R. Nichols creates custom illustrations and designs for clients as well as custom product merchandise. Please contact us at to discuss custom work.

R. Nichols illustration projects range from note cards to book illustrations to corporate projects and product merchandise. Shown below are examples of some recent illustration projects.

R. Nichols + Fresh


Last winter I received a call from my friend, Alina Roytberg (who also happens to be the co-founder of Fresh, Inc).  Fresh was turning 21 this year and she thought it was the perfect opportunity for us to collaborate on a project.  I love Alina and I love Fresh so I was inwardly doing cartwheels across the room, out the door & down the street.

I flew to New York where I met with the Fresh team and got my assignment.  "It all began with soap" - they told me.   So they asked me to do illustrations to capture the story and essence of 3 of their most iconic oval soaps: Sugar, Hesperides Grapefruit & Patchouli.

I returned to LA, got out my scissors, glue and colored paper, and got to work.  The images just flowed out of me - and the result was pure joy.

Hesperides Grapefruit Original Artwork


Flash forward to August.  I was lying on my couch casually flipping through the gargantuan September issue of Vogue magazine.  Turning to page 712, I nearly fell onto the floor.  THERE THEY WERE - in all their glory!  I instantly envisioned Gwyneth Paltrow, Tom Ford and countless others turning to page 712 in their September issues as well and picking up the phone to call me (no calls from them yet).

as seen in Vogue magazine (September issue)


Last week I found myself in New York again - this time in Fresh's inspiring flagship Union Square store - to celebrate Fashion's Night Out with co-founder, Lev Glazman (the man responsible for their amazing fragrances). They had set up a mini R. Nichols studio where I created original artwork for Fresh's VIP customers.  It was also the official launch of the "Fresh Turns 21" oval soap collection and a cool custom set of stationery which I also designed for them.

at my desk with Fresh co-founder, Lev Glazman


The "Fresh Turns 21" soaps and stationery are now available in all of their stores as well as on their web site (for a limited time only).

the "Fresh Turns 21" soap collection

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for any Fresh addiction that may occur as a result of this blog post.

R. Nichols's NYC tips

 I just returned home to Los Angeles after 9 days in New York City.  Of those 9 days, 8 were rainy - but luckily I took full advantage of the one glorious day of sun - a day of such perfection that it literally took my breath away.

I thought I would share a few of my favorite things from New York....

1) Amy's Bread.  I've been carb-loading at Amy's Bread for years.  In fact, I always choose my hotels based on their proximity to Amy's.  There are 3 locations (9th Avenue & 47th, Bleecker Street and Chelsea Market).  I can't even begin to describe how I feel about their sourdough chocolate twist or the holy grail: the almond brioche toast.  Heaven!

You may find me here several times throughout the day

Don't miss the sourdough chocolate twist

The almond brioche toast - carb heaven

2) Central Park.  On the one perfect sunny day I decided to head to The Met - via Central Park.  On the right day (which it was) it can take your breath away (which happened when I came across these azaleas and tulips)....

Central Park

3) Alexander McQueen exhibit.  So I finally got to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  While heading towards the ancient egyptian wing I overheard somebody mentioning an Alexander McQueen exhibit.  Hmmm, I thought.  That could be interesting.  So I navigated the maze of The Met and discovered the McQueen exhibit - called "Savage Beauty".  I was expecting to see some mannequins with interesting dresses......

......but instead entered one of the most powerful, moving, exciting, beautiful, haunting experiences of my life.  It's actually difficult to describe - but I can tell you this....if at all possible....YOU MUST SEE THIS EXHIBIT.  It is worth taking planes, trains and automobiles.

I have always had a mild interest in fashion, and I haven't missed a season of Project Runway - but nothing prepared me for the impact this would have on me - and the tremendous appreciation for art and fashion that it ignited.  Who knows - perhaps I will become a couturier now!  The exhibit runs through July 31st.

I snapped a few photos - which may give you a small glimpse of what I'm talking about....

4) Indian Food.  Somehow I spent the first 4 decades of my life without indian food.  It was just a few years ago that I was introduced to The Ghandi Cafe (7th Avenue and Bleecker) - a tiny hole in the wall restaurant which gave me my first taste of Chicken Tikka Masala.  Since then, I have searched high and low for an identical indian culinary experience, visiting nearly every indian restaurant in LA (as well as others in New York).  I have not found anything that can even remotely approach the delicious nirvana that is The Ghandi Cafe. It is food so scumptious - you'll never want the meal to end.  Each bite is better than the bite before.  Afterwards I felt embraced in a warm glow for hours.  You can trust me on this one.  

