Artist Showcase: Kellie Nicely ~ Children’s Illustrator and Artist

Artist Kellie Nicely visits Inkspokes today, bringing with her an illustration for Chinese New Year, pieces from her Travel illustration series and other artwork from her children’s illustration portfolio.travelseries 7_kellienicely

Kellie Nicely creates these beautifully brilliant illustration series that she has been showcasing on social media. The series have a common theme, like her travel series or 100 days of landscapes or the series on magical cooking. They tell of beautiful vistas, the wonder of a wide world, magic.


Often bright, cheerful and full of color, Kellie’s illustrations and drawings (from whimsical animal characters to, well, mermaids) are such as one might see in popular children’s illustrations, but they also evince something more that is difficult to pin down but is definitely there. I’d like to think it is a certain wistfulness: a solitary figure (a brown-haired girl who travels on a flying broom) looking out into the distance or perhaps absorbed in a book sitting high on top a decrepit windmill. We look into the distance or into her book and feel that we might for moment grasp that bit of adventure promised just beyond the horizon. It’s that wistfulness, with color tones edging more toward watercolors and pastels, that seems to give Kellie’s art texture and depth.

chinesenewyr_kn1I am not surprised, as she tells us below, that she is a bird watcher. The flight of birds and their journeys’ imaginings might carry that same sense of wonder and longing.

Kellie’s talent as an artist has been recognized by Google as she was chosen as the finalist for Virginia in the Doodle 4 Google contests in both 2013 and 2014. But I think I will just let her tell you her story in the postcard she sent us:

KN: My name is Kellie Nicely. I was adopted from China at age 1 and have lived in Virginia ever since. I have always loved drawing since I was little. In addition to drawing, I love bird watching, gardening, and cooking. My favorite birds are the tufted titmouse, Laysan albatross, and roseate spoonbill. The most fun part in drawing is being able to bring my ideas to life. I was the Virginia Winner of the Doodle 4 Google contest hosted by Google in 2013 and 2014. My family was invited to travel to the Google Headquarters in New York in 2013 and California in 2014. It was a great experience seeing the Google artists and the guest speakers who were there.


I work both traditionally and digitally. I love to use watercolor and ink in my traditional illustrations; I’m currently learning how to work with gouache. I use Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint for my digital work. I day 8knlike working in as few layers as possible. Too many layers slow down my computer, and they’re usually not organized, haha! After sketching, my favorite part is playing and experimenting with color.

All of the illustrations are from my personal work. I love doing a series of themed pieces; I hope to do more this year. In 2016, I did a Magical Library series, Magical Cooking series, and a Travel series. I participate in #colour_collective and #pinchpunchpost prompts on Twitter. Most of my favorite pieces come from these prompts. 2016 was my third year participating in Inktober. Last year I also did the #The100DayProject with landscape studies using Google Street View. I used the hashtag #100daysoflandscapesketches for the project.

I’m currently working on a short coloring book for a local organization. I’m also planning on doing at least a Mermaid series and Dragon series in the future.



More about Kellie Nicely and her work may be found at:





(Illustrations in this post are copyrighted by Kellie Nicely. All rights reserved.)


  2 comments for “Artist Showcase: Kellie Nicely ~ Children’s Illustrator and Artist

  1. February 2, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Beautiful work Kellie!

  2. Debra L Nicely
    February 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    Great showcase of Kellie’s talent.

    Kellie, I am very proud of all you have accomplished. I know with your talent the sky’s the limit.


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