following along and want to know what happened up to this point, just check the archives HERE)

Monday, February 23, 2009

A new approach... to something old

I noticed something interesting when I was creating banners for my website overhaul. The images I chose were all rather large and I had to fit a lot into a narrow strip of space at the top of the webpages. So I took some elements from the background and moved them into the foreground to balance the work and make a longer wider banner-like strip. The result was something that I wish I had thought of when I illustrated those books before. Here is one example... the page looks like this in the book....

But, because I needed to fill the wider strip of space I needed to fill in the right side... I did that by taking two characters from the rear of the plane and putting them up in the foreground. I flipped the image horizontally to have these two characters looking back at the action. ( A child has taken his caterpillar on the plane disguised as an airport salad. ) This makes a much more dramatic event. It is a new approach that I will be considering when the illustration can benefit from this type of composition.

I really like the dynamics of this type of layout. Yep, you can still learn something new every day.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Good reviews can make you very happy....*:)

READY SET REVIEWS just gave the newest book written by Brettell Hone (which I illustrated) a wonderful review. Actually this link comes via the publisher who submitted the book for review.

Here is a link to the review of MY AFRICAN BEDTIME RHYMES by Brettell Hone .
I was treated to a rare and wonderful experience working with the South African publisher, SHAMWARI and with Brettell.

One of the benefits of a good review is good sales... and good sales mean another book will be forthcoming *:)

Friday, February 20, 2009

Early morning-sketch to painting

This is a work in progress. I have a long way to go on this project but I am really enjoying the journey.
©Ginger Nielson 2009 all rights reserved


A mother elephant's instinct leads her deep into the jungle as she desperately searches for her missing baby.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Website Update for Spring 2009

I took some time to update my website for Spring 2009. There are still some tweaks going on, but most of the site is live and working now af Ginger Nielson Illustrations

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Postcard update

Based on the wise critique of my friends at NESCBWI.ning I have made some changes to the post card mailer.
Defining the golden egg, making more room for the sky and on the back moving the child's head closer to her outstretched arm near the crook of her elbow. That also meant that I had to adjust her knees under her to keep her from using the goose as a big pillow if she fell forward.

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Little Prince Horace was smitten with the Queen. She smiled longingly at him. He smiled back with anticipation of her magical kiss.

Ah, but little did Prince Horace know, the Queen was more interested in his delicious looking legs.

Spring Things

Yes, it is time for the spring mailers. This is one I am thinking of sending. I like the way the colors are so brilliant in RGB, but am always a bit saddened by the conversion to CMYK for printing. I try to use colors these days that convert more easily but every once in a while I want a color that doesn't quite have the ZING I want.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Time to celebrate... in song...

at the fair...

and just way out wonderful! This last image is in Picture Book on Page 56. I was really disappointed, however in the color quality and the way they cut off the bottom of the image. So at least here you can see the full image.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Working late... and something is taking shape

I am working on a dummy for a story I wrote... I love the story and hope to do it justice with the sketches and a few finishes.
I will share bits and pieces mainly to make sure I keep going. This story has been getting shoved under that ever growing pile of sketches and moleskines for the past year and needs a designated place on my drawing table.
For purposes of explanation, these two are riding to town late in the day.
That space on the left is the text area for this two page spread.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


So, what was it that caused the giant commotion and unearthly roaring.


"If you are back for more china, you are too late," Winston tried to explain.

But before those words were barely out of his mouth the huge beast roared a smelly, hot, smoky roar right at Winston and Roxxanne.

"I don't know what you could want now...." the cook began, but before she could finish, the dragon roared again...and then began to hiccup so loudly that the castle walls began to shake.

With another ROARRRRR at the three astounded individuals the dragon turned and vanished down the stairs to the cellars and caves below the castle.

"Should we follow it?" Winston wondered aloud.

"You can't be serious, " said the cook.

But Winston was serious and he chased after the dragon as fast as his little beagle/bassett legs would allow.

Be sure to stayed tuned each Wednesday for more. And here is a side note: Is it just me, or does that dragon look like it was laughing?

