Take a peek in my sketchbook + studio

 

Day 21 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Throwback These images are from 1991-1993 when I was in grad school at @scaddotedu. I started grad school as a painting major and did the last two paintings in this post during my first year. Everyone in my classes and the professors who came to my critiques and reviews hated them. I wasn’t very good at talking about what my work was about, and they were seen as just pretty, decorative images with no meaning or depth behind them. At the time, being conceptual was all that mattered; you could put a pile of trash in the middle of the room and as long as you could make up some good bullshit, you’d be just fine. Meanwhile, my paintings were being trashed every time. Just when I was about ready to throw in my paintbrush, someone from the fibers department came to one of my reviews and said, “You’re just in the wrong place; come see what we are doing in fibers!” So I did. And I changed my major (which is not easy in grad school!) and switched to fibers. I started learning about screen printing and batik and sewing and what I was struggling to do with paint became easy with fabric dyes, inks and paints! Not only that, they were very well received. I haven’t really done a great deal of fiber work since grad school, but what I learned was invaluable and became part of my growing arsenal of techniques. The first image is batik on silk, the second is (mostly) screen printed on cotton. The last two images are acrylic paint (with a lot of water) on unprimed canvas. #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

Day 21 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Throwback These images are from 1991-1993 when I was in grad school at @scaddotedu. I started grad school as a painting major and did the last two paintings in this post during my first year. Everyone in my classes and the professors who...

Day 20 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Design process

Day 20 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Design process My design process is pretty fluid. I start with a general idea, gather (or take my own) photographs for reference and start by doing a light pencil sketch of the main subject – whether that’s a figure or insect or...

Day 19 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Dream collaboration

Day 19 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Dream collaboration I don’t really have a specific company that I dream about working with, but I would definitely like to license my work to companies that make fabric, wallpaper, bed/bath products, tableware/kitchen products, etc. I...

Day 18 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Mistake or lesson

Day 18 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Mistake or lesson I’m not sure if I’d really call this a mistake or lesson, but my biggest ongoing challenge in my art and design career (and the rest of life, too, for that matter) is my struggle with being organized, managing my time...

Day 17 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: What I’m working on

Day 17 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: What I’m working on Sundays are my planning days. The sun came out and so Pixel and I sat outside for a bit to do some planning for the upcoming week. I’m using the 15 Minute Planner Method by @stephcrowder_ from my current favorite...

Day 16 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Workspace (tidy/mess)

Day 16 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Workspace (tidy/mess) I have a lot of different workspaces in my home/studio for different things that I do. Here are photos of most of them. Know that if it looks tidy it’s because I just spent time cleaning and organizing and haven’t...

Day 15 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Motivation/Goals

Day 15 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Motivation/Goals⁣ ⁣ My main goal has always been to be able to be a full time artist. I’m fortunate to be able to support myself with creative work, between web design and branding and art – and to be able to work for myself for the past...

Day 14 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: How I learned

Day 14 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: How I learned I’m a couple of days behind on these posts, so I’m going to try to catch up this weekend, so expect a few more posts from me than usual. Back on day 2 for “how you started”, I talked about making ceramics and drawing as a...

Day 13 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Photography

Day 13 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Photography Taking photos of my work… I absolutely do not have a good process for this! Since I’m doing mostly digital things these days, it’s not an issue, I just have to save the files from Procreate or Photoshop or Illustrator. A lot...

Connecticut’s state flower is the mountain laurel.

Connecticut’s state flower is the mountain laurel. White flowers are difficult to draw/paint. Too much white and they look flat and lifeless. Too much color and, well, they aren’t white anymore. I’ll have to add the state insect when I have a chance. Don’t forget to...

Day 12 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Hands at work.

I love drawing on unusual things… my car, animal bones, this ukulele that a friend commissioned from me. You should probably hire me to #doodleonyourstuff #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

Day 11 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Reducing waste

I almost skipped today because I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t done much to reduce my impact on the environment. For now, the best thing I can say is that I’m doing most of my drawing these days on the iPad and not using paper and ink… but that’s really not...

