Wednesday, October 3, 2012

my life for the past few months

hello! yes, i'm still alive and kicking. my life has been rather hectic for the past few months... work has been really busy, i've been gestating, i've spent practically every weekend cleaning for an open house, and dave and i have been working hard to get our new apartment ready by move-in -- which has to be soon since i am due 1 month from today. =) not to mention mommying anna jae and dealing with life's general issues. no big deal.

i'm about to post something about my reno, which is **this close** to being finished. the apartment is getting painted this week, kitchen going in, and then floors go in next week. and then we clean up and move in! it's pretty exciting, though highly stressful. i have learned that with reno, the name of the game is "flexibility". good thing parenting has prepped us for that.

in other news, our wonderful current apartment is still for sale. it's just the market... but please, if you know anyone who is looking in brooklyn, send them our way! it's a great space in a friendly, warm building with an amazing live-in super. we're excited for the new space, but sad to leave this one.

these reno posts will likely be the last for a little while, as i move this blog to my main site. and, you know, i'll have a newborn to contend with. ;-) but the reno has been fun, i think you'll like the choices so far. =)

Monday, June 4, 2012

NSS done, changes for Nic Studio to come!

so, the national stationery show is over. whew! i do have some pics to post, in addition to what i posted via instagram during the show. but i have yet to put them together. yes, it's been more than a week since NSS ended, but two days after it was over dave and i packed up anna jae and drove upstate to spend a week with his family. it was a nice, forced break from *most* work (yes, i took work with me), but i am now frantically trying to get all my orders together and out to my lovely buyers. not to mention custom work and show follow-up! oh man!

i'm not really complaining though. the show went really well, i have a lot of new stores to add to my list, not to mention cards to add to my etsy store and wedding items to add to the ready-to-order section. none of this will be done soon, however, because i have to revamp my site!!! it's in the works, has been for a while, but was put on hold for the frantic NSS prep. i promise that a new site and new blog will be done rather soon.

in the meantime, follow me on twitter for all updates. we'll chat again soon!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Stationery Show sneak peek!

i'm in the home stretch! the stationery show is a mere week-and-a-half from today, and i'm making my way through my to-do list. ok, so there's so much more yet to do, but i'm getting there!

i wanted to give you a sneak peek of some work i'm really excited about -- my new full-color-painted wedding sets and notecards. if you haven't explored my website in full, you may not know that i am, first and foremost, a painter and illustrator. i have been painting in oils since the age of 10, and got my degree in illustration from syracuse university in 2000. although the bulk of my work is illustrated these days, it is rarely painted. both my new note cards as well as some of my new wedding sets explore my true passion as an artist, without giving up the humor and fun that i put forth on my previous stationery work.

i will be premiering 3 out of 5 of these painted wedding sets at the show, with all pieces set to launch in july. these are so much fun -- they are rich, colorful, lighthearted, and full of personality. they are like nothing you've ever seen offered before in the wedding invitation market. i'm so proud of the work i did on these. but i don't want to give everything away, so i've just add some detail shots below...

above: details from the NOLA wedding set. inspired by my travels there in 2011. bright colors, authentic details, plenty of NOLA flavor. all images drawn and digitally painted by nicole block, © 2012

above: details from the moroccan wedding invitation set. inspired by my honeymoon to morocco in 2006 -- one of my favorite trips of all time. rich colors, vibrant contrasts, intrinsic details. all images drawn and digitally painted by nicole block, © 2012

above: details from the coney wedding poster invitation. inspired by old coney island, carnival and freak show posters. all images drawn and digitally painted by nicole block, © 2012.

i hope i get to see you at the show so that you can look at these beauties in person, and hear more about what is to come. visit me at booth 1969! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

i owe you all an explanation (and an announcement.)

so... i've been the absentee designer. i haven't been posting on my blog. i've been intermittent at best with my twitter. if you follow me on twitter or are a friend of mine on facebook, you know i've been suffering with terrible migraines as of late (i am a chronic migraine sufferer anyway, but they've gotten to be unbearable on a daily basis for the past month). and yes, yes, i'm prepping for the stationery show, which also has me going crazy.

but it's not the whole story.

there is a REASON behind all the migraines, the tireds, the everything.

yep! oh, the miracle of life, making women miserable for at least 3 months, all throughout history. =D i am due with our second child at the beginning of november. we're all pretty excited (terrified) about it. anna jae is very into being a big sis now, and can't wait to go with me for my first sonogram next week to see the baby. she'll be almost 4 when he/she is born, so it's going to be a big change. but she's all about that responsibility right now. it's super sweet.

