Monday, December 28, 2009

Princess Kate

This is a painting I made for a little girl who worries that wearing glasses means she could never become a princess. Glasses aside, I do fear that it is terribly hard to find an actual prince these days, so it is most likely that she never will become one... Statistically speaking, that would probably be more geographically-based and have very little to do with having 20/20 vision. Maybe slightly better odds that she will become a princess than actually meet a unicorn, let alone feed him an apple.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Happy Friday! Here is a new coloring page for the kiddies! I am in charge of planning the winter party for my daughter's first grade class next week, so I hope they like it. Here's to winter, snow, hats, mittens, snowmen, scarves, and penguins!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Please Mr. Postman

This rather largish stack of postcards went out on their merry way on Monday (that is a golf ball for scale). Here's hoping they make it to their intended destinations and don't get chucked immediately. My secret wish for them, should they not get a parade when they arrive, is that they get filed away to look on later or else recycled if they are not a favorite. They are my little lottery tickets... I buy them knowing full well that I might not win, but the happy dreams that they might keep me going. This is all part of the happy mystery of children's books. If it is meant to be, it will happen. When it happens, it is magic!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

There's No Place Like Home

First of all, this has nothing to do with The Wizard of Oz. It is about a magical place called Kansas...My dear friend, Amanda, moved to Kansas a while back. Amanda is a native Minnesotan, and we've been friends forever... She is a busy mom and marathon runner and a very talented lady with a darling shop on Etsy where she sells her Felted Fun Creations. Look at the adorable napkins rings she made! Aren't they sweet? Almost as sweet as she is...
Amanda is friends with Christy (who also lives in Kansas). When I was first trying to get information about illustrating children's books, Amanda put me in touch with Christy. I was blown away by Christy's kindness, support, and the incredible amount of information she gave me. Christy is an accomplished author and illustrator of books for kids (along with also being a busy mom) and also creates beautiful paper goods at The Petite Press. Her artwork is wonderful, charming, and absolutely beautiful. This is one of her books:
I found Aimee's blog when visiting Christy's blog one day. Aimee (another busy mom in Kansas) creates fabulous artsy doodles and is an absolute riot. I have been having a great time getting to know her! This is a photo of the gypsy that hangs over my desk. I look at it and feel inspired every day! Visit her Doodleshop on Etsy to see more of Aimee's work! Love it!
So, I hope that one of these days I'll be able to click my ruby slippers together and grab a cup of coffee with the three coolest chicks in Kansas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Here Kitty Kitty

These are the cats that live at my friend Sharon's house. They are VERY cute, and quite good at trouble-making. You can see more of Sharon's lovely work here and here. How the heck are ya? I'd really love to know! Are you having a good day, on your 3rd cup of coffee, going to the grocery store??? I am about to have a nice cup of tea. Cheers!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Food Rave

This is a new little bit of art I designed for Food-Rave, a place where you can go to find delicious recipes collected from all over the web. All the recipes link back to the original cooking blogs and their original authors. I found a great recipe for a baked chicken and rice dish that I am eager to try... In other news, you can find me on twitter now. My friend, Alicia, signed up and talked me into it. It is actually kind of a fun way to see what people are up to, publishing-related or not. For a stay-at-home-mom like myself, it is also a really nice way to feel like I am still connected to the outside world. Chirp, chirp!
p.s. Look and see what Christina, Shawn, Boni, and Elvis Poultry are up to!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

C'est Bon!

I have fallen in love. Not with Chef Pierre, but with pen and ink. Previously, I had been inking with micron pens and having nice results. Who knew how much joy I would find with pen and ink!!! It is like painting with a pen, I love, Love, LOVE it!!! Chef Pierre was my first attempt, I have since inked and painted a whole spread from my book dummy. I have been catching-up since my illustration class: updating the old mailing list and a few fun projects. Oh, I also have some great news: saw the digital proofs from my book and they look great AND found out that the author is pleased with how it looks, too!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Proud Friend Moment!

I am very proud to announce that my friend Jen (who I have known since 7th grade!!!) has just written a book for a local publisher! I See Me! publishes wonderful personalized books for kids. Visit their website to check out "A Christmas Bear for Me" written by Jennifer Dewing and beautifully illustrated by Wilson Ong! So proud of you, Jen!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hello Cutie

I have an almost-five-year-old at my house who is having a Hello Kitty birthday party this year! The festivities begin tomorrow on her b-day and culminate in a kid party Sunday, with Halloween sandwiched in the middle. We are having a busy week! My illustration class went well Monday night, I started working on my final painting for class and will be putting my book dummy together. Happy Birthday Miss M!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Monday

