Nancy Lemon studio


Stylish Kitty Cats


Prints available here!

I drew this cavalcade of glorious cats in my sketchbook a month or so ago, and finally decided to make something with it.  The drawing was done in pen (on lunch break) and I always thought it was a fun one, so here we are.  As usual, I added it to some different items…

Stylish Cats coffee mug by Nancy Lemon Studio

Grab a stylish cat mug here, of course!


Or a long sleeve t-shirt…also available in short sleeved…

It is so fun making all of these things.  If you can, please share with family and friends…wouldn’t it be great to get something with original art/design/illustration as a gift this year?


Three Little Pigs, reboot


Sample cover

So, I have been playing around on Skillshare (highly recommend) and have been loving the camaraderie of being “in class” again. This was for a class with the great Lisa Congdon.  The project was to respond to an imaginary art director’s email and then illustrate a creative brief she sent.  In a nutshell, it was to reinterpret a well known fairy tale.  I think the houses need a little something, but I am pretty satisfied with this.



I see you, seeing me, seeing you


I continue down this path of fun, doodly-style illustration.  Also, it seems I have become infatuated with creating art for coffee mugs.  I don’t know what it is…I do love coffee, but I also love the mug as an illustration surface.  Go figure.


P.S. I like to think that David Bowie would drink his tea out of this mug. :D


A stampede of animal heroes, ready to help start the day.


I doodled while watching football with my hubby on Sunday night.  Then I put it on a coffee mug, because I want a coffee mug with this on it. :D

I have such good time making all of these, whether they end up as prints, mugs, or dog t-shirts ;-). Or if they are just doodles in a margin or my sketchbook.  I really love drawing, and I’ve loved finding a community with whom to share all of these crazy little designs.  Thank you again for following along, and stay tuned for more. :D


More bunnies, different style!


…such as cell phone cases.

bunnies, kid's t-shirt ©2015 Nancy Lemon Studio

There are kid’s clothes…

bunnies-maternity ©2015 Nancy Lemon Studio

Yes, maternity tees (although I wish the design could be put on the belly.)

bunnies-bonanza-onesie ©2015 Nancy Lemon Studio

Of course the onesies!

dog-shirt-bunnies ©2015 Nancy Lemon Studio

And even something for the pup in your life. (We wouldn’t want to leave out Fido.)

Now there is really something for everyone in the family. (Yet this is only the tip of the ‘print on demand’ iceberg). I really laughed when I saw the dog t-shirt, and felt it must be shared. Please feel free to share this post!


Bunnies, bunnies, everywhere…

Good Monday, everyone.  These bunnies have been sitting in a sketchbook as a quickly scribbled idea, so I took them out and brought them to fruition.  One of my teachers once told me, “You should always have a default animal, object, etc. to draw when you can’t think of anything to draw.”  Apparently, my default is silly bunnies.  You’re welcome, Mom.

Painted with gouache, ink, and Photoshop


Learning, learning and a pillow fight!

I thought it would be fun to design some cushions for the Pillow Fight.  You can enter as many time as you want until November 6th.

For this one, I played around and used Illustrator, just for a change. I took a fun course on Skillshare, and forced myself to use Illustrator for the final project (since the demo was in Illustrator.) I think I am going to be exploring this avenue…watch this space! haha

Nancy Lemon Studio©2015 Fox and Hound Cushion

Mash the cushion to vote. :)

And here is a fun cat, created with charcoal and finished in Photoshop.

Nancy Lemon © 2015 Cush Cat Cushion

Smoosh your mouse into this cushion to vote. :D

If you have time, I would love your support!  Just click on the pillow image and you will be taken to a page where you can “like” and “tweet” or even purchase a cushion.  Any of those things help me to win a spot as an Ohh Deer artist.  Thanks!


Revisiting the Vacationing Bear

Upon reflection and useful critiquing, I’ve revisited some projects in my online portfolio.  One was a piece I did as an Illustration Friday submission, for the prompt word “Vacation.”  Bear was just too relaxed for a realistic vacation, I’m afraid.

I consistently have fun creating these stories, and experimenting with both traditional and digital media.  May my learning never stop and my curiosity never satiated.  I hope the same for you, my creative friends!


