Okay, folks! I'm super excited to present you with my very first interview!
Lori Nichols is a wonderful artist I'd like you to meet. She's been one of my favorites for a while and has a lovely self-titled shop, on Etsy: www.LoriNichols.etsy.com. Without further ado, let's get to it!
Q: As a day job holder myself, I’m always interested to know what other artists do during “normal buisness hours”...what pays the bills over there in Birmingham, Alabama?
A: Most of my income comes from creating soft-sculptures for different shops and shows. I have three shows coming up in April.
I am also an illustrator and working on getting my first book published. The book is being shopped around several different publishing houses now.
* * *
Q: What first inspired you to start creating your lil’ rib ticklers?
A: My daughters were my inspiration. I started creating little owls from discarded knit tights for a fundraiser for their school (their mascot is an owl). One little girl who had purchased an owl walked into a local shop with it. The owners called me to see if I’d like to create a line for their online shop using their discarded letterpress and wood items. The rest is history! You can see their shop and some of my critters/owls at www.nightowlpapergoods.com.
* * *
(Side note: How cool is that, guys?! I can only dream of being "discovered" one day like this. :) Moving on...)
* * *Q: I’m sure you love them all, as any plushie artist does, but is there a critter in your herd that you enjoy more than others or that is maybe special to you in some way?
A: I really enjoy creating the pigs. I think it’s because they are all so happy. It’s hard to be in a bad mood when you’re creating a funny little critter who’s smiling at you. Also, I use the same pattern each time, but if you visit my site you can see they are all so different. This makes it fun because they all have their own personalities and make me chuckle.
* * *
Q: Do you have any memorable custom orders you’d like to share with us?
A: One woman contacted me to make a custom order of her two hamsters, Soda and Pop. They were very cute and fun to create. She sent adorable photos of them and I then sketched them into illustrations before I began to create them as plushies.
* * *Q: Your illustrations are absolutely wonderful! What is your favorite medium to work with?
A: Thanks! I enjoy working very small using a fine-nibbed sharpie to create sketchy line-work. I then scan the images large in Photoshop or Illustrator and add various color fields.
* * *Q: In your Etsy profile, you mention a children's book in the works. How exciting! Any updates you’d like to share with us on that?
A: I’ve been working with a rep in New York making revisions and tweaking for over a year. She just submitted the finished “idea” to about nine different publishing houses in February. Now it’s just wait and see who’s interested!
* * *
Q: That's so cool - congratulations! Well, I know you've got some work to do still, but that's a great accomplishment! What were some of your absolute-favorite-couldn’t-live-without-them books as a child?
A: I remember being in love with the “Little Golden Books” as a child. Little Red Hen & Snow White. I thought the illustrations were incredible. We also had a large Grimm’s Fairy Tale book that I loved. As an adult I couldn’t live without: Petuina by Roger Duvoisin or anything by illustrator Olof Landstrom and author Lena Landstrom.
* * *
Q: Where do you see your creative self in the next five years?
A: I’d like to be illustrating children's books more regularly. I have three different books that I’ve created but that need an art director and editor to help me get them to the next phase. I like the thought of creating merchandising for a book I’ve created or working with a toy company to design products.
* * *
Well, Lori - I wish you all the luck in the world in the future. I think it would be amazing to be a children's book writer/illustrator by profession. Your work is inspiring and I'm so glad you took the time to stop by my blog to share some of you with us. :) Thanks again!