Chicken Korma and naan - 2 of my favorite things....

5) Raoul's.  Each time I visit New York my clump of best friends and I always have a special dinner at Raoul's (180 Prince Street).  It's been around for years and years - and as far as I am concerned - it is perfection.  Casual, elegant, relaxed, cool, understated and absolutely delish.  It's a splurge - but I find that their steak au poivre with frites is well worth the investment.  It just so happened that it was my birthday - and I was surprised with this chocolate cake underneath a cloche of melted sugar.  Magnificent!

notice the profiteroles in the background....YUM!

Next time you are in NYC I hope you'll investigate a few of my suggestions.  Let me know!


R. Nichols

Strawberry Season

 I was in the grocery store the other day and noticed the mountain range of strawberries in the produce section - which reminded me of my greatest baking achievement  - California Strawberry Pie.

There was a tiny little restaurant in St. Louis (where I spent my high school years) called "The Elsah Landing Restaurant".   Daily they offered a variety of soups, bread and most importantly, PIES.  One pie in particular, California Strawberry Pie, was undeniably the best. I've got the "Elsah Landing Cookbook" in my possession - and decided to bake the strawberry pie this past weekend.  My friends unanimously agreed that it was superior even to my apple and grape pie (which was high praise).  SO I thought I'd share the recipe with you.

This pie is delicious when you make it - but the NEXT DAY it is even more delicious (especially for breakfast) - as all the ingredients really come together.


1 (9-inch) pie shell, baked.  Now - I am certainly capable of making my own pie crust - but I was lazy and bought a frozen one which I baked for 10-15 minutes at 425 degrees (until it was just lightly browned).  It worked just fine.

1 cup instant nonfat dry milk powder (sounds gross but trust me)

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup boiling water

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Combine dry milk, sugar and water with butter in a blender jar.  Blend until smooth.  Stir in lemon juice.  Chill.

4 cups sliced fresh strawberries

1 Tablespoon sugar, optional (but I say yes)

Spread chilled mixture over bottom of prepared pie shell.  Arrange strawberries on top.  Sprinkle with sugar if desired.

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 Tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Beat cream until almost stiff.  Gradually add sugar.  Beat until stiff.  Spread over fruit filling.

Fresh mint leaves

Fresh Strawberries

Garnish each serving with a mint leaf and a strawberry.

For over achievers - here is their recipe for the pie crust:

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup Crisco

2-4 Tablespoons ice water

Spoon flour lightly into cup.  Level off.  Sift flour and salt together in bowl.  Cut in Crisco with pastry blender until mixture forms particles slightly larger than grains of rice.  Sprinkle with ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time.  Toss gently with fork until all particles are uniformly moistened and will barely stick together.  Shape mixture into a ball.  Roll out on lightly floured pastry cloth and place in pie pan.  Prick dough generously with fork.  Bake at 425 degrees fro 12 to 15 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned.

Enjoy - and let me know how it goes!

R. Nichols

The Big Move

I think it can be universally agreed upon the moving leaves much to be desired in terms of fun.  

Arriving in Florida on Sunday, March 27th, I knew I was in for it.  Though I spend most of my time in LA designing and plotting the future of R. Nichols, my presence is requested from time to time at our home office in Florida - especially when heavy lifting is in demand.  Upon entering our shop at 3131 Corrine Drive I was instantly overwhelmed.  But with my trusty army by my side (Anda, Jana, Hannah and Nancy) - and having seen my share of television shows about hoarders, I knew that the best thing to do was just begin.

Two days later we were left with an empty shell.

3131 Corrine - my first baby

Our destination was another empty shell (4 times larger) just across the street and down a bit. 

 Prior to my arrival in Florida, the R. Nichols team has just completed the painstaking task of painting the concrete floor with a difficult and complicated shiny black paint which apparently takes about seven years to dry.  A proclamation was posted stating that one could only wear socks inside (it was militantly enforced).  It's quite possible that half of my waking hours over the next week were spent crouched over and standing alternately on one foot while putting on and taking off shoes and socks.  