Painting your Muse


Paint the Muse, illustration by Nancy Lemon Carney ©2015 watercolor, ink on paperHere we are with more artistic expression via Muse the dog.  He cuts a dashing figure, reminiscent of Napoleon, or Javert from Les Miserables.  I ask you, if your dog stood still clad in old-timey maritime costume, wouldn’t you also feel inspired to paint?

Watercolor, cool new Derwent Inktense pencils, all on paper


The artist and her muse, reading


Since creating two cute characters for the prompt “Muse”, I’ve decided to put them together in more scenes.  Maybe a story will come from pictures…as an illustrator, that is how my mind really puts things together.

Watercolor, colored pencil


I put a bird on it!

Hello Friends.  As you know, I am constantly experimenting with different art mediums as well as on a constant quest for simplification. Now that I have a Wacom tablet, I am challenging myself to create art straight into the computer, but trying to keep it as “hand made” looking as I can. I LOVE painting, drawing with different tools, and generally making a creative mess, but sometimes it is nice to maximize the space I have by using the laptop and the Wacom.  No mess up, no clean up, and editing is SO EASY. As simplification goes…all it is is thte laptop and the Wacom.

I have long been reticent to technology as an art tool (stubborn as a mule, Dad would say) and have just embraced this idea in the past four years or so.  I’ve been drawing on paper, scanning and then “painting” with Photoshop, but for this I thought I’d try straight up computer.  I still love my watercolors, and bring my traveling “studio” with me for lunch breaks, but it is always good to stretch one’s self, I think.

Like the link above states, you are able to get this design on a myriad of items in the Society 6 shop.  I am currently trying to revamp the stores, and fill them with better designs, as the holidays are right around the corner.  Stay tuned, and please share this post, if you feel so inclined.


Look up, people!

When I draw people, they seem to all be in a similar pose.  This made me imagine the things we miss while we gaze, text, and scroll our phones. Illustration Friday provided the inspiration as usual.  This week’s theme is “people.”

Original is watercolor and colored pencil on mixed media paper.


Glasses-wearing Giraffe

I love creating designs for kids’ t-shirts and clothes almost as much as creating book illustrations. Giraffes are a particular favorite, with their crazy anatomy. I hope this fellow makes someone happy today.


Draw This! “Muse”

Muse, Draw This, SCBWI Nancy Lemon Carney ©2015

Every month, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators issues a prompt word for their online illustrator gallery.  The word for September is “Muse”.  My dogs have always been a great inspiration for me, so here we are.  Who (or what) is your muse?


Pointy Animal Parade

Illustration Friday prompt-pointy-Nancy-Lemon-illustration-2015

If you would like the original, you can find it in Pointy Animal Parade in my Etsy store.

This week’s Illustration Friday topic is “Pointy”.  This is the idea that made me giggle, so this is what I made.  (It is probably ridiculous that this is the way I make many idea decisions.)  I went analog here, using watercolors and colored pencils on watercolor paper.

If you would like a print or kids’ t-shirt, please go to my BoomBoom Prints store.


Grow a Sasquatch

Grow a Sasquatch, ©2015 Nancy Lemon, illustrator

Last week’s prompt word on Illustration Friday was “Grow”, so naturally, I grew a Sasquatch.  Kind of a no-brainer, really.  As anyone who grew up in the 1980s knows, Sasquatches are gentle vegetarians.  (Thank you, Harry and the Hendersons.)


I got to use my illustration talents at regular work.

Will wonders never cease…

…I got to create a sort of children’s illustration project at the old day job! The Lions Club here has donated money to the Eye Institute of the Medical University (where I work) for a reading/fun waiting room for kids. They put in a request for a fun poster featuring a kid-friendly lion, so the job was passed to me. (Thanks again, Tom!)  I came up with several ideas, these two were presented, and they ended up using the three lion illustration for a poster, and the lion in the chair for book plates for their books in the waiting room.  I’m stoked that kids will see my lions.


Just a silly idea.

Digital illustration by Nancy Lemon ©2015

I initially had an idea for more coffee mugs, and I thought about small people and critters who tend to show up at the edge of the bed to ask this very question.  SO, it is now on a coffee mug in my Society6 store. (As well as being available as a print.)

I’ve been really having fun with these new digital brushes; they almost lend a screen printed look.  It is really fun to experiment with drawing and then manipulating with the endless possibilities of the digital realm.  This is the way an illustration style is pushed and stretched…it’s really fun.  I love doing what I do. :)


Bigfoot snoozing–it’s NATURE!

