Friday, January 11, 2019

Featured Illustrator Nick Adkins


This questionnaire goes back to a popular parlor game in the early 1900s. Marcel Proust filled it out twice. Some of our questions were altered from the original to gain more insight into the hearts and minds of our illustrators. We hope you enjoy this way of getting to know everybody.

1. Your present state of mind?

2. What do you do best?
Come up with ideas. I have more ideas than I know what to do with and some of them are good.

3. Where would you like to live?
Disney World, but I hear they frown upon that, so a cozy place on the beach would do.

4. Your favorite color?
Green. Like the first little sprout of grass in the spring.

5. Three of your own illustrations:

6. Your music?
When drawing: indie rock/pop. I’m listening to The Shins right now.
When writing: instrumental only. I’m partial to string quartets and video game soundtracks. The Stardew Valley soundtrack gets me in a pretty happy state of mind. And always Rainy Mood playing quietly in the background.

7. Your biggest achievement?
Creatively: I would say sticking with my current project (a middle grade novel) for the last three years. There was a time in my life that I could hardly stick with a project for a week. I can’t wait for it to be out in the world!
In life: my family. My wife (Ashley), and kids (Logan and Eli) are the best!

8. Your biggest mistake?
Not writing my ideas down in the past. I was always so sure I’d remember them. RIP forgotten million dollar ideas.

9. Your favorite children's book when you were a child?
I don’t really have one favorite thing of anything, so here’s a short list:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Those Terrible Toy Breakers by David McPhail
The Wild Christmas Reindeer by Jan Brett
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McClosky
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Say Cheese and Die by R.L. Stine
Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
Hatchett by Gary Paulsen

10. Your main character trait?
Patience (with others, sometimes not with myself).

11. What do you appreciate most in a friend?
Humor, kindness, and a love of reading. Otherwise you run out of things to talk about.

12. What mistakes are you most willing to forgive?
I often find myself forgiving my kids for spilling something. At some point, it would seem they would stop making that particular mistake, but I haven’t stopped forgiving it yet. Don’t cry over spilt chocolate milk.

13. Your favorite children's book hero?
Maniac Magee, maybe. My cousin and I spent a lot of time one summer trying to run on the rails like him, but never quite got it. I’m a pretty big fan of the Harry Potter trio too.

14. What moves you forward?
Two things:
1.    The thought of finishing a project usually gives me a good push. If it feels like I’m nearing the end, I sometimes work late into the night and early morning trying to wrap things up.
2.    Ashley. She’s really good at keeping me on track and moderately focused.

15. What holds you back?
Procrastination and anxiety. I’ve developed a bad habit of constantly second-guessing my work and being worried about things most people don’t worry about. Public appearances sometimes have me feeling sick for days.

16. Your dream of happiness?
Travel. Lots of travel.

17. The painter/illustrator you admire most?
I really like Scott Campbell. He has some pretty interesting art books out there with lots of pop culture references. Zac Gorman is great too—lots of nostalgic video game art. He adds gifs to his artwork that I think are pretty neat.

18. What super power would you like to have?
I always wanted to be a Wolverine when I was growing up. Now the claws seem less practical. I’ll go with flying or teleportation.

19. Your motto?
I don’t really have a motto, but I do often find myself saying, “Could you guys quiet down?” and, “Shhhh.”

20. Your social media?
Thanks for asking! My website and blog are at Events, articles, and other shenanigans can be found at Ashley is my social media master and keeps it all up to date!


  1. Thanks so much for creating a new blog banner for us, Nick! Our paths have briefly crossed many times, but not long enough to get to know you or Ashley very well. I enjoyed this extra glimpse into your life and related to much of it, including the public appearances part. Happy New Year!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Enjoyed reading this Nick, and I love the sled! Thank you Kristin and Nina for your work on this. Side note: Scott Campbell (Nick mentions above as a illustrator he admires) has illustrated for Michigan's own Kelly DiPucchio. :)

  4. Love this. Thanks, Nick! And Maniac Magee is a favorite of mine!! Absolutely love that. And love the POV Spinelli used.

  5. Thanks for your banner, Nick, and for all you and Ashley contribute to the SCBWI MI community.

    1. We are the lucky ones! :) SCBWI MI has taught us so much.

  6. Hi Nick, nice to meet you! Thank you for creating the new banner and sharing your work (which is great; those bunnies are a great representation of spring!) :-)