Featured Illustrator

Meet Nico Ridge!

Nico is an illustrator (see our new fall banner) and is one of our newer members. 

How has being a member of SCBWI benefitted you? 

The SCBWI membership has offered me the opportunity to display my work on The Mitten’s website. I hope it may lead to other opportunities to do so in the future and may lead to other networking opportunities.


We’d like to get to know you! Tell us about your past creative work in the area of children’s literature or related areas of interest or expertise.


My name is Nico Ridge, 32 years old. I’m a self-taught artist who started drawing when I was young. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties that I started to get serious with art, I’ve been spending time working on improving my drawing skills and started dabbling in painting when I’m not working. I decided to start attending school at KVCC last year and am hoping to make a career through art. I won first place in the KVCC art show for a watercolor painting I did—that’s about as much acclaim as I’ve ever received for my work lol, so that was pretty cool! 

What in your childhood or youth piqued your interest in illustrating? What were some of the major influences that led you to this road?

My uncle Ryan Roxbury is probably my main inspiration. He’s also an artist, mostly working in acrylics. I remember him painting when I was maybe 7 or 8, and ever since then drawing was something I did often. 

Please share anything about your current projects or what’s ahead in your creative work. We’d love to hear about it!


I’m planning on doing some artwork soon that highlights political/social struggles that the nation faces. I have a painting that I’ve been working on in starts and fits that would be the first in a series of these works with a couple more kind of planned out …dealing with the justice system, American exceptionalism, class struggle, social solidarity, and the power of corporate interests and big tech exerts on our political system.


In our emails you shared some wonderful news you might want to share with our readers. Here's my question: What's new in your life, Nico?


My son Evander Robert Blue Ridge was born on the 24th of September, healthy as can be. Mary, my love, had a short labor, only ten minutes, everything went smoothly. We brought him back to meet his big sister of three, Nyx Lynell Faye Ridge, a couple days later. She was suuuuuper excited to meet her baby bro that she had heard so much about the past 9 months.


Thank you, Nico, for letting us get to know you and for designing our fall banner! And congratulations to you, Mary, and Nyx on the birth of Evander!



Previous Featured Illustrators 

July 2022

March 2022

January 2022
Kristen Uroda

December 2021

May 2021

January 2021

October 2020

May 2020

Rebecca Howe

March 2020

Nina Goebel

January 2020

Melanie Bryce

October 2019

Makiko Orser

July 2019

Ruth McNally Barshaw

April 2019

Melissa Bailey

January 2019

Nick Adkins

October 2018

July 2018

Darrin Brege

April 2018

Basya Cohen

January 2018

John Bleau

October 2017

Lori Eslick

Lori painted two banners and they both deserve to be shown, here is the other one:

July 2017

Amy Nielander

April 2017

Cathy Gendron

January 2017

Brianne Farley

October 2016

Bradley Cooper

July 2016

Kara Marsee

April 2016

Lori Taylor

January 2016

Dana Atnip

October 2015

Deb Pilutti

July 2015

Jennifer Scott
April 2015

Diana Magnuson

January 2015

September 2014

Heidi Woodward Sheffield



  1. Will there be any market ideas such as new publications or publishing companies included in The Mitten?

    1. Great idea, thanks for the suggestion! We'll explore this as we grow and add more features.

    2. Keep in mind the most up-to-date market research can be found in the members section of the national site, www.scbwi.org
      You can download it for free or have The Book sent to you for just $5 postage. It's an amazing resource.

  2. Brilliant, Heidi. Huge congratulations and also hugs.
    I'm a mentee now, too -- let's storm the castle and hang up our artwork. ;) -- And let's pull the rest of our Michigan illustrators up the steps too.

  3. GREAT JOB! Kritstin and Jodie.

    Heidi, you know I am already a fan, and your work never fails to WOW me!

  4. Heidi, your art is so beautiful! Thanks for your courage in sharing your life challenge with us. I wish you the very best.
    Kristin and Jodie--this is a terrific idea! Looking forward to reading more.
    Lindsey McDivitt

  5. Heidi, Thank you for sharing your work and your hard-won wisdom. The depth from which you speak comes through in the strength and vibrancy of your artwork as well. Blessings and continued healing to you. Most Sincerely, Elizabeth McBride

  6. This is a question for Kristin and Jody but I can't seem to find anywhere else to ask it---will we still be sharing marketing news, Hugs & Hoorahs, etc? I don't see any of those at this time. Thanks!

    1. I emailed Monica, but for anyone else who is reading this, we will definitely have Hugs and Hurrahs - I'm compiling them now for an upcoming post. We'll have to look at market news going forward, but the SCBWI Bulletin and our listserv continue to be good resources for that info.

  7. Wow! Heidi, I can see why you got the mentorship--touching, heartfelt essay. Impressive!

  8. I'm such a neophyte here that I forgot there might be posts (and replies!). I really and truly very touched by the kind words and feedback. Thank you all, a bit late! XO Heidi

  9. Thank you to Jeff and Heidi for their gorgeous artwork! And, Heidi, thank you for your honesty and inspiration, all wrapped up in your beautiful essay. It's a touching reminder of what matters in life--the perfect start to the new year. Happy 2015 to everyone!

  10. Jeff - thanks for a little insight into your creative world, challenges, and motivations. I'm excited to see more of your work! And Heidi,I want that bronco girl! Love her spirit.

  11. Amazing artwork Jeff (and Heidi). Fascinating that Matt Faulkner suggested the 3-D look. The value of SCBWI is our proximity to working writers and illustrators. The sparks that fly when creative minds meet fuels the forge of inspiration.

  12. Love it, Jeff! Your art is fabulous and it's great to see more of it.

  13. Great art work Heidi and hugs all over for you...And Jeff, the cover is so good - just want to reach out and squeeze the other hand of the tree, or two or more! Love clay too!