Bigfoot sleeps in nature. Nancy Lemon, illustrator

So, I got my Illustration Friday topics mixed up–this week was “Growth” and I thought it was “Nature”.  Whatevs…it’s still Friday!  I got some new (free) Photoshop brushes that I am playing with here, along with some paper texture…wheee.  I think this weekend I will need a vacation from screens, but this was fun to make.  I love Illustration Friday–they are a great community and always keep me inspired.  I highly recommend the website to anyone interested in graphic design and illustration.


I want a vacation like this…

Bear vacation with books

A reading vacation would be nice.

I can’t figure out what this summer reading lover needs.  More trees?  It feels as if I’ve created a scene where there are only two trees in a vast, open space.  I would love any feedback on this.  Should more shadows be added, or is this too overdone?  I can’t help but feel that something is missing.  Comments are both welcomed and appreciated.

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The unicorns are inadvertently found…

God's hand causes a commotion in the water. Illustration by Nancy Lemon

Click the image to enlarge the view.

We are coming to the end of the unicorn book…can you tell what will happen next?  I bet you can, you brilliant readers.


Fun commissioned artwork

It has been a while, and I’ve been busy.  I wanted to share two fun pieces I was commissioned to do.  It was gratifying that they trusted me so much and like my style.  They gave me a few activities they enjoy and told me to run with it, using whatever characters I came up with (animal, people, mineral…)  The themes were gardening and dining with friends.  These are 9″x12″ watercolor and pencil on watercolor paper.  A big THANK YOU to Dusti and Jonathan.


Ahoy hoy. Sorry I’ve been away…UNICORN update!

God asks where his unicorns are.

Click the image to enlarge view

Hello all, it’s been a while, and for that I do apologize.  I got a bit caught up in some other projects, and let the unicorns idle for a bit.  Well, here is the newest installment, and I’m hard at work on finishing up the rest so I can just schedule them for posts.  The next step is to pick the strongest and fully illustrate in color, as publishers like to get a taste of what the illustrations will look like in their final garb.



Hello all, I am taking a post off from unicorns to tell about a fun project I’ve found through Elle Luna and The Great Discontent. It’s called the #100dayproject and you can participate (on Instagram).  I found it today, and even though the official start was yesterday, anyone can jump in at any time.  You can pick anything to do for 100 days.  Since I’ve started creating Little Adventures during my lunch break, I thought I’d use that as my project.  I hope you will join me.


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Diving Unicorns

Click the image to enlarge view

Click the image to enlarge view

Now that I look at this page, I think it may need a redesign.  I will probably say that about the entire book once I finish this!

What will happen to these deep-diving unicorns?  Stay tuned…

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The Unicorns are in too deep

Unicorns of God miss Noah's ark - art by Nancy Lemon ©2015

Click on the image to enlarge the view

Uh oh, unicorns, what did you do?  Will you miss curfew?  We are continuing on with the story of Noah and God’s lost unicorns.  It is getting stormy for Driggs and Bridger.  What will happen?  Stay tuned for more…


Literary Soccer Cats by Nancy Lemon


literary cats, orange cat, tuxedo cat, siamese, gray, fluffy

Click the image for a closer look

A friend and colleague commissioned me to create a painting of their four cats for his wife’s birthday, which I thought was a very nice gift.  (Although I may be a bit biased…)  Their names are Faulkner, Whitman, Beckford (aka Baby Monkey), and Titus Bramble.  Two literary, two soccer (or football) players.  His and hers, if you will.  If you like this, feel free to check out my Etsy shop for more animal watercolor paintings and you can also request custom pieces there. Or check out the INPRNT store I have set up for prints.  As always, thank you for following along on my illustrated journey!  Have a marvelous weekend.

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Noah gathers the animals…almost



Click image to get a better view.

Noah continues on…gathering the animals is an arduous task, and you have to count on them to stay in line.  Pesky, free-spirited unicorns!  I still feel I could have drawn even more animals in this spread, but I also needed to fit in, what are they called…oh, words!  As I post all of these, it let’s me view them from afar.  I’m sure after I’ve finished this posting spree of Noah book, I will make some changes to the drawings.  It is a journey, isn’t it?