what you see above was the postcard-style announcement we sent out to family members. we did this with my first pregnancy too -- it's a nice way to tell people in a more personal manner that a new little person is coming, even if you can't see them all to break the news. the illustration is actually from my new card line (i didn't have time to make a new one for this occasion, and dave just loved the idea of him getting a big belly, which will never happen).

so, there's our little nugget of info. for all of my friends who have been worried about my migraines, there's nothing to be concerned about. it happened with the first pregnancy too. mother nature is just a bitch. ;-)

Monday, April 2, 2012

wow... it's been so long

happy april all! yes, yes, april. and i haven't posted since january. gah. well, at least you know i've been busy!

a lot has happened over the past few months. a lot of work, firstly... which is never a bad thing. i've been terribly busy. custom, line work (NSS 2012 show prep time!), etc... you're going to see a lot of interesting new stuff from the nic studio this year, and i'm so excited about it. there will be a few sneak peeks at the end of this post.

then, of course, there was life. my little girl was lovingly renamed "the germinator" this year -- as it was her first year at school, she had at least one new cold a week. no exaggeration. and as a result, i was constantly sick. colds, strep (lasted for 2 weeks), and finally a really bad flu that had me in bed for days. ugh. pretty.

and of course, i had the anniversary of my dad's passing on march 25th. the lead-up, day-of, and aftermath were all pretty rough on me, and i crawled into a virtual hole for a couple of weeks. i'm back and i'm fine, but it hit me harder than expected.

but life moves on, and some things are so good that they can't be denied. this upcoming saturday (the day before easter), i get to celebrate 6 years of wedded bliss. dave and i can't celebrate during the holiday weekend, but we will get our celebration the following weekend, which just happens to be our 12 year dating anniversary. gosh, 12 years... we almost say 13, because we were "friends" for a year before we were officially together. he's my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the best daddy ever. yes, i can still get mushy after all this time.

our little miss is bigger and bigger every day. she talks a mile a minute, and i often compare her chatty personality to this volvo commercial from a few years back. she has her moments, of course, but at 3, what else could we expect? she's awesome and funny and sweet, and she makes our world better.

and then there's work! work has been great. i've really expanded my scope and started to incorporate more of what i really love -- painting. i've been painting since i was 10, and once it's in your blood, it never leaves. it's my ultimate joy and therapy, so i'm so happy to be doing more work with it. i've also begun a new luxe line of wedding invitations, and overall things are moving in the right direction.

sneak peeks are below. thanks for reading! i'll keep you all up to date more as the stationery show draws nearer.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

the wedding tree, printed for an aussie in green

i wanted to share the results of this job i did for a lovely fan in australia, which was ordered and shipped at christmas! yes, it was quite a rush, but i think the final piece turned out so well! since the set was unconsciously influenced by a certain book, i love the use of the green and white -- it evokes the book cover! a special thank you to my letterpress, peter kruty editions, for doing stellar work (as always).
my favorite part of the wedding tree set is the RSVP card. something i had a lot of fun with, for sure.
for this or any other ready-to-order wedding invitation suites, please check out the nic studio wedding collection.

Friday, January 13, 2012

happy 3rd birthday to my little miss!

yes! it's officially anna jae's 3rd birthday! nope, i'm not mourning the fact that she's getting so big so fast... i've always been a person to enjoy whatever new stage i'm at, and it's no different with my daughter. i don't miss my daughter as a baby! no no, i like anna jae now as she is at the moment. she is smart, and funny, and silly, and beautiful. she stands up for herself when needed, and won't back down, but she'll likely just take you out with too big of a hug. she understands people, and she has a grasp on life. she is amazing beyond belief... and i am so proud to be her mom.

i won't beleaguer this post with too much boasting... i'll just leave you with her annual birthday gift from me: a new painting each year that represents who she is at the moment (you can see her first and second birthday paintings on my blog). this will tell you a lot about her personality...
 dave and i discussed the painting for this year and wanted to get more detailed without getting cluttered. all we knew that we needed in there were her school uniform (she just loves school), and her ivy doggie. then dave suggested putting her in a car and having the "big dinosaur" in the background -- that's how she refers to the blue ape on the car lot off the BQE that she just loves so much. he's like her friend! she makes up stories about him and everything. perfect. good idea dave!

well, it can't just be the big dinosaur and anna in a car! i decided to flush it out with some of her most favorite things/places: the geico billboard, target, and yes, ikea. what can i tell you -- my daughter knows her branding! and latches onto it! yep, this is anna in a nutshell. oh, she'll tell you if she's wearing something from target, or playing with something from ikea. oh yes, she will. =)

happy birthday to my goofball. mommy loves you.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

one more goodbye...