Thanks for all of the wonderful comments on my last post! Since then, I have been plugging away at my dummy book for my illustration class and I am getting excited that it is coming together. I will hopefully get some sketches up to show you soonish, as I have been not such a super blogger lately... Busy planning a Hello Kitty birthday party for my almost-five-year-old and keeping up with my first grader and homework and everything. The fall colors are wonderful right now. Wish I had more time to just sit and watch the leaves fall from the trees. Oh, we also have some happy news: a little puppy will be joining our family after the holidays!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Order Up

Hey, there! Here is whole diner piece for ya, hold the mayo.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bear Claws

This is a bit of a new painting I just completed for my illustration class. I'll post the whole thing when I get a better photo. Working on this made me realize how much I enjoyed working at Bridgeman's in college. Really nice customers, great co-workers, fantastic grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate malts, and an awesome jukebox so we could listen to tunes all day. I think I played "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos every shift I worked...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Red Wing Cat Birds

There is a whole lot going on in Red Wing, Minnesota. The Red Wing Arts Association is hosting a "Children's Book Illustration Show" with art by members of CBIG. The show starts today and runs until November 22nd. There is an public reception on Saturday, Oct. 3rd from 2-4pm. The show will be held at The Depot Gallery, 418 Levee Street, Red Wing, Minnesota.
The following weekend will be the 43rd Annual Red Wing Fall Festival of the Arts. So, my Catbirds will be down in Red Wing at the Depot Gallery. If you can't make it, just look at this blog and pretend you were there, and help yourself to the smorgasbord of virtual refreshments!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Golden Guernsey

The Red Bengal goat is not actually a goat breed- thanks for voting! This is my first assignment for illustration class: I needed to include 5 things that begin with the letter "G." Imagine how thrilled I was that there is a Golden Guernsey goat! Trying to keep up with back-to-school and the kids and finding art time, still need to get my postcards in the mail, and will be in a gallery show that starts this weekend in Red Wing, MN with fellow CBIG artists. I'll post about that next time. Happy Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Congratulations to Pizza- the winner of our Fave Hot Lunch poll! The photos above are from an assignment I just finished for a fab illustration class I am taking! Pardon the poor lighting for the first image- but sometimes it is nice to see what it looks like before I paint it. I have a weird moment before I paint and worry that I will wreck it. Nina=Nerd. I like how this one turned out, though. I'll post the whole thing next time. Oooh, suspense!
Be sure to vote in our next poll: Which Is Not ACTUALLY a Goat Breed

Monday, September 14, 2009

Update Update

Hey, There! I am happy to share that my website has been updated, please visit if you get a chance. The Minnesota SCBWI Conference on Saturday was great- such wonderful speakers and terrific friends! I feel very inspired! I am looking forward to taking an illustration class this fall (it starts tonight!) and learning as much as I can. Congratulations to my friend Sharon Wagner on winning the 2009-2010 MNSCBWI Illustrator Mentorship with the very talented Carrie Hartman!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Birthday Girls

My cute little nieces are turning 1 and 2 this September. My cute sister asked me to design their invitation for them (and let me blog it, blurring out a few details, of course!). Please take a moment to vote in our poll, inspired by my new first grader: Favorite Hot Lunch

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I should be sleeping. Instead I am listening to Queen, just finished registering more folks for the Minnesota SCBWI annual conference, now Sergio Mendes, cutting apart birthday party invitations for my cute niece girls, now Stevie Wonder, checking out Facebook, now Crowded House, and am about to order new postcards and business cards online. My TO DO list is TOO LONG. Is there a support group for iTunes junkies? I don't have a problem, I can quit anytime I want to...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Red Pony

We had a big old box elder tree in our front yard that had to come down this summer. The split down the trunk was such that it might have fallen on the house, or more importantly, on our kid's bedrooms. So, as I was taking photos of the aftermath, I noticed something that disturbed me slightly, and would love to share it with you now:
Do you see a shetland pony bleeding from it's mouth? Because I sure do, and it creeps me out.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pink and Blue By Nina

Good Morning! Today is the 3 year anniversary of the Chicken Nugget Lemon Tooty blog, where a super cool Dad posts art by his amazing children. I created some fan art for this happy occasion, and was inspired by "Pink and Blue by Gracie." Make sure to go on over to see all the art that was created for this special day, and visit their other blog (Bookie Woogie) where the kids review children's books. Three cheers for the Z-Kids!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Zoo Part 3

This terrapin really actually had two back legs.
The Gemsbok is actually much larger in real-life.
This fish was constantly moving rocks out of his little hidey-hole... Cute!
Check back on Saturday for some new art!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zoo Part Two

Three prairie dogs

and one bison.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Zoo Camp

Last week my kids had Zoo Camp at the Minnesota Zoo. I did a little sketching, a lot of walking, and got to hang out with a cool friend (we go all the way back to 7th grade!). This Amur Tiger was amazing- but very active. Every time I'd start to draw it, it moved.

