Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In the Library

© Ginger Nielson
I have a fondness for this illustration. Maybe because two people who never knew each other, might be about to meet. But on what terms? Under what circumstances?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009


(you will need to click on the image to see the whole spread)
I enjoy making patterns for my illustrations and for my characters. Here is an illo from a book I am S T I L L creating with the pattern on the woman's dress added in a separate image.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Continuing with the Fold out book

Sometimes we may take on a project that expands in ways we didn't realize beforehand.
At any rate, I will continue with my revision of the original story about the little elephant. As a fold out the number of illustrations has MushROOMEd from 34 pages (including the front and back covers) to around 44 with all the flaps and fold outs. It is fun, and I know I will be happy with the end result.
It is also a LOT of work.
On the bright side, if there is one, *:) work is so slow right now that I have time to give this project my full attention and as I do things are looking better.
Here are some examples of the older version and the newer version. It is a bit softer, more tuned to the youngest market and hopefully more interactive with the fold out surprises I have introduced.

This is the older half finished version.

This is the newer sketch

And this is the newer finished painting.

Although you may not see much difference ... the changes are there. Lighter water with more sparkle and different ears that look more like a real baby elephant's ears. Also I simplified the background. This is actually only one half of a full page spread.

Monday, September 21, 2009


The International Day of Peace has great meaning for our planet.
I first became involved with the movement for Peace on Earth through the first book I illustrated , One Day in Peace, January 1,2000. It was later renamed, Peace Day and then redone with new illustrations I created and has been translated into over 18 languages and is available to read online.
We also collaborated on a small book titled, The Department of Peace and is available as a Two in One Book.
The project was done as a no fee project by the two authors and myself for the benefit of the children of the world.

As today is International Day of Peace, please take ONE minute out of your day today, to say a prayer for Peace.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

slightly corrected ~ a question of semantics

My latest project to produce a dummy for a lift the flap book, seems to be misnamed.
Actually it is a FOLD OUT book. Now that I have that settled I will continue with my dummy and the knowledge that there is a name for what I am trying to create.

The whole idea behind this new direction comes from the fact that I want to create some surprises in my story and also have room for more of the characters and the adventure. I am creating the first dummy in 10x8 landscape orientation, but may change the size downward since I now have the added space on the fold out sections. Another alternative is to add a PULL OUT page here and there, but I am not sure if it will fit the story. If it does that is one more challenge that I would love to embrace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

When "THEY" talk about a "life's work...."

When artists and authors talk about a life's work it makes me think of some of the projects, and one in particular that I have and am working on.

I wanted to share these thoughts with other illustrators who are struggling, starting out, aspiring, and/or feeling like they are just treading water. One needs to keep on believing in oneself and the real talent they have been given to share.

Since I have been drawing and painting since childhood I have gathered a few projects that I have never discarded. One of these projects is at least 25 years old and began as watercolor and pen illustrations done at my kitchen table when the children were young. One of them was so young that any oil painting I was working on had to be HIGH up on my easel or there would be little finger marks all along the bottom edge of the wet paint.

What I have begun to call my "life's work" is being revived and is no longer watercolor paintings taped to the kitchen walls. I think I have to call it a "life's work" since I have been revising, submitting, and revising over the years. In between it has been submitted and seen by editors in person in NYC , New England and those that have reviewed it via the US postal system. However, good comments and constructive critique don't mean anything unless one is willing to act upon them and make changes which might even need to accommodate a new direction.

Yet, once again it has a new life and a slightly new direction as a combination of traditional and digital painting.

For me, I think this is the project I always go back to. No matter how many times I work on any other assignment, this one still captures my attention. And the process of creating is as much a reward as the hope of someday seeing the book published. I will not self publish. That is not an option for this piece.

One thing I have noticed in this long journey is that the work is actually getting better, more refined, and pleases me more with each renewal. Maybe it will find its way into a book, maybe not. Maybe it will just remain my therapy.