2011 ends with yet another parting in our family. aunt pearl, my husband's great aunt and one of the most amazing ladies i've ever had the honor and pleasure of knowing, passed away this morning at 96.5 years old. pearl was so strong that she managed to fight off pancreatic cancer for months -- an amazing feat at any age, especially at 96. until the end she was insightful, loving, cunning... a woman with many stories that could still give me directions in a car and never managed to think of herself alone. our daughter lost another close person in her life, my husband lost what was essentially his grandmother, and i lost a lady that i had become incredibly close to in my 13 years of knowing her. i'm so grateful that we had all that time at all.

i leave you with the portrait i did of her as her 95th birthday present. this is just how we'll remember her.

seriously, is it 2012 yet?

Friday, December 30, 2011

wow, it's almost 2012! farewell 2011...

and i haven't updated this blog in a month. can you tell i've been busy?

i'd like to take this opportunity to say goodbye to 2011. it was a rough, roller-coaster of a year. we had our ups (my business, dave's new job, finding a new apartment), and we had our downs -- all involving, very sadly, the health of loved ones. the biggest downer, of course, being the passing of my dad. and this set the tone for the entire year.

while i fully believe in being optimistic at all times, there are just some things that you can't fully push past. nor should you. some things are life-altering, never corrected moments that take a while to get around. notice i didn't say "get over", because i don't think you ever really get over the loss of someone important to you. but you do get around it, you live a life after it, you do continue to grow and change and love and laugh. or, at least you should. my dad would have wanted it that way.

and we are pushing. i spent the month and a half after my dad's death prepping completely for my first National Stationery Show, which completely changed my business (for the better). my cards are now in 23 stores across the country and i am beyond happy with the connections and friends that i've made this year. my daughter is going to be 3 in january (i KNOW!!), and is flourishing at school. we are moving in 2012 to a new, bigger apartment in our current neighborhood, which makes us happy on so many levels. and i know that life has more good in store, and hopefully less bad.

we tried our absolute best to have a good christmas, not only for our daughter's sake, but also for our mental and emotional well-being. heck, we all need a little happiness at the holidays, right?
as a closing to 2011, and a very fond farewell, i leave you with the portrait i did of my father for my family, as a christmas gift. yes, we'll move forward, but we'll never forget him. here's hoping he's watching out for us in 2012.

** portrait done using 2 photos taken at my wedding rehearsal dinner in 2006 by mo daoud.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

happy december!

hi all!! life is crazier here than usual, so i just wanted to check in while i had a moment. happy december! are you all getting ready for the holidays? i know i am! check out the holiday cards that the nic studio is sending out as we speak!

pay attention to the design... this illustrated print style is something that's coming in the spring to my card collection! it's inspired by the illustrated patterning i did for the bride-to-be book. let me know what you think. =)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

that's right, i designed and illustrated a BOOK! and it's a bridal book!

check it out!  amy krause rosenthal's newest book, published by random house's potter style division, is the first full book that i've illustrated and designed. and, lo and behold, it's a bridal book! 

it's the bride-to-be book, a scrapbook of sorts for planning and remembering your wedding. i designed the interior pages and did the little illustrations, as well as the illustrated prints on the pockets (which hold things like cards, photos, fabric samples, clippings).  i'm excited to say that the book will be available for purchase soon (actual dates vary -- but the site says December of 2011)! 

a huge thank you to danielle deschenes, my good friend since our time at syracuse university, for inviting me to do this. it was so great to see both our names together on the inside cover! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

illustration in question: chevy chase in funny farm

does anyone know who did the original illustration for the funny farm poster? i dig it! but i can't find the artist's info.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

my letter to apple: the loss of steve jobs

this is the email i just sent to apple:

i just wanted to extend my sincerest condolences to the apple team, the pixar team, and whomever steve knew and touched in his very short lifetime.

we've all been sharing our first mac stories on twitter this evening. mine was a G4 tower, a graduation gift from my mom & dad in 2000. everything i own for my work is mac based. i am in constant awe of the innovation, the design, the attention to detail, the LOVE that goes into apple products. only steve jobs could have done that.

i'm incredibly distraught tonight over this loss. cancer has taken my dad from me this year (lung cancer), and is about to take an aunt (also pancreatic). while i hate this disease more than anything right now, i am reminded of something i heard on the radio some weeks back. a story from a nurse, who said that though cancer is horrifying, it's also kind. in most cases, it gives the patient the ability to choose how he/she dies, gives them a chance to get their affairs in order, gives them a chance to say goodbye. my father wasn't afforded this luxury, but we know that steve jobs was. he fought for a long time, as long as he could. then he got his affairs in order, and said goodbye. for this small wonder, i am grateful.

i know that apple will continue to make great products in steve's legacy. i will continue to honor him as well.

thank you for everything steve.

you can also share your thoughts on steve jobs at

Monday, September 19, 2011

5+ years -- an anniversary for Nic. AKA "how did i get here?"

