Illustrator Spotlight: Nancy Colle

© Nancy Colle

June 1, 2018

On the first of each month in 2018, we feature an illustrator who won or placed in our Kidlit411 banner contest, and we switch our website banner and Facebook page cover image. Today we present Nancy Colle and her work.

© Nancy Colle

Welcome! Tell us about yourself and how you came to illustrate for children.

First, thank you KIDLIT-ers for this amazing opportunity.  I’d been drawing since forever and was always an artsy kid. I spent hours drawing puppies, people and ponies, when I wasn’t building forts or falling off things.

© Nancy Colle

Later I veered into education and taught school for a while. But it wasn’t until I wrote my first manuscript that I was bitten by the illustration bug.

Congrats on your entry to the Kidlit411 Banner Contest! How did you approach this assignment? 

I’d been working on a picture book called HENRY’S HATCH DAY –a little owl’s birthday goes awry when his dad takes over the festivities. Some of my sketches seemed to blend with your theme, and…voila!

© Nancy Colle

Your work has such an engaging style. Who or what inspires you?

Thank you so much! God is my enabler. Any talent I have comes from Him. I draw every day, and sometimes illustration ideas spring straight from sketches. But often they come from unlikely places such as an unusual name, phrase or even a misunderstanding. 

Of course, I’m also inspired by the old masters…Robert McCloskey, the Hobans, Beatrix Potter and the great Garth Williams.

© Nancy Colle

Please walk us through your illustration process.

My illustration process is largely traditional. I start with a pencil sketch and see where it leads. Then I scan and rework it onto tracing paper. 

Once I’ve got the kinks ironed out, I transfer the drawing to Bristol board for color tests. I use Arches for final art, then scan and tweak the image in Photoshop.

© Nancy Colle

What projects are you working on now?

 Well, in addition to HENRY, I have three dummied picture book manuscripts and am currently slugging away at a chapter book. I dream of writing middle grade.

© Nancy Colle

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Most people don’t know that I write. My dad was an old time storyteller, and as kids, we grew up sharing stories. But writing? I never thought that would be something I’d enjoy. 

© Nancy Colle

Where can people find you online?

 My portfolio site is
 You can find me on Twitter @DonkeyTalking

 And on Facebook at…Talking Donkey Studio. (Although, I’m not on Facebook much, so my page is probably covered with cobwebs;)

Nancy Colle writes and illustrates picture books, chapter books and dreams of writing middle grade. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her wonderful family and a rather finicky turtle. You'll usually find her hunkered down in her studio with the coffee brewing and the paint flying.


  1. These are beautiful illustrations.

  2. I love your illustrations. Thanks for sharing your story. Barb


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