Nimasprout is the world of Nicole Gustafsson. She specializes in traditional media paintings featuring everything from woodland characters and environments, to tribute works of her favorite pop culture icons. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets. Nicole works full time as an artist + illustrator.

Nicole's artwork has been featured in Spectrum 21, Spectrum 22, was a guest illustrator for Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard vol 3.

Nicole's artwork is available at galleries and her online shop. Visit her Available Art and Available Prints to see works that are currently available.

Select Gallery List: 
Gallery 1988  |  iam8bit  |  Hero Complex Gallery  |  Mondo  | Galerie F  |  Gallery Nucleus  |  Archimedes Gallery  |  Spoke Art

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Keep in touch with Nicole at:
Email  |  Web  |  Twitter  |  Facebook

Please note that I am currently not accepting private commissions. 


Frequently Asked Questions

What media do you use to create your works?
Paint: Holbein Acryla Gouache
Pens: Uniball Vision Micro pens, Sakura Pigma Micron pens
Paper: Rives BFK printmaking paper
Wood Panels: Trekell Wood Panels
(I seal my paintings on wood with Krylon UV Matte Spray after I am done painting)

When did you first become interested in art?
I was always creating artwork as a kid and just never stopped. My parents noticed that I loved to draw and would take me to the art center or sign me up for youth art classes if they were available. Some of my favorite early art memories were going to the art supply shop to pick out a new color pencil (they were expensive, so it was super special to pick a new color). 

Where do you get your ideas?
I am influenced by the world around me - walks outside, my latest read, new science discoveries, other artists, friends, video games, childhood memories, our pets. These all make their way into my artwork in one way or another.

What is your working process, how do you go about starting a painting?  
I usually have an idea kicking around in my head for a while before I begin sketching out a new painting. Once I have a solid grasp on my idea, I go ahead and start drawing directly onto the paper or wood surface developing the drawing as I go. Sometimes my drawing looks exactly how I imagine, other times it starts to take a different direction...and that's ok too. I love how pieces can evolve and take on new ideas or elements to create a stronger piece. When the drawing is completed I begin painting in the areas with Holbein Acryla Gouache. I love this specific painting media because it is versatile and can be used in thin washes, or thicker for more opaque color application. The last stage of my process is inking the piece and defining the different areas with black outlines, dots and textures. This ink work brings the whole piece together and is my favorite step of creating a work of art.

Any painting tips? 
Painting like anything is a lot of trial and error. One trick that might work for one person doesn't always work for everyone. My best advice is to try different painting media and surfaces until you find the one works with your painting style. 

No, really. Do you have any tips for painting with gouache? First off, gouache varies GREATLY depending on what brand you use. I use Holbein Acryla Gouache because it uses a different binder than traditional gouache. This binder allows the artist to layer the paint effectively without lifting the previous layer. I feel the paint isn't as chalky feeling as some of the others I have tried and the color stays pretty true to form when it dries (vs when it's wet). I like to use a LOT of water and treat the paint more like watercolor, which is one of the advantages to using gouache...you can use it thick and it's more opaque, or you can water it down so it's more transparent.

Where did you go to college? Did you go specifically to an Art Institute?
I went to Hastings College - a small liberal arts college located in Hastings, Nebraska. There I received a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in Studio Art. While art was certainly part of my daily classes, the college focuses on humanities classes too. Studies like Medieval Christianity, Arthurian Literature, Journey to the Night Sky were some of my favorite classes, and enjoyed that experience just as much as printmaking, painting, or ceramics classes. I also worked part time job at the college library (which was awesome, love books and grab at any chance to be around them), and I was also very lucky to get a job at a frame shop/ gallery in downtown Hastings. There I learned how to properly frame artwork and also the business behind running a gallery.  A mixture of all these classes, work, and people really helped to shape my college experience and ultimately my career.

Do you have advice for beginning artists, or those who wish to develop their skills? 

One of the best ways to develop your artistic skills is to create as frequently as you feel able. Painting every day was really helpful for me to develop ideas visually and learn how to apply paint. Sometimes my creations didn't work out well, but I could take that knowledge and apply it to a new piece. Trying new materials (and revisiting old media you haven't used in a while), different sketch locations, going to the bookstore, chatting with other artists, are all ways to expand your skills and knowledge. You never know what art materials, techniques, or themes may "click" with you until you try it!

Do you have any tutorials or videos of your artmaking process? 
Unfortunately at this time I do not have any blog posts or video's detailing my process. I don't have a good recording setup and a bit unknowledgeable on how to edit a video so that it is a quality demonstration. That said, it is something that I wish to do in the future.