Day 10 of MarchMeetTheMaker is You

Day 10 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is You Hmmmm… about me. I’m Nikki D. May. I always include the D when I write my name because people – especially in the south – seem to want to think my name is Nikki May, like Betty Sue or Bobby Jo. It’s not. My name is also not Nicole,...

Day 9 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is Story behind your name

Day 9 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is Story behind your name I do both my design and art work under the name Nikki D. May Art + Design. But this hasn’t always been the case. When I first started doing freelance design and illustration in 1996, I chose the name Blue Frog...

Day 8 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Product line

Today is day 8 of #marchmeetthemaker: Product line. Here are the aprons I had made from my #birthmonthflowers. I also put them on pillows, mugs and tote bags. And of course my 2019 Birth Month Flower Calendar. All available for...

Day 6 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is Full or part time

Day 6 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is Full or part time This is a hard question to answer. I am fully self employed and I piece my living together from several things, all related to making. I make drawings, jewelry, mixed media art, products with my drawings, logos and...

Rocky Mountain Columbine

Colorado’s state flower is the Rocky Mountain Columbine and its insect is the Colorado Hairstreak Butterfly. Don’t forget to look at @unclebacons50stateflowers to see his cool block printed version!...

Day 4 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is Tools & Materials

Day 4 of #MarchMeetTheMaker is Tools & Materials I have different areas of my studio set up for different types of work that I make. So here is an example of each of the kind of things that I make. . The first four images are my true love and what I would keep...

Day 3 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Flatlay

Day 3 of #MarchMeetTheMaker: Flatlay Here’s one of some of my very favorite things: my drawings of curvy women with long hair (I love drawing hair!), leaves and insects, my newest favorite tool, the iPad and Apple Pencil, and my MacBook. All on the table I use as a...

MarchMeetTheMaker: How you started

  Today’s #MarchMeetTheMaker prompt is “How you started” I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, but the story we tell in my family about how I really got started in art is about me and my sister. We both took ceramics and gymnastics classes when we were...

#MarchMeetTheMaker Challenge

Because my weekly self-directed challenge isn’t enough of a commitment, I’m also doing @joannehawker’s #marchmeetthemaker challenge. So expect a daily post that will let you learn more about me and my art. First prompt: favorite to make. I make a lot of different...

four-spot skimmer dragonfly

I’m catching up on the state insects that I’m behind on. This is Alaska’s forget-me-not with the four-spot skimmer dragonfly. #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

California state flower and insect

California state flower and insect – California poppies and the California dogface butterfly! Don’t forget to click over to see @unclebacon65’s sweet little poppy block print!...

Arkansas’ state flower!

Arkansas’ state flower, the apple blossom, sprouted up underneath my honeybee! Click on over to @unclebacon65 to see his pretty apple blossom, too. Prints and products with these state flowers coming soon!...

Oops, did you forget?

Oops, did you forget to get your Valentine a gift for today? Get one of these heart + leaves t-shirts or mugs and show them your love all year long!

Arizona’s state flower: saguaro cactus blossom

Arizona’s state flower is the saguaro cactus blossom. This one took a looooong time to complete because of the amount of detail in the center of the flower, the two weeks that I was sick, a visit from @unclebacon65 and two trips out of town! Let’s see if I can back to...

Happy February everyone!

Happy February everyone! It’s cold and rainy here in Kentucky, so here are some violets to help you pretend it’s spring. Want these pretty flowers in your inbox and on your devices every month? Find the link in my bio and sign...

Alaska’s flower, the forget-me-not

Back to alphabetical order (for now, at least) with Alaska’s flower, the forget-me-not. My dragonfly (the four spotted chaser) isn’t quite done yet, so you’ll just have to wait patiently. I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting… I had an especially...

State Flowers: Missouri

This week’s state flower is the Hawthorn, Missouri’s state flower. I had planned to do them in alphabetical order, but I had a specific reason to do Missouri next. I’ll share that soon. This drawing ended up being a lot more detailed than I had planned, and I ran out...

2018 Year in Review Part 2: Art

Last week I wrote about my travel experiences in 2018. Check it out. I love to do daily challenges. If I haven’t committed to something very specific, it’s too easy to realize that 5 days have gone by without doing any drawing. In 2017 I did a huge one  my...