The story and illustrations have been reviewed with really good comments, but rejected several times. On the bright side, it has only been rejected those few times...and the positive comments that accompanied those rejections were filed along with my notes and have been acted upon. All that means is that I haven't given it enough time, or submitted it to enough houses. When I get to 24 rejections I will invoke the name of Dr. Suess and try again.

The motto of many illustrators and authors is "Never Give Up."

My motto is a bit different, and was given to me by my dad. "Take A Chance!"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lizards on leaves ~ Cool Reader: cards for kids

Experimenting with textures and papers. I decided to make a few cards using this illustration. I ordered just a few from Overnight Prints to see how I would like them. I know I could do my own, but for this first trial I'll trust the professionals to do a good job. I think these would make great cards for boys to use for Thank Yous, Get well to a friend and maybe some other occasions where it helps to have a boy-themed card that is still a bit sophisticated.

But we need not leave the girls out... so I created another set just for them.
Both sets are blank on the inside to fit any occasion for which a child might need a card.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Alternate compositions

©Ginger Nielson 2009
To be able to change elements in a painting using digital techniques is both a blessing and a curse. This is an example of a piece I am working on for my portfolio. At some point I have to make the ultimate decision to continue with the painting of one of these four versions. If you click on the image you can see all four images.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Bedroom Ate My Homework-start to finish

The new finish.
And there are at least 35 items here that need to be picked up!
And the homework is in there too. Can you spot it?

Okay so that's is the finish. But I wanted to tell other illustrators and friends how this all came about. It is a lesson that we learn and sometimes never realized we needed. I was asked to submit an image of a child for a project. The theme was similar, and my sketch was good, but not good enough or perhaps the right fit for the project. But instead of tossing the sketch that I had worked hard on, I decided to keep it in my Digital File for further study. At first I didn't want to go back to it at all. Later I realized I had something that I could build upon.

I worked on the newer version of the original sketch for a few days and when I liked the ideas that were forming I started the whole illustration over in color. Now I have something that I will save for my portfolio and I am happy that I took the time to create a new image.

This finish took about three days to complete, and I enjoyed the journey immensely. As a mom I can remember rooms like this. Oh yes!
And isn't it wonderful when you find what you are looking for.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A revision ... coming together slowly

This is a revision of an earlier piece. I am working on adding new elements and refining the finished painting.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Behind every tree...

Behind every tree lies a secret. Some are more interesting than others.
If you have a good enough imagination you will find those secrets. But will you be brave enough to continue the adventure? Will you be imaginative enough to see what others cannot?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sometimes you just can't sleep

I spent so much time being awake thinking of this image, that it was the first thing I did in the studio today.
I am sure that happens to many of my illustrator friends. You just can't let it go and it nags at you until you
give the image some time. Here is the rough sketch and the image.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Now children, never do this....

This is one of the illustrations from a book by Brettell Hone, that I had the pleasure of illustrating. The entire experience was a learning one for me and a delight to work with Brettell who is an amazing story teller. MY African Bedtime Rhymes has recently been reviewed again by the Wandering Educators.

This is one of my favorite illustrations for several reasons. I liked the action in the story, and love the sunset colors I was able to use. And I enjoyed researching crocs and African watering holes. There are some great animal cams on AFRICAM.com. You have to go there early in the day as the animals are usually asleep by the time we get to our afternoon.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


It's not magic!
Fresh air, sunshine and vitamins have a direct effect on one's health.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

So what do you do in your spare time?

QUESTION: What DO you do in your "spare time?"
In addition to trying my best to keep my work fresh and to keep learning and inventing new ways to show emotion and a little story within each illustration,
I also write articles.
Several have been printed in the New England Scbwi Regional Newsletter.

I do this mostly to keep my own mind moving in the right direction, but also to provide just a little help perhaps for someone new to illustration or someone who needs a hint or word to the wise ( or a kick in the .....) . You can find all the articles on my website along with some links to other artists, my sketchbook and online portfolios. Happy reading *:)

Now my question to you dear illustrators... what do you do in your spare time that could benefit other illustrators?