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Nakia Pickering


I'm a queer, neurodivergent, and chronically-ill illustrator from Portland, Maine. Growing up in New England I took many forest walks and coastal trips that sparked my curiosity for the natural world. This led to a natural interest in science when I got to college at Maine College of Art & Design, where I graduated in May of 2023 with a BFA in illustration. 

While I learned a great deal of priceless knowledge there, I wasn't ready to stop learning, which led me to work towards a certificate in Natural Science Illustration from Rhode Island School of Design's Continuing Education program starting in early 2023. This program has expanded my knowledge of, and subsequently my love for, nature and the creatures that inhabit it. 

My work centers around two main pillars: joy and education. Creating art brings me immense joy, whether it's a scientific illustration of a beetle, illustrating someone's pet cat in a box, or designing silly stickers. My only hope is that my art brings the viewer even a fraction of the joy I felt while creating it. I also aim to use my work as an educational tool, often focusing on critically endangered animal species as my subject matter and sharing information about those species with my artwork when I post it. 

I self-published my author-illustrator debut Be Brave, Beatrice! in April 2023. This book was equal parts joyful and educational as it focuses on a Chickadee with anxiety and aims to tell a sweet story of bravery as well as includes educational content at the back. Between time at my day job, I have been working on my next book and spending time wandering Portland with my partner and our three pet rats (serotonin potatoes) Timothy, Bruno, and Beans.

member of



phone: 603.452.8799

I do most of my emailing on Thursdays and Fridays, but do keep an eye on my inbox the rest of the week.

Please allow 3-5 business days for a reply.

Social Media
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Tumblr
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
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Selected Awards, Achievements, and Grants
  • Dean’s ListMaine College of Art & Design, Portland ME, 2019-2020, 2021-2022

  • Co-Founder and Representative At-Large, Student Advocacy Representatives (STAR),  Maine College of Art & Design, Portland, ME 2021

  • Student Life Service Award, Maine College of Art & Design, Portland ME, 2022

  • Above and Beyond Grant, 2022

Selected Group Exhibitions
  • Seachange: Darkness and Light in the Gulf of MaineMaine Maritime Museum, Bath, ME, 2023-2024

  • BFA Thesis ExhibitionMaine College of Art & Design, Portland ME, 2023

  • Merit ExhibitionMaine College of Art & Design, Portland ME, 2022

  • BFA ExhibitionMaine College of Art & Design, Portland ME, 2019, 2021

  • On The Line (Online Juried Exhibition)University of Southern Maine, Portland ME, 2021

For my resumè and work history, please see my LinkedIn profile under Socials

Commitment to Conservation

I aim to donate 10% of my sales profits from my online shop and in-person markets, as well as some commissions, to organizations dedicated to the conservation and care of animals and nature each quarter.


Past organizations have included:

Ocean Conservancy

World Wildlife Fund

Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center

These are not partnerships, and these donations are made of my own choice.

If you have an organization you would like to suggest, feel free to email me!



What mediums do you work in?

Watercolor paint, colored pencils, digital, book arts, and printmaking, though I dabble in many mediums when I have the chance to do so!

What types of tools do you use?

My favorite watercolor paint brands are Da Vinci, Roman Szmal, Schmincke, and Van Gogh. I mainly use round brushes (long rounds are my favorite) and aim to use only brushes with synthetic bristles. My favorite colored pencils are Caran D'Ache Luminance and Faber Castell Polychromos. For digital art, I use Procreate on my iPad. I enjoy many types of printmaking, but drypoint etching is my favorite. I print with Akua ink and have been using recycled plastic as my printing plates. I have printed all of my etchings so far on a pasta maker, and have recently acquired a small etching press from the Open Press Project. I also enjoy silkscreen and the occasional relief project.

Did you go to art school?

I graduated with a BFA degree in Illustration with honors from Maine College of Art & Design in May of 2023, and am now working towards a Natural Science Illustration certificate through Rhode Island School of Design's Continuing Education program.

Will you illustrate my ____?

Maybe! The best way to find out is to email me (you can find my email in the site footer as well as on my contact page) and we can talk about it!

What projects would you like to do or give priority to?

Anything animal related! I do love to illustrate a little bit of everything, from portraits to architectural illustrations, so please feel free to ask about any ideas you have!

Any advice for other artists?

When building a website (and also your social media presence in some cases), only put work online that you'd want to get paid to make more of! And when doing work for clients, never send sketches that you don't like, because they ALWAYS love those the most (it never fails).

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