Oh, That NINA!!

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She is AMAZING. Of course, she had good inspiration. Heh. As we wait for Chapter 3, I thought you might like to see part of the process.

Nina Khalova is the very talented illustrator hired for Hazel Twigg & the Hollyhock Hideaway – once it was discovered that I actually couldn’t draw very well. My siblings at least let me do the initial design! And then Nina takes over from there. For example Chapter 1, Hazel in the backseat (see if you can guess whose is whose):


Or at the ticket counter. Mine (in case you couldn’t guess):

Hazel Tickets



She adds so many wonderful details.

For some reason I didn’t save Nina’s final illustration of Chapter 2’s Smith and Jones on my computer, but glass half full! Now you can see another part of the process. Here’s my sketch:

S and J 22

Smith and Jones’ “hats” are made from umbrellas that have been stripped and taken apart.

It was a tricky angle to capture. Smith and Jones’ corners are far apart, but we wanted BOTH of them to show up close. Here’s Nina’s initial sketch. It’s a VAST improvement (of course). Just a few changes needed to be made before it went to color. Can you guess? Answers below:


1. Smith is playing a metal garbage can, not two pipes.

2. Taller chain link fences surround, with stacks of boxes behind (okay, that one’s not too obvious, it’s just how I pictured it in my mind. Nina is very obliging. And PATIENT).

In the end, NOT TOO SHABBY. We’ve loved Nina from the start. She can take a simple scribble and embellish it and add life and things we never would have thought of. Viva la Nina!

Chapter 3, Freedom, Fear & Fireworks – Coming Soon!

And GOOD NEWS: The main techno Wizard has made it so the illustrations will load much faster – without compromising the quality! About a third of our respondents had slow load problems (including myself), so, yay!

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2 Commentsto Oh, That NINA!!

  1. Dennis Agle says:

    Your sketches provide the essence of what you want Nina to draw and her rendition of your sketches is fantastic. Good for both of you!