Nikki wowed the crowd demonstrating the art technique that has garnered her a cult following -- papercutting. Using plain, old pencils to sketch out her drawings, she then cuts with ordinary X-acto knives on acid-free charcoal paper. The end result is the opposite of plain or ordinary—plus, as a challenge to herself—she tries to make her cut image be one, connected piece! And Nikki loves making mistakes—the whimsy of the blade can alter her original drawing. But instead of feeling like things are ruined, Nikki feels free to go hog wild on an illustration by trying out new ideas because, hey, it already has one mistake! But those often become the strongest pieces, says Nikki.
For more on Nikki, or if you want to feel good about the world, please go read this excellent, excellent interview Amy Baskin did with her last year.
All I can add is that "Mama, Is It Summer Yet?" is worth the endpapers alone and "All In A Day" by Cynthia Rylant is just as scrumptious.
Final, most important factoids:
1. If it isn't strawberry season, Nikki's preferred work snack is dried apricots or prunes with the pit still in them.
2. Some of her favorite kid books are hidden in "Summer" — see if you can spot "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey, "Life Story" by Virginia Lee Burton or "Comet in Moominland" by Tove Jansson.
3. She's a bit of a force of magical, nature-y goodness to be around. If you have the chance to hear her speak in person, go go go.