Paducah Life Magazine

Starting in April I participated in the worldwide #the100dayproject and learned to do repeat pattern designs and basically made one a day for 100 days. Posting them on Instagram every day as I was designing them got me some good attention and resulted in this...

How about a #fridayintroductions post for the new year?

How about a #fridayintroductions post for the new year and my new followers? I’m Nikki, an artist and designer living in the small artsy river city of Paducah, Kentucky. I moved here 15 years ago from Atlanta – can you say culture shock? – and I love it! I...

Second state flower in progress.

Second state flower in progress. Not going in any particular order, despite starting alphabetically last week. Any guesses on what flower this is?

State Flowers + Insects

In October I participated in the #inktober challenge of doing an ink drawing every day of the month. I drew the 12 birth month flowers and made a gorgeous (if I do say so myself) calendar with the drawings. I love to do daily challenges. If I haven’t committed to...

2018 Year in Review Part 1: Travel

I think I did more traveling and more drawing/designing in 2018 than ever before. I also had a few bizarre health issues. I had planned for this post to include sections for all of those, but since it’s gotten so long, I’ve decided to break it into several...

Happy New Year from the Snowdrop

Like a lot of people, I’m working on an epic year end review that I will post in the next day or two. In the meantime, happy New Year from the Snowdrop, the birth month flower for January. If you haven’t gotten your calendar for 2019 yet, there’s still time to grab...

A Brief List

1. Brought my important things on vacation with me: Caroline Zook’s Your Brightest Life Journal, The Sketchbook Project and my birth month flower journal2. I may have overdone the poppies.3....

How perfect for me is this?

How perfect for me is this gift from my BFF Aynex? I participated in this project back in 2012 and have been meaning to do it again. Thanks so much, Aynex! ️️

Need a last minute gift?

Hey Paducah! Need a last minute gift? A bunch of my branch and bone jewelry is available at both Raven & Moth and Bricolage Art Collective. All are one of a kind pieces and most are under $50!

Jumping on the #topnine2018 bandwagon.

Jumping on the #topnine2018 bandwagon. Interesting combination of patterns, flowers, fruits and veggies and nudes here. What do you want to see more of from me in the upcoming year? Open to suggestion…...

Free Shipping Day

It’s just come to my attention that tomorrow is #FreeShippingDay, so use the super unique code FREESHIPPING when you buy anything on my website all day tomorrow, Friday, December 14th. I have about a gazillion products under $50 that make great Christmas gifts! Check...

It’s my birthday

It’s my birthday and I have a gift for everyone! 10% off any purchase on my website (nikkimay.com) one day only, December 10th! Use coupon code NIKKI51 at checkout. Discount and pretty things for you, sale for me. Everybody wins! Feel free to tell me there is no way I...

Small Business Saturday 2018

I will be at the @smedleyyeiser tomorrow for #smallbusinesssaturday with all of these beautiful flowers! I will have calendars, prints in two sizes (4×4 and 8×8, pillows with these beauties on them. I’ll also have a big selection of prints and original drawings of my nudes and a handful of other goodies! Come see me and a bunch of other talented local artists and #shopsmall!

Tote bags and canvas pouches

Tote bags and canvas pouches with my birth month flowers! Just got some samples in and they are gorgeous! #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

This is how you know your favorite online community really gets you!

This is how you know your favorite online community really gets you! Thank you Caroline Kelso and Jason Zook for the most thoughtful personalized gifts ever. I’m thrilled to be a #WAIMer! Anyone who is starting/growing/running an online business and is looking for...

Aprons!

Newest products available with my birth month flowers… aprons! Available to be shipped all over the world! Details in link in bio.

Let’s do something fun for giving Tuesday

Let’s do something fun for giving Tuesday. Anyone who shares this post today will go into a drawing to win one calendar for themselves and one to be delivered to brighten up the walls of their favorite non-profit’s...

Small Business Saturday 2018

I will be at the @smedleyyeiser tomorrow for #smallbusinesssaturday with all of these beautiful flowers! I will have calendars, prints in two sizes (4×4 and 8×8, pillows with these beauties on them. I’ll also have a big selection of prints and original drawings of my nudes and a handful of other goodies! Come see me and a bunch of other talented local artists and #shopsmall!

