polar plunge

back to school is hard

It’s hard on everyone.

We’re still in the thick of it and hoping the weekend will help us reset. I hope you have a good one!

a fierce thanks

Thank you to the folks who’ve sent me messages and shared I will be Fierce with kids. Illustrating this book was a huge challenge as the text is powerful but not clearly visual. I revised sketches many times in order to match Bea Birdsong’s words with a strong visual story about a girl facing the challenges of her day. The positive response makes it worth it!

Here are some interior spreads – the librarian is based off my kid’s favorite story time librarian!

Thank you and I hope you have a lovely week!

deep purple

kind dreams

As an independent artist I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts. I didn’t grow up with abundance, quite the contrary, and had an early distaste for our capitalist fascination with stuff. As I grow in my awareness and think about my footprint, I started to think about reaching for our dreams.

Our conversations about pursuing dreams often center around achieving a rich life. Not a life of balance or meaning (which isn’t to say that pursuing dreams must be imbalanced or devoid of meaning). I find meaning and happiness in my work. Balance has yet to come! But recently I thought about how we’re encouraged to dream BIG and BOLD. But… what if we were encouraged to dream KIND? To expand our personal dreams to be more? What if our dreams of success were for more than our individual selves. To decentralize the self and instead think of our dreams as ones that include others – to lift each other up and share visions of a beautiful, loving world.

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful new way to dream?

last weekend at Disney!

Bambi (sold)

Alice and the Cheshire cat (available)

My watercolors are being framed and unsold pieces are available through Wonderground Gallery. I finished Alice this weekend and had a lovely time talking to kids and adults about the circuitous path to becoming a professional artist. It’s been a whirlwind month of travel and barely any time off. Even though I’m tired, my time at Disney is always refreshing – talking to folks who love and appreciate art is simply the best. I feel fortunate to share that love with so many kind people.

My residency ends this weekend! I will paint my most ambitious piece – Moana and Maui! I hope to see you on my final weekend there!

Have a lovely week!

boo & sully

I loved this sketch and the finished piece is hard to part with! It’s available now either through Wonderground Gallery directly or WonderGround Gallery can take orders via email at merchandise.guest.services@disneyparks.com or by telephone at 877-560-6477.  Let mail order know that you’re interested in the Nidhi Chanani artwork from WonderGround Gallery West and they tell you if it’s currently available.

I’ll be back this weekend on Saturday from 5-9pm and Sunday from 4-7pm.

I hope to see you there!

p.s. I’m very enraged about the current immigrant imprisonment. I’m matching donation up to $500 on twitter. Donating is the only thing I can do right now but I MUST do something. Join me?

seattle tomorrow!

I will be speaking and signing books in Seattle tomorrow at Third Place Books in Seward Park. I hope to see you there!

Also I’ll be back at Disney this weekend for more live watercoloring and the release of my new Disney piece! If you’re interested in the original of my first watercolor of Baby Dory or the new Disney print please contact WonderGround Gallery. They can take orders via email at merchandise.guest.services@disneyparks.com or by telephone at 877-560-6477.  Just let Mail Order know that they are interested in the Nidhi Chanani artwork from WonderGround Gallery West and they would be happy to let them know if it’s currently available.

Hope to see you in Seattle or Anaheim!

Today not someday

Nick and I have been together for nearly 16 years. It’s easy to forget the person you share your life with is an individual. I regularly have conversations with Nick in my head, assuming his responses and reactions. Our recent relationship go-to phrase is “assume the best of me” whenever we fall into a familiar place of frustration. We’ve grown together as a team. We choose, more often than not, to love each other instead of fight. It’s not easy! But Nick teaches me regularly to choose love.

As we watched Queer Eye earlier this year, shedding tears and fueling up on hope, I heard his wish for an opportunity like the folks on the show. A plan began to formulate. I typically plan Nick’s birthday months in advance because my schedule is bananas AND ALSO because I love birthdays! I told a small set of friends and they agreed it was a good idea. I was nervous Nick wouldn’t be into it without the fab five but they assured me he’d like it. I finished my grand plan in April and I’m very proud to say that I didn’t spill ANYTHING. In addition to a party, I treated him to a day inspired by Queer Eye, where he could focus on the wonderful, beautiful person he is – because everyone deserves to see themselves through the lens of love.

On the morning of his birthday, I presented him with his schedule and funfetti waffles. I think he was in shock as I ushered him out the door. His first appointment was Orange Theory (which he was late to because preschoolers don’t understand tight schedules but they were so welcoming and excited) which was inspired by Karamo, then inspired by Tan, a stylist through Macy’s (did you know that’s a free service they provide?!), followed by a barber shop for a facial, shave and cut (he hasn’t had a haircut in 10 years!) inspired by Jonathan, afterwards a day spa where he had his first pedicute and finally he joined us for homemade bahn mi sandwiches and cake that I decorated with the kid, Antoni would be proud!

We missed the home make over, because I cannot be Bobby! But the Nick make over was a success! He told me he could never have imagined what I had planned and that he felt pampered and lucky. He had new experiences, a new do and new wardrobe…  and I’m so happy that on his 40th birthday he felt relaxed and loved!

Thank you Queer Eye for the queerspiration!

And happy birthday, my love!


japan travel thoughts and LA Times festival of books

I’ve dreamt of traveling to Japan most of my life.

Traveling for us is a huge undertaking financially, emotionally and physically. I am grateful for every trip we’ve managed and Japan was a dream come true. The culture and art has influenced my work and life so deeply. Between Tokyo, Kyoto and jet lag, it was a whirlwind. I only had a few moments to draw which I’ve included below. My schedule for the rest of the year is packed between work and travel… I hope in the fall I’ll be able to create more art inspired by our trip. I have so many ideas!

Meanwhile, I was interviewed on the Children’s book podcast about my bilingual board book, Shubh Raatri Dost/Good Night Friend. It’s my favorite interview of the year, if you have a moment check it out. Also, Matthew is hosting a giveaway for the book on his instagram.

Lastly, if you’re in the LA area this Saturday, please come by the LA Times Festival of Books. I will be there with copies of Pashmina, Shubh Raatri Dost and advance copies of I will be fierce for sale!!

That’s all from me now! I hope to see you at one of my upcoming events.