Feel free to comment and share.  Thank you for following along!



In which the Unicorns are introduced…

Besides humans, God's favorite creatures were his two unicorns.  ©Nancy Lemon 2015

Click the image for a closer view

…and we see how God plays favorites.  Well…you have to admit, unicorns are pretty special creatures.  I like this book because it reminds me of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories.  You know the ones…”How the Elephant Got his Trunk” and “How the Leopard Got his Spots”.  More to come on the unicorns.  Stay tuned…

As always, I welcome your comments or if you feel like sharing, just push the social media button of your choice…

Also, a HUGE “Thank you” to those of you who preordered my sloth tshirt at Cotton Bureau.  The requisite 12 have been ordered so they will now be available.  Now I just need to sell 13 more to make a profit…

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A Cotton Bureau design and Promo Code for Nancy Lemon art

We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you these announcements….

© 2015 Nancy Lemon, sloth life tshirt for cotton bureau

Idle Vice is a lifestyle choice.

The first design I submitted to Cotton Bureau got picked up to possibly print and is available for purchase.  If you have an inner sloth (I know I do) please place an order for one (or two, or five…teehee).  Once 12 are ordered, then they can go to press.  Twelve shirts sold covers the cost of printing, once you sell 25, then you make a profit.  That’s the way the Cotton Bureau works, for now.  If you don’t want a tshirt or sweatshirt, I totally get it.  Please share this post with someone, if you have the time.  I appreciate that you’ve read this far!



FREE Shipping WORLDWIDE through March 8th

Free shipping on many lovely things in the Nancy Lemon Society6 store.  Click the image above to use the promo code for free shipping.

Promotion expires March 8, 2015 at Midnight Pacific Time. *Free Shipping offer excludes Framed Art Prints, Stretched Canvases, Wall Clocks and Rugs

As usual, I am so appreciative that you all read my blog and take the time to look at my art.  It really makes my heart happy.  I will return soon with the ongoing saga of Noah and the Unicorns. :)

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Noah proceeds with the plan from God


(Click the image to ENLARGE view)

The saga continues…

A note on character design: designing God was a challenge.  I didn’t want to create a bearded man in the sky.  There is a part of the Old Testament where God is described as a column of fire at night and a pillar of cloud by day.  I like the clouds idea, and the giant arms in the sky make me smile.


Noah’s doubters and God’s plan


(Click on the image to enlarge the picture.)

A note on the type: in these dummies, I believe that it’s good to not get fancy or cute with your choice of type.  So I have chosen to use Century Schoolbook.  It’s a personal preference.  Some people tend towards Comic Sans, but that’s against my religion as a Designistrator. ;)  I am thinking I may have to redraw the left hand page, as my Noahs look a little different from the first page to the second.  One of the most important thing about illustrating a book is that the character design remains consistent from page to page.

I realize that I said I would post on Tuesday/Thursday, but life happens–perhaps it’s safer to say I will post twice a week!

As usual, feel free to leave questions, comments or words of insight in the comments section below.  Have a great weekend!


How to create a dummy book for children’s publishing

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Hello, dear viewers.  It has been a while since I’ve posted, and for that, I do apologize.  I’ve had a new idea for a series of posts, which I hope you will enjoy.  A couple of (gulp) years ago, my dear friend Jess presented me with a children’s story she had written and asked me if I would illustrate it.  Now, people ask this of me once they find out I am an illustrator, and usually I tell them it is easier to get published by simply sending a manuscript out with a great cover letter to publishers.  (i.e. Illustrations are not necessary to the children’s story submissions process, unless of course, you are an author/illustrator.)

The reason I tell them this is that usually publishers like to pair their illustrators and writers.  If you send a manuscript with a sheaf of drawings, you will most likely be chucked into the dreaded “slush pile.”  However, if you take the time and effort to create a dummy book, you may luck out and get your book picked up by a publisher. I love my friend Jess, and because her story is really great, I said “yes” to creating a dummy with her.  She sweetly said for me to take my time and design it how I wanted.  

Oh Jess, you may have wanted to set up deadlines with me—unlimited time means I take a looong time.  Anyway, she has agreed that I can share the process here on the blog if it helps me finish the dummy book.  Today I have a picture of some storyboards I created in the beginning to get the flow of the story just right, along with an actual book I created to craft how the pictures would fit with the type.

