About R. Nigh

WEBSITE: www.rachelnigh.com

Styles I am proficient in: I work mainly in picture book illustrations and murals but I love to do it all--landscapes, portraits, and painting any knick-knack I can get my hands on.  I work mainly in acrylic and house paint if I'm painting a large area, but I like pens, pencils, and crayons, too.  The strangest thing I've painted would probably be a saw blade and the largest thing I've painted was ancient Jerusalem the foyer of my church's gym back home--I think it was eighteen feet high and a combined length wall space of about two hundred feet at least.

I also love to write.  I write children's picture book stories and poems.  I am also writing a young adult novel, which my eleven year old son thinks is great (at least the first five chapters).

An Interview About 
My Writing And Illustrating

1. Who are your target readers?  
Families.  I think parents who read to their children open up so many lovely doors for them both.   I am most excited when kids themselves can read my work, as kids minds are so imaginative. 

2. What are the major themes in your work?
I really like pretending/adventure/fantasy.  I'm hooked on classics and I enjoy stories with dragons and princesses and knights in them.   I try to have an element of beauty and magic but really all themes are fun. 

3. Is there any recent work you admire?
Well, I'm constantly putting up book reviews of books I have discovered or books that have been read to me since I was little that I love.  I think I just love lots of kinds of books but a favorite illustrator has to be Trina Schart Hyman.   

4. What do you think people look for in a book?
I think people probably look for what I look for: illustration first.  People only pick up a book if the illustrations appeal to them.  If I don't have time to read through the complete story than wording is the next key.  The words have to be appropriate for the age it's pitched to and they have to have something special.   You can always tell if something is written badly even after the second page.  Thirdly I look for the overall story arch.  I like a story that doesn't fizzle out or have a lame moral at the end that's worded badly.  The story has to be just the right length.  I'll know it's good when everything just fits right.  If you find yourself thinking about these qualifications then the book is not right.

5. If you could work with any author, who would it be?
I'm assuming we're talking childrens books here, because novelists would be a completely different story.  But, for children's picture books I would say probably Mercer Mayer.  I love his style and he can go from Little Critter to East of the Sun West of the Moon without missing a beat. If he was unavailable I would say Arnold Lobel.  I love everything he writes.  

6. Do you write stories about anyone in particular or all they all made up?
Both.  Sometimes I write about things that have happened, real kids--especially as kids do all sorts of things worthy of a story and they love seeing a story about themselves, and lots of the time just things I thought up.

7. Where do you do your work and do you work certain hours or just when inspired?
I am hoping to eventually open a studio with my mother, who is a fabulous portrait artist, but for now I work anywhere there's a place to sit.  I work tirelessly when there's a project that needs to get done and I'm quick at both illustration and writing.

8. Who inspired you to become an artist/author?
Oh, definitely my mother.  She is an artist as well and we enjoy working on things together here and there.  She has always been drawing or painting something and I love it.  We used to sit around the living room and color in coloring books as a family.  I always wanted to color in my Barbie pictures like her.  As far as writing, both my parents read to us as we grew up and we still all love picture books.  The secret is that picture books are for everyone.

9. Do any of your paintings have deeper meanings? Sometimes.  I suppose I never really think about that part.  I feel like art is supposed to be released into the world.  Once it's out there, it isn't really mine anymore.  It gets people's own fingerprints.

10. When you create a painting, have you ever wanted to live in it when it was done?
 I have to want to.  It's very rare I'll paint something I wouldn't like to get into.  If the painting ends up that way, I'm usually glad to sell it.  I don't mind weird or spooky pictures, I just don't want to keep them.

11. What do you enjoy about art?  
 Oh, everything.  The only thing I don't like about it is the paint that gets stuck under my fingernails.  But, if it's real art, you'll get messy.