Friday, February 6, 2009

TWO Reviews

I have been fortunate enough to work with Brettell Hone on a beautiful book about African animals that might otherwise go unnoticed. The result is MY AFRICAN BEDTIME RHYMES, and I am pleased to share these two reviews and a few images from the book.

The following book review was published in the STAR a South African newspaper. The publisher, SHAMWARI publishing, is located in South Africa and that is where the author has lived most of his life.

My African Bedtime Rhymes
by Brettell Hone & Ginger Nielson
Shamwari Publishing

Don't forget the children! If, like many parents in these difficult times, you're cutting down on presents for yourselves, remember that the next generation can be educated and entertained at the same time.

Marvellous illustrations complement the intriguing rhymes, the latter having a depth to them that will bring inquiry from the little ones and a smile of recognition from adults.

Read Krish the Fish and Guy the Sly Fly, and you'll pick up all sorts of bonus lessons on fate, on health, on perceptions of beauty, and on survival.

Other rhymed stories are Mvu the Hippo, Orlando the Wood Owl and Kwena the Crocodile, each of them adding an extra dimension to our multicultural world.

And then there is this one from the United Kingdom.
Gazelle Book Services Limited.
White Cross Mills, Hightown, LANCASTER LA1 4XS, United Kingdom.
Telephone: +44(0)1524 68765
Fax: +44(0)1524 63232


MY AFRICAN BEDTIME RHYMES [Brettell Hone] My African Bedtime Rhymes is a collection of entertaining African animal rhymes, beautifully illustrated by well-known children's book illustrator, Ginger Nielson. The rhymes are designed to introduce a selection of familiar and less familiar African creatures to children by enriching the descriptions of the animal's habitats and typical behaviour in a manner that is both educational and enchanting. The language of the rhymes is deliberately challenging and should encourage the enhancement of vocabulary in the children while at the same time, entertaining parents or grand-parents.

When people order the book and aren't nearby for me to sign a copy, I can send this bookplate which I will sign for the person to whom the book is being given. This isn't my original idea, it belongs to SHERRY ROGERS, and I thank her for the idea!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sneak Peek at When Wishes Come True

©GingerNielson 2009-all rights reserved
This is a sneak peek at the book I just finished illustrating, by Barbara B Slater. Hopefully it will be available this Spring. The story, WHEN WISHES COME TRUE, is a beautiful one that I enjoyed illustrating. It was also my first all black and white chapter book.
There is a certain challenge in illustrating in all B&W. Some tones and textures need to be carefully thought out and rendered because color is not an option. Subtle shadings can be a challenge when you are normally asked to illustrate in color. Add to this the challenge of creating digital images with the same care and attention you would if you were using traditional media.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Upon entering the castle the cook took Winston and Roxxanne directly to the huge kitchen...the scene of the crime.
Pieces of golden china and fragile crystal were strewn across the marbled floor.
"Oh how terrible," Roxxanne was shaken by the horrible destruction.

"Yes," added Winston, "terrible indeed!"

"TERRIBLE YOU SAY!!!!! TERRIBLE INDEED~" a shrill yet booming voice echoed through the great expanse of the kitchen.

There in front of the tragic trio stood the Queen. Queen Mellameen, to be exact, and she was not in a good mood.
"What in the BIG WIDE WORLD of my PERSONAL QUEENDOM happened here?" she demanded.

"Oh, your majesty, " stammered the cook, " I am so sorry about all this mess." She took a deep breath and began to explain to the queen how the huge beast (dragon) had burst into the kitchen while she was preparing the Queen's birthday dinner, and had gobbled up all the fine china and crystal.

"And, your Majesty, I am sorry to say he has also eaten your beautiful soup tureen, ladle and all."

"What???? YOU'VE LOST MY ROYAL GOLDEN BOWL? Surely for this your head will roll!"

As you can see the queen did not take the news lightly and as Winston and Roxxanne and the cook stood shuddering at this last exclamation from the angry monarch, another more terrifying noise was heard.

©Ginger Nielson- all rights reserved

(Stay tuned kiddies,...... and if you want to see previous chapters, just scroll down in the blog for any Wednesday. OR check the Wowzio panel to the right of this post and see the other chapters as a thumbnail.)