The tiger paused to sniff the breeze- this is my favorite photo.

Coming soon: MORE zoo sketches! Have a groovy weekend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Apple Orchard

The Guest Artist on my blog today is my almost-first-grader! I love the vivid colors she used and the happy look on the kid's face! Pretty soon it will be apple picking time... yikes!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Tortoise Time

This is a tortoise that I sketched at the MNSCBWI Como Zoo field trip earlier this month. Get ready for a random animal factoid from Nina: Not all "turtles" are turtles! A tortoise has stumpy-type feet and lives primarily on land, a turtle mainly lives in the water and has flipper-like feet for swimming, and a terrapin can live on land and in the water (but always near the water) and their feet have claws and webbing. Check out the San Diego Zoo website for more cool turtle information!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


My first painting since I have finished the book! This will be in a gallery show with fellow CBIG'ers this October in Red Wing, Minnesota. Next post: Zoo sketches!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I Heart Unicorns!

Well, the bunnies have left the nest and have been seen frolicking about the yard. I find myself currently stymied by a story idea, and this preoccupation has become my current occupation. Also started on a new drawing that will be in a show with fellow CBIG'ers in October. Not much else to report, I guess. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bunnies For Sale!

It is a good thing we don't keep up with our yardwork! My kids were on the swingset yesterday and I was chatting with my favorite neighbor when she noticed something move in the grass about 3 feet from where we were standing. These little critters were snug as bugs in their little nest, right in the middle of the yard! Too funny! So, we took a little peek and a couple photos, the kids squealed with delight, and we covered them up again. I told you we live on a bunny farm!

Thursday, July 9, 2009


I found a creative use for leftover postcards from my last mailing campaign! Wallpaper! My darling daughters were kind enough to model for me. I wonder if it is possible to create custom wallpaper from your own designs? Hmmmm......
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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Feed the Birds

Now I totally have the song from Mary Poppins stuck in my head! Here is a new sketch that I am going to finish, eventually... Getting used to my new computer, I am a Mac now! Still have to figure out how to get my email to not only GET messages, but send them, too. Baby steps. Oh, and I am going to figure out iTunes if it kills me! I have a hand-me-down iPod from my husband and am excited to get that loaded up with favorite songs. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Field Trip!

Join us for the Minnesota SCBWI Field Trip to the Zoo!
Saturday, July 11, 2009
10am to 2pm
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive Saint Paul, MN 55103
Voluntary donation to Como Park Zoo is $2
Pack a lunch, your art or writing supplies, and some sunscreen! We’re going to spend the day gathering inspiration from the various creatures and activities that the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory has to offer. Sketch, paint, write a children’s poem, come up with a new character or story idea, or practice a creative technique…. Go WILD with your imagination!
Meet at the Como Zoo Entrance at 10am. It is located at the Visitor Center. We will share our work and maybe even do some brainstorming when we break for lunch. This is a great chance to mingle with some of your fellow Minnesota SCBWI members!
See you there!
For more information, visit
For Como Park Zoo directions (including a map), visit

p.s. Back from the beach, we had a really nice time. It is good to be home! I have loads of new sketches to post- stay tuned!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Wish You Were Here

We are almost ready for our family vacation! I have cleaning and packing to do today, and am excited for a little break from the ordinary. Looking forward to hanging out with the fam, reading a book, and doing some sketching. My paintings for the book are safe in the hands of the publisher. Man, Karen is SO wonderful! It was great to finally meet her in person! I miss my little "baby" but am excited to see how it will grow into a real book!
Wishing you all a lovely weekend! See you in July!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Nerd Alert

I had a typo in my last post.
I meant to say "my previous post" not "my precious post."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Night

Hope you had a nice weekend. Mine was nice, except I seem to have caught a cold. I think it is the same kind of cold you get when you have finished all your finals and let your guard down. Never expected I would feel so displaced... I really miss working on the book more than I thought I would. My plan is to get moving on a new postcard, update my website a bit, and keep working on a book idea that I think I might have gotten onto paper successfully while my kids were at camp last week. I'll have to dedicate it to Caribou's hot chocolate, doughnuts, and apple fritters (if it ever goes to press)! lol! This might be the last little bloggie I'll have to share from the book for now. I get to meet the publisher in person on Tuesday when I deliver the finished paintings- that will be really cool. Thanks for your nice comments from my precious post, by the way! Your pal, Nina
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