Following university, Nicole worked as a sign writer and muralist, developing an outstanding ability to paint at very large scales. Today she takes on a range of illustration commissions as well producing ultra-accurate portraits of people and animals, and food drawings that look eminently eatable.
She draws artistic inspiration from Renaissance artists like Da Vinci, Caravaggio and Degas, and the Realist work of Chuck Close, Gerhard Richter and Serge Marshen. Nicole has a bachelor degree in Creative Arts from the University of Tasmania, and a Masters in Fine Art with Distinction from RMIT University Melbourne.
Most of Nicole’s work is completed by hand using pencil, paint, gouache or ink. She usually uses several photographic references when drawing, piecing together a final composition. When it’s done, she scans it into Photoshop and does some final tweaks.
No matter what the subject matter, Nicole focuses on accurate forms and meticulous detail. Her style is crisp, clean and clear, delivering superb levels of realism in monochrome or rich color.
Question: What led you to become an illustrator? Nicole: I’ve always had a love for drawing and painting. Art has been a constant in my life, at first just for fun but eventually the momentum and demand for my illustrations starting building and I was able to totally focus on and make a living from my art. I still love it and feel strange if a day goes by without making. Question: Did you study illustration at college (if so where?) Nicole: I studied a bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Tasmania and a Masters of Fine Art at RMIT University. Question: Where did you grow up? Nicole: I grew up in beautiful Tasmania, Australia. Question: Do you have a childhood memory relating to drawing/art that you hold dear? Nicole: Most of my earliest memories are of drawing. I would make my own comics and storybooks and gift them to my family. Question: Where do you live now and what drew you there? Nicole: I live in Melbourne, Australia currently. I moved here because there's so much going on creatively here, it seemed like the place to be as an Australian artist. Coming from a fairly small town, upon visits I remember being so inspired by the galleries and amazing street art in Melbourne and thinking I've gotta get amongst that". Question: Describe your studio for us. Nicole: My studio is a space with a desk in my home. It's organised chaos. Question: Who or what is your biggest inspiration? Nicole: Baroque and Renaissance paintings, the way they capture light never ceases to amaze me. Street art, and hyper-real photography, as well as my everyday life. Strong female figures that have paved their own way continue to inspire me too. Question: How do you get your ideas? Nicole: I look at heaps of art and photography and notice the things around me in everyday life. Question: Do you collect anything? Nicole: don't really collect anything other than art supplies, I'm trying to live more minimally these days! Question: Do you keep a scrpbook? Nicole: I’m not organised enough to keep a scrapbook but I guess my Instagram could be seen as a digital scrapbook. Question: What are your interests outside of illustration? Nicole: I love animals, Disney movies, baking and travelling, and I'm also really into true crime books, tv shows and podcasts, I think I'd be an investigator in another life. Question: What is the first record you bought? Nicole: I can't remember buying a record to be honest, I mostly just stole them from my dad's collection. The first ones I remember grabbing of his were AC:DC and the Rolling Stones. Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed. Nicole: I completed a set of four realistic-style murals for Lamborghini. I was lucky enough to get to go to the Grand Prix afterwards here in Melbourne and check out the Lamborghini lounge, very lucky! Question: What would be your dream job/commission? Nicole: I would love to work with Disney. To be commissioned to travel around and make portraits and other illustrations of the people and things I encounter along the way would be a dream. I also love the chance to do large scale, photorealistic murals. Question: Why is illustration such a powerful medium? Nicole: I believe illustration can be quite emotive and I think there's something really special about it because of the human 'touch' element involved (whether the image is physically hand-drawn or digitally). Everyone is a bit of a budding photographer now with access to decent camera phones, I think it's refreshing for people to see something that's been drawn by someone. Question: What is the best use of illustration you have ever seen? Nicole: I am a big fan of movie poster illustrations (think Indiana Jones, Star Wars) and I love the throwback to this style that's been popping up as of late. The Stranger Things posters by Kyle Lambert for Netflix are an awesome example of this. Question: How much of your work is hand drawn? Nicole: 90-99%. I will refine images in photoshop or illustrator but the rest is usually all hand drawn/painted. Question: How do you envisage illustration evolving? Nicloe: I can definitely see illustration moving into virtual reality more and more as that technology becomes more accessible. I think we will see even more of a shift back to illustration on magazine covers and movie posters too, reverting back from photography. Question: Who is your art hero? Nicole: Ooh I have so many it's difficult to choose! Shortlist: Gerhardt Richter, Chuck Close, Drew Struzan, Marilyn Minter and Jan Nelson.