i just realized, admittedly a few weeks late, that i've hit my 5 year anniversary of being a stationery designer, of being on my own. happy anniversary to me!

my story is pretty familiar to many. it's the same story a lot of solopreneurs tell. i used to be a publication designer -- senior designer at the student-centered magazine CollegeBound Teen. the company was small and family-run, we all loved working with each other, it was a good place to get my start. i got to explore my talents, art direct projects, work photo shoots, and really put my own stamp on something under a great art director and with some really great coworkers in the art and editorial departments. i redesigned the magazine and put all my energies into the pub, and was not interested in doing anything else (like web design). well, like so many other publications but unbeknownst to us, it just wasn't doing very well. and in august of 2006, our CEO laid off 1/3 of the company (people that were primarily associated with the mag) and closed the magazine. i was all of a sudden out of a job.

one of my last cover designs at CB Teen, for Spring 2006.

one of the story spread layouts done for CB Teen.

i was sad, i was in shock, but i sort of knew it had to happen. i quite literally bought the domain for the next day and started to put together my freelance stationery design. i had had some clients on the side since i had done the design for my own wedding in april of 2006, and i just went full-steam ahead with that. said goodbye to my former coworkers (some of whom stayed for the new incarnation of the company), took some awesome office supplies with me, and set up shop at home with my very supportive husband. and so began this adventure.

one of my earlier wedding designs for jaime and anthony.

from one of my current 11 sets in my wedding invitation line, graffiti union.

things have grown and changed quite a bit over time -- the biggest change having come after the economic crisis of 2009, when i had to refocus the business or fold altogether. and now i'm really doing what i always wanted to do -- using my illustration skills and essentially drawing for a living! i get to be home with my daughter all day (as much as she may drive me crazy sometimes and as hard as it may be to work normal hours), i get to choose my work and my clients, i get to develop my own line with my own point of view and determine my own future. all of this adds up to quite a wonderful change in these 5 years, as hard as it may have been at times.

just wanted to say thank you to all my former coworkers who are still some of my closest friends, everyone that believes in my new work, the press that has given me a presence over the years, and the biggest thank you to my husband for supporting me both emotionally and financially. not many men would take such a big economic hit willingly and so happily over such a long period of time. it feels great to know that he believes in me that much.

raise a cup of coffee and toast to your own successes, as i toast to mine. now, off to do more work!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

inspired by: norman rockwell (and my kid)

anna jae started school last week. big, HUGE deal. moments like this always lead me to think of norman rockwell paintings. one day i expect anna jae's day to look like this (wouldn't that be lovely?).

Saturday, September 10, 2011

the anniversary we've all been dreading

we are on the cusp of the anniversary we've all been dreading. the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

as a new yorker, i'm too sad and in too much grief to write much. all the talk around here this week, in the media and in the air, has caused a sort of general melancholy. i don't really want to rehash where i was, what i saw, how i felt. i've told the story for the previous 9+ years. i just feel incapable of telling it tonight.

what i will say is that i'm happy to see the lights, the ghosts of the towers that used to be, on the horizon. they went on already, this evening. sad to be reminded of what's coming, but glad to be comforted by them yet again. my husband and i have always loved those lights. we're glad they are still here. sort of like a giant guardian angel for NYC.

milton glaser, 2001.

i'm am, as always, a proud new yorker that loves her city. i love that i live in a highly mixed neighborhood in brooklyn, with a large muslim contingent, that greets me with smiles every day. i love that i was born here, grew up here, and i can only see living here until i'm old and gray. and i love that no one has taken that from me.

i wish you and your loved ones solace and comfort tomorrow. remember in whatever way works best for you, just make sure you remember. and please, all of us, be safe.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

real client wedding: piper & carl are hitched!

just wanted to do a quick shoutout to a great couple, piper & carl, who were just married this past sunday in brooklyn. these two were great clients, lovely friends, and i'm so happy to know that i had a small part in their wedding. thanks you two! congrats!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

website and email down

hey everyone. just wanted to let you know that my website and email are DOWN. down down. nothing to be done. waiting for my host to get their act together. in the meantime, you can catch me on twitter or my facebook page.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

i'm an expert!! i'm an expert!! how weird...

yes folks, after years of doing stationery design for a living, i'm officially an expert. how official, you ask? oh, THIS official: i'm an "expert" for 17 videos about wedding invitations on howcast! it's pretty weird, watching myself talk to viewers about this subject -- but i'm happy with the way it came out! and i hope others are happy with them too.

one of the videos is embedded here, but you can watch the rest on howcast. collect all 17!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

inspired by... toulouse lautrec

this evening i am feeling the emotion behind toulouse lautrec's paintings. love this passionate kiss...

image via daily artist.