Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Magical Neesha (Dog Drawer) Hudson

Soft colors and a magical quality is what makes Neesha Hudson's work so fantastic. You can really tell an Illustrator's personality through their work. Neesha herself is soft (in the best possible way) and magical. I hope you will find great support in Neesha's post.

Neesha illustrated, "Annie and the Swiss Cheese Scarf". This book is written by Alana Dakos and published by NNK Press. Graphic design by Mary Joy Gumayagay. You can find out more about the book here:

Dani: How did your education at the Ringling College of Art and Design help you build your career?

Neesha: There has been a lot of talk recently about whether a formal education is necessary for a successful art career. These days I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to go to art school. That being said, I wouldn’t be where I am today without my education from Ringling. I had (and still have) the support of a very active artistic community. I got individual training with professors. And not being the best self motivator, was forced to work on my craft. Ringling also gave me the stepping stone into my career, as it was a recruiter who came to campus who saw my portfolio, and gave me my first job after graduation. Wahoo!

Dani: You do lovely work in both traditional and digital mediums, but which is your favorite?

Neesha: Ehh this is a hard one. My preference changes on a regular basis. It partially depends on the project and the look I (or art directors) want. It also depends on my mood at the time and what medium is working for me. The moon might have something to do with it as well...? Who knows. I bounce back and fourth between the two so much because I get bored and excited easily. Constantly wanting to try something new (digital), but also going back to what I’m comfortable with and refining that style (traditional). I also heavily blend the two, scanning in a watercolor painting to paint on top of it and adjust tones in Photoshop.


Traditional watercolor and pencil

Blend of the two

Dani: What's it like working closely with an Author on a picture book?

Neesha: In my case I worked with an author who is also an independent publisher. She primarily publishes knitting books, and wanted to add a picture book to her list. Working so closely had its good moments and its tough ones. She had a strong direction for the book but still gave me room to explore characters, settings, etc. which is great. It’s wasn't the typical relationship an illustrator has when working with a publisher, but I think the outcome was a really strong, cohesive piece of work. It’s gotten a lot of great feedback and is a wonderful tool for helping kids develop an interest in knitting. I’m excited to take this experience with me to my next project!

Dani: Why are the “How to Draw Dogs” books among your favorites?

Neesha: I could not get enough Christopher Hart books as a child. I spent most of my childhood copying dogs, cats, lions, bears, etc. Drawing, erasing, drawing again, until they looked like the picture in the book. Everyone draws as a child but not everyone continues into adulthood. I think my love for those and similar books is what kept me sketching through school and continuing to this day. My style has obviously evolved, but my love for drawing hasn’t changed.

A few of my old favorites. I still reference The Art of Animal Drawing from time to time. It is such a great book.



Dani: What's the most important thing you learned about Illustration?

Neesha: That finding your way in illustration is a journey and everyone’s is different. It’s unfair to you to compare yourself to others or say damaging words like “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never be like so and so”. Find your strength as an artist and exhibit that strength WHILE improving on your weaknesses. You should never stop striving to be better, but at the same time don’t showcase weakness just because you think that’s what art directors or editors want to see. For example if you’re terrible at drawing children but can draw animals just fine. Keep the animals in your portfolio and the terrible children drawings in a drawer until you’ve drawn enough children you could do it with your eyes closed. In other words, if you work hard and constantly (art is a craft after all and the more you work the better you are) you will find your niche in the illustration world. Doing art you like and staying positive is so important to growing. So if I find myself in a negative place I take a step away and do a little personal drawing or painting. Something I like and am proud of. Something to remind me, oh yes, this is why I love this. THEN I go back to the illustration problem and try to solve it. Sorry, kind of went on a tangent there but…well…there you go.


Follow Neesha: 
More about the Books Neesha has worked on:


  1. Thanks for encouraging post and enjoyed your website! :)

  2. *Fantastic* is the right word for Nisha's work. Love it.

  3. I love "racing your dog"; so funny! Staying positive is definitely what would help an artist through the rejections. But drawing is still fun, anytime. :)

  4. Thank you for posting and love your images with the emotional feel to many spreads. Keep up the great work.

  5. Thank you for sharing today, Neesha. I love that you talk about both the digital and non-digital artwork. I think it's great that you work between the two. Many of my friends who do digital art are now going back to traditional. It's good to do both so you don't lose connection with yourself in the art.

  6. Really loved the advice to highlight your strengths while dialing back your weaknesses so you work on improving them. Thank you!

  7. Love the watercolor cats and dogs! I really appreciated your advice at the end about continuing to work on your weak aspects. And also to do something that makes you feel confident before tackling a hard problem.