Calendars to be given as client gifts!

My brilliant friend/business partner/agent @marycthorsby came up with this brilliant idea and brokered the deal with @susanbowmannixrealty for these calendars to be given as client gifts!
Your customers will think of you every day of the year if you gift them these beautiful calendars with your logo on the cover!

Shoot either one of us a DM to get the process going!

Spoonflower Daily Favorite

I just got a notification that one of my fabric designs was featured on @spoonflower as a daily favorite. How cool is that? #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

Need a gift to give your clients or employees?

New idea, courtesy of one of my clients… need a gift to give your clients or employees? I can customize the calendar cover to have your logo/name/website on it. Interested? Send me a DM and we can chat about it!

I’ve been so focused on my flower calendar

I’ve been so focused on my flower calendar that I haven’t been making things on the @Glowforge for the past month or so! Time to get back to it. Still learning about line thicknesses and what level of detail works best. I’ll have a few samples of things in the works tomorrow at the Smedley Artisan Market. Come see and let me know what else I should make!!

Framing pretty flower prints

Framing pretty flower prints to bring to the Smedley Artisan Market Sunday! Come see me and bring home some flowers that will last forever! #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

While waiting impatiently for my calendar proofs…

While waiting impatiently for my calendar proofs, I’m making prints on my big beautiful archival printer to frame and have available this coming Sunday at the @smedleyyeiser Artisan Market! I’ll see you there, right? #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

2019 Birth Month Flower Calendar design is finished!

2019 Birth Month Flower Calendar design is finished! I’ve ordered a proof to check printing quality, color accuracy and layout. Now I have to try to wait about a week to receive it before I can make it available to sell. Take a peek in my stories (and highlights) to see the whole calendar layout. #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

Final drawing for my birth month flower calendar!

Final drawing for my birth month flower calendar! September gave me the choice between asters and morning glories. I only asked one person this time around. Morning glory it is! Calendar design coming soon! #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

Poppies won by a landslide

Poppies won by a landslide over gladiolus for the August flower! These guys were super fun to draw.

Missed a day of posting

Missed a day of posting for #inktober2018 because this one took a long time! So here is day 11 and 12. May’s birth month flower is the lily of the valley. Pretty and poisonous. Like me. 😸

Brene Brown quote

I’m listening to Marie Forleo’s podcast with Brene Brown about Brene’s new book and I had to write down this (paraphrased) quote from some role playing that they did to remind myself of this advice.

April’s birth month flower is the daisy

April’s birth month flower is the daisy. I don’t know why months need flowers or stones. I also don’t know why the flowers need to symbolize anything. But the daisy apparently symbolizes beauty, innocence, love and purity.

Birth month flower for March: daffodils

Birth month flower for March: daffodils! I can totally relate to the excitement of seeing these pretty little things popping up to tease us with the arrival of spring.

Mums – birth flower for November

Mums – birth flower for November. I’m going to turn these flowers into patterns, one for each month of the year – and make a calendar. What do you all think?

Hands are hard, y’all

Three days in the hospital with all the free time in the world and I mostly did nothing but sit around and wait. I did manage to start this drawing on my iPad in #procreate. Hands are hard, y’all. #ijustwanttodrawprettypictures

stuck in the hospital

Well, if you are going to be stuck in the hospital for two days getting your heart and lungs checked out, at least you can draw nude women on your iPad and eat cookies your sweet neighbors baked and delivered and the nurse will bring you milk! And you can write third person run-on sentences.

Fun with about 87 apps

Fun with about 87 apps in @melissathall’s workshop at @amandajolley’s studio.

Poison Ivy

In true suffer for your art fashion, this #sadgirl came away from today’s photo shoot with poison ivy.

Amazing fun day of shooting

Amazing fun day of shooting photos with Melissa Hall, Amanda Jolley and gorgeous model Aisa in preparation for Melissa’s workshop this weekend!

origami boat earrings

How awesome does Amanda Jolley look with the origami boat earrings I made for her on my Glowforge! With her makeup inspired by the earrings and her four year old friend.