For reference on how to create a dummy book I highly recommend Uri Shulevitz’s Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books.  Published in 1985, it is still the greatest resource I have found on creating a book for submission from start to finish.

I love questions and comments!  Fell free to leave feedback or queries in the comments section of this post, if you feel so inclined.


Mildred and Lucille


Although I like the idea, the execution of this piece is not my favorite. I’ve been playing with line and experimenting with different mediums, in the search for improving my style.  As always, there are peaks and gutters.  It’s hard, when there are so many great artists and styles out there, to stay true to your own way, and not “acclimate” someone else’s artistic vision.  For instance, I love the simplicity and line style of Serge Bloch, and I love the dreamy world of Isabelle Arsenault.

So the search for my own truthiness of style continues.  I’m not totally happy with this one, but a teacher once told me that if you are struggling with your art, that means a breakthrough is nigh.  (The sheep in fishnets is pretty hilarious, if I do say so myself.)

I always love to hear your thoughts and comments on my art or thoughts here.  Is style something you struggle with in your own art?



Nan the shoe fanatic



Sometimes it’s hard to decide on the right pair…

The original is available (9″x12″, watercolor, gouache, pencil & ink on paper – unframed)

Or, find prints and things in the Society6 store. (FREE worldwide shipping ends tomorrow.)


William the Horse


William is such a trend-setter; or maybe he’s just trendy…in this one I used more of the paint to create than ink and pencil.  I found a great dry-brush technique to play around with on this piece.

This original painting is available (9″x12″ watercolor & gouache on paper, unframed)

Or, find prints here.


Matthew the Tiger



Matthew the Tiger is the latest in the line of animals and fashion.  Nothing says, “cool” quite like a tiger in a sweater vest.  (Or maybe I just need more sleep.)

The original is 9″x12″ (pencil, ink, watercolor and gouache on paper) and is available for purchase.

Or, prints and other items are available.


Edward the Rabbity Argyle Enthusiast


Edward is so very right; argyle is the way to go if you must wear socks.  Thus continues the thread of animals and clothes…or, fashionable animals.

The original is available (9″x12″ gouache, pen and ink on watercolor paper).

Prints can be found here, along with shirts and things.


Jerry the Deer, and a late Happy New Year



Here is the continuation of the “animals and fashion” thread.  I hope poor Jerry made it…deer season is over, for now.

Watercolor, pen and ink on watercolor paper 9″x12″

The original painting is now available in the Lemon’s Tree Art store, and prints are available at Society 6, as well as t-shirts.  At Society6, use this link to get FREE Worldwide Shipping through midnight, January 11th.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year!


Her udder bag matches her shoes…



Well who doesn’t feel stylish in new boots? I for some reason Googled “goats and fashion” and came up with some very inspiring photographs.  An artist colleague suggested that I create “collections” of images, so my first collection of the impending new year will be animals and clothes.  Although I could probably do a whole collection of just goats and fashion.  I don’t know what it is about these silly ruminants that I find so endearing…perhaps it is because my grandfather always liked to keep them around, at least while they were kids.  They are usually pretty jovial creatures, especially when they are little:

The original is 7″x7″ and is available in my Lemon’s Tree Art Shop or grab a print here!

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Holiday Greeting



It is so fun when I get to use illustration in my day job.  Maybe one day this will be my job.  At the moment, I am grateful that I have a little time to do this, and a workplace that appreciates creativity.

I scanned a drawing in and used some new gouache brushes from Kyle T. Webster.  His brushes are the best for digital painting.

Happy Holidays to all!

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So cool to send art across the globe!

This is a quick post to say “Thank You” to WeTransfer for using one of my art pieces for their wallpaper.

Visit WeTransfer to transfer your files anywhere; it’s free and you get to see beautiful wallpapers while you transfer.

Odd cat call

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I have been hard at work on a custom painting project, and have not been able to post as much as I’d like.  Once the paintings are finished (and approved) I will post them here.

This sketch was done late night, under the influence of a lot of coffee and looking at Sir John Tenniel pen & ink illustrations.

I don’t know why the lady cat looks like a saucy nude model, and I don’t know why she’s calling a goat guy.  Pan?

When I have more time for drawing, I believe I will explore this pen & ink vein a little more.


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