Kelly Nichols

Kelly Nichols

Alex Alex
4 minute read

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Kelly Nichols is a talented graphic designer and illustrator residing in the vibrant city of Philadelphia. Recognized by her studio name, Kidnichols, Kelly showcases her remarkable illustrations and merchandise, captivating audiences with her unique creations.

     While Kelly's love for drawing has been a lifelong passion, her artistic journey took an unexpected turn during her high school years. It was there that her guidance counselor introduced her to an Intro to Digital class, where she discovered a natural affinity for digital design. With her newfound fascination, Kelly began exploring the possibilities of Adobe Photoshop during her free time, and it quickly became a defining aspect of her artistic endeavors

     Driven by her passion, Kelly pursued her design education at Winona State University, specializing in various Adobe programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop, and Indesign. Although initially gravitating towards Photoshop, she found herself developing a strong aversion to Adobe Illustrator. However, over time, her perspective transformed, and Adobe Illustrator eventually became her favorite program, one she relies on extensively in her daily work.

     Following her college graduation, Kelly immersed herself in the world of design agencies, spending approximately five years honing her skills in logo development, print design, and brand identity. While she excelled in these areas, she also spent her free time sharing experimental illustrations on Instagram. As time passed, she began to recognize her true passion lay in illustration, prompting her to revamp her portfolio and reshape her career trajectory. This transformative phase involved rebranding her entire image, updating her services, and showcasing her personal illustrations. Concurrently, Kelly established her presence on Etsy, launching her own online shop.

     In 2021, Kelly's online presence and social media engagement reached a point where she could transition into full-time freelancing. This pivotal moment allowed her to overcome the burnout caused by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and fully devote herself to her craft. Finally, she had the opportunity to dedicate significant time to her personal illustrations. Kelly considers herself fortunate to have taken the leap into freelancing, as it liberated her from the grueling 16-hour workdays she previously endured (eight hours at the agency and an additional eight hours on personal projects).

     Approaching the two-year milestone as a full-time freelancer, Kelly Nichols feels like a renewed individual. She continues to refine her personal style, nurture her Etsy store, and expand her list of clientele. Above all, she revels in the creative freedom that freelancing has granted her. Kelly's journey is an inspiring testament to her unwavering commitment to her art and the fulfillment she derives from pursuing her creative passions.

Tips to fellow Artists:
I think it’s really important to make time for personal projects that make you excited when you’re starting out. The main reason I have as many illustrations, experiences, and clients as I do is because I started posting to Instagram for fun. The social media aspect doesn’t matter as much as creating a pattern for yourself to always be planning, learning, and drawing. I have no idea where I would be if I hadn’t started drawing two times a week, every week, back in 2016. This ties into my belief that tenacity can out-do skill almost every single time. I wasn’t especially gifted when it came to illustration, but I’m able to grow and meet so many people just because I show up every day. Showing up is the most important part!

Connect with Kelly
Instagram         Website          Etsy

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