Our new empty shell - 2910 Corrine - TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES!!!!

With all of the lugging and sweating behind us - it was time for creation (my favorite thing in the world).  

Each morning I would wake up at 6 am, walk down to the Bluebird Bake Shop for caffeine and sugar, and spend the next 16 hours building our new world .   Seven very busy days later - The NEW R. Nichols Shop was open for business.  And I must say, it's pretty gorgeous.

The installation of our awning was an exciting moment!  

Those greeting card shelves were quite a challenge - I sure did learn a lot about concrete nails.

Perfection and precision - two of my favorite things.

You'll always find a selection of framed original art at the shop - just peek through the cherry blossoms.

Our mouse hole is getting good use!

Every mother's worst nightmare - a birdbath full of smarties.

Our very first customer (with a charlie horse - just kidding - she was very graceful).

So if you are ever in the Orlando area I hope you will take the time to come and visit us at 2910 Corrine - but be prepared to take off your shoes.

- R. Nichols

The R. Nichols Nook at Soolip

  I first met Wanda Wen just over 10 years ago. She's one of those people that just have a knack for creating beauty.  Back in those days I would haul my samples around in a backpack and travel the country knocking on doors and seeing who I could find to carry my line of cards.  When I first traveled  to Los Angeles I discovered Soolip Paperie, Wanda's magnificent store on Melrose.  She successfully carried R. Nichols for years - but over time we'd lost touch.

So here we are just over 10 years later.  Upon moving to LA this past June, I reconnected with Wanda.  She has a beautiful new book  called "The Art of Gift Wrapping".  As we were catching up she mentioned that she had this little extra space at Soolip - and asked me if I would  like to set up a mini R. Nichols shop.  A little tiny room/nook at the very back that was all mine - well - I was all over it.   So I showed up with my paintbrush and fixtures and went to work creating my little world.


                               The R. Nichols Nook at Soolip

The end result is The R. Nichols Nook at Soolip.  It's an adorable tiny little shop within a shop where you can find nearly the entire R. Nichols collection (including original art pieces as we get closer to the holidays).   It is also quite possible that you will find me hanging around  too.  I am often there working on new designs (especially on Saturdays), meeting shoppers (and occasionally celebrities), chit-chatting - it's become my retail home away from home.  

                                              Wanda and her beautiful empire

                         Wanda's new book

So, If you are in LA, I hope you'll come visit Soolip (8646 Melrose - right across from the Pacific Design Center / open 7 days a week).  It would be wonderful to meet you.   If you are a "facebook person" please become a fan of R. Nichols and you'll always  know what I'm up to and just where I might be (whether it's The R. Nichols Nook at Soolip or The R. Nichols Shop in Orlando.....)!

Hope to see you soon!

my "I'm not an interior designer" interior designer tip of the day

I recently made a move of epic proportion to Los Angeles from Florida.  Not only was the journey epic (me with 2 cats pulling a trailer 3,000 miles through the 110 degree desert) but the change in climate was also epic (from the hottest swampiest situation you could ever imagine to cool arid breezy weather which can't possibly be true).

Before moving I decided that a I would only be bringing my greatest hits.  Anything with the words Eames made the cut.  Just about everything else made the garage sale.

So when I arrived at my new digs I was faced with lots of blank walls and lots of little things to hang on them. 

My solution: giant collages 


(R. Nichols for Epcot artwork graces the kitchen).

Now I am by no means an interior designer, but I do seem to have a knack for placing things well.

As I dug through my boxes I found loads of small family photos which my Dad had framed in the 70's (note the color palette).  They had been in storage for years - but now fill a large wall in my home office.

Can you find me (hint, bowl haircut)?

Happy Hanging!

- R. Nichols

p.s. The Orlando shop is staying put and is open for business.

R. Nichols's love affair with Fresh

It was about 10 years ago that I had my first FRESH experience.  I was visiting one of my store accounts in Atlanta and on my way out the door Patty, the owner, handed me a bar of soap, gorgeously packaged in colorful paper with a little wire wrapping it up like a present.  I pocketed it without much thought.  The next morning I opened that little package and whilst showering, my life was changed forever.  The fragrance was intoxicating and the texture luxurious.

Now I'd never really noticed soap in the past.  So I knew this was something special.  My suspicions were confirmed a few days later when my houseguest, Jimmy, came to breakfast after showering exