Honest to gumption.

It’s a small world… with some big opportunities! My full entry to the 2014 Lilla Rogers’ Global Talent Search. Although I didn’t make it into the top 50, I’m glad I pursued it and really like what I experimented with for this challenge. So, as my great redhead friend Susan says with gusto: “ONWARD!”… and as Lilla says in her video, consider entering next year, the growth will be evident.



This month, along with a couple juicy lettering and illustration projects in process, I’ve created a piece to submit to the Lilla Rogers Global Talent Search. Lilla is a renowned illustrator, teacher, mentor, author, and artist’s agent studio owner. This contest will earn someone 2 years of representation (!) and a host of licensing and other “prizes.” A connection with Lilla’s well-connected, hip studio with it’s stable of unique and talented artists is a common aspiration for so many of us looking to license work. One of her oft-quoted phrases which sums up her philosophy of creating art for the licensing world is: “PEOPLE BUY YOUR JOY.” I understand this to mean; make from the original expression that we all are and the delight in your work will be evident and enticing.

Last year was Lilla’s first time running the course, Make Art that Sells and the subsequent GTS contest. By all accounts, both were a huge success and growth experience for so many of my artist and illustrator friends. But this time last year my heart and mind were with my mom. I had traveled to New Mexico to cheer her spirits and lift her up from the daily ordeals of chemo treatments so needless to say, my hopes and wishes were of a different nature.

This year my mom is in remission! For quite a few months now! And she’s well and I had the time and desire to enter the Global Talent Search! OH JOY! I’ve been back to prepping my art and website to approach agents in earnest. I don’t know if I’m 100% ready, but more and more I can see where forward movement without perfectionism is what I need to accomplish. Ready or not, maybe I’m ready.


I really enjoyed the extensive 13-page brief and Lilla is indeed inspiring in her words and art direction of what to consider. The theme for Round 1 of the GTS contest is “Little Terrariums” and the market is wall art—for adult or children. The requirements also specify a hand-lettered word or phrase.

My first wording idea was “Room to Grow” but that’s pretty much the opposite of what’s going on in a terrarium so I nixed that. A few of my initial sketches and inking are here. I knew I wanted to include a little gnome or gnome home and a fairy girl with some cactus illustrations I had been developing for my next fabric line with Clothworks felt the most right— after all, I’m a high desert girl at heart. I took my time developing the concept and changed final details over a few days time as I encouraged myself to imagine it as a piece of art for mass sale. I’m pleased with the final result and it feels monumental to have accomplished this delayed goal.


The gallery of 999 entries and my final submission goes live on Tuesday, Aug. 26th. 50 artists will be chosen to move to the next round, then culled to the final competitors for assignment 3.

I had so much fun with this project and I know I’ll be in awe of the other entries with their fascinating, varied solutions to the same theme. Below is a sneak peek of my final submission. Good luck to everyone who entered! MAY THE JOY BE WITH YOU!


Back to school time. Are you book smart or barn smart… or both? Click image to download the calendar for your desktop.


I dunno what will happen for 2015, but for now I’m still on the donkey trail, so to speak. My love for donkey images and art have brought some lovely gifts into my life that I wanted to share.

1 ||  The first you see here being a painting by my incredibly talented friend, Ginny Hautau of Urban Cowgirl Design. Ginny absolutely floored me when this sweet little painting was dropped off after one of our epic coffee chats. The product maker in me is dying for her to get these licensed for wall art or to sell on Sundance! She also has a way with home design— look her up. I was very touched to receive this treasure and feel blessed by her friendship all the time.


2 ||  You may know my mom is an oil pastel artist and when I visit New Mexico we usually get together with one of  her pastel friends named Sally Prince. When Sally heard about my love of donkeys, she gave me this adorable miniature in sunflowers that I framed for my desk. She also sent me this card with an image from a painting she did a while back. Aren’t these so full of personality?

NickyOvitt_Donkeyblog_SallyPrince3 ||  These next two images are from Katherine Dunn of Apifera Farm in Oregon. She is an accomplished illustrator who runs a farm of rescued “misfit” animals and earlier this year I supported her 2nd Kickstarter campaign to publish another book seen here on the right. It’s a gorgeous publication and I have yet to read it but I’m so happy to have these unique donkeys in my life. The original drawing (with hair bow) has yet to be framed, it was a mother’s day present from my husband who appreciates a good gift hint. Originals like this can be found at Katherine’s Etsy shop.


4 ||  Choreography! This poster was a present from one of my oldest friends who attends Sundance Film Festival every year. Robin said this award-winning short film was fantastic and she went through some pretty great effort to get me this poster. Not only is she always thinking of what someone else might like for a “prezzie,” she WRAPS said gifts in the most beautiful ways— almost too cool to open. Robin is a prolific collector and master of assemblage. She will be announcing some beautiful assembled art boxes for sale soon so I’ll update you on that when it happens. Her graphic design work and blog can be found at 314Gallery.

5 & 6 ||  These two books were gifts to myself. Our local library has a children’s book sale every few months. If you’ve never read the story of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, you should request it from your local library— it’s quite philosophical and deep: “Oh how I wish I were my real self again.”


About 20 days late but Independence is always something to celebrate! Click on the image for this month’s downloadable desktop calendar.


NickyOvitt_Homestead_Collection1 It doesn’t get more real for me than to have actual strike-offs in my hot little hands. Last week I got to spend a little time with these babies! I’m so thrilled with the color correctness as some of the blues and greens were undoubtedly challenging to mix according to my *paper* color palette. Candice at Clothworks agreed that the factory pretty much nailed it— an uncommon treat to receive in a first pass!


On Friday I gained a new (updated) respect for photographers and other fabric designers I know who shoot their own product images. SO. NOT. EASY. I was using a borrowed tripod to attempt complimentary or matching perspectives, but the ga-zillion-and-three angle settings and DIY rubberband set-up I had going made me end up free-styling it for now. The strike-off swatches are small but it was so fun to mix/match/arrange like my favorite quilters do.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sending out Homestead news to quilt and design blogs. And until I learn to sew properly, I also have plans to post some project mockups for fun. Follow me on Instagram to find out when new posts are up.

NickyOvitt_Homestead_Collection33If you haven’t read the story of the Homestead, you can find it here. Thanks to Madeleine & Ellen from The Printed Bolt— you’ve been so encouraging. Thank you to Candice and Joyce at Clothworks— I’m extremely pleased with this partnership and guidance!

Homestead fabric will be available for purchase from Clothworks this Fall.

Lastly, this collection is inspired by, and dedicated to, ALL hard working women… especially the one who faithfully supports my career and life decisions… my mom.



Today I am writing a post that I imagined almost a year ago. My fabric dreams have come true and I’m happy to announce that I’m a licensed designer with Clothworks Fabric in Seattle. My first collection is called Homestead. This was a design that I originally conceived for The Printed Bolt’s contest, Repeat(ed.) The challenge was “Tools of the Trade” and my inspiration and design story behind the collection can be found here.

As my first licensing deal, I’ve learned that this process can take quite a bit of time. From compiling the ideas, to creating new non-directional coordinates and reworking colors, to debuting the line at market, and then on to promotion… and we’re not even talking about sales yet! It’s been a great learning experience and I’m hopeful that my local quilt shop, The Quilted Angel will carry a bit of Homestead as that would bring the entire process full circle!

Clothworks has been wonderful to work with and I’m very pleased with how the collection came together. I was also happily surprised to find some sweet projects mocked up appropriate to the Homestead theme. I look forward to sharing some projects of my own real soon, and if you make something with Homestead I would love to see a photo. Until then, oh happy day!

Daddies can teach so many great things! Click to enjoy this month’s downloadable desktop calendar.



I will admit that much of the week I prefer to exist in a current events blackout. World news and the way it’s reported can be very depressing and cause me to feel so hopeless.

However, as a daily NPR listener, I have been following the plight of the kidnapped schoolgirls and their distraught families in Nigeria. As a mother to a young girl it’s just horrific to imagine.

Illustrators Rebecca Bradley and Janna Morton started an excellent Tumblr project to help bring attention to the story. Women illustrators were invited to create a flower for a missing girl and post it to Blooms of Nigeria. In their words: “But though the stark numbers are powerful, it’s important to remember that each of these girls is an individual, with a family, friends, dreams — and a name. ” I spent much of today lovingly drawing this flower for you, Ladi. Wherever you and your classmates are, my hope is with you today. Bless you, and come home safely to continue your dreams.

If you want to help, you will find excellent suggestions here on Girl Rising. (Girl Rising is also a movie I highly recommend.) #bringbackourgirls

Ah… May! The month of last minute school projects, prepping for summer break and TRADESHOWS! The booth designs, promo card parades and jittery blogs are up and I’m following like a true sports fan!

Since refocusing on my illustration work almost 3 years ago, each year I’ve dreamed of attending Surtex and the National Stationery show in NYC. Add to that, Spring QUILT MARKET is happening in Pittsburg this very same weekend… and I have a fabric line to see! News and peeks of the collection will come later this summer.

With all the online hubbub pulling on my heart strings I asked myself: “Instead of feeling like you’ll never get there, what would you make if you were attending Surtex this year?” And this #SurtexDreaming promo was born… it’s all about intention, baby! And, donkeys!

I’ve added new projects and mock ups to my website. Most work in progress and other fun finds I post on Instagram. If you see something of interest, let’s connect!



For those of you exhibiting/attending Surtex for the first time, or as a seasoned pro, I wish you  great success and fun! Here are a few folks (and some friends!) you may also want to follow throughout the events:

SURTEX: Elizabeth Olwen  |  Kathy Weller  |  Josephine Kimberling  |  Stephanie Ryan  |  Lauren Minco  |  Brittany Holland  |  Dinara Mirtalipova  |  Denise Holmes  |  Brandi Powell  |  Sarah Hudock  |  Alex Columbo  |  Amy Schimler-Safford  |  Bari J.  |  Ana Davis  |  Happy Happy Art Collective  |  Forest Foundry  |  Dotty Wren  |  Lilla Rogers Studio  |  Pink Light Studio  |  Meehan Design Group  |  Monica Lee, SCW   NATIONAL STATIONERY SHOW: Emily McDowell  |  Claudia Pearson     QUILT MARKET: Penguin & Fish  |  Pat Sloan  |  Jennifer Paganelli    |  Bonnie Christine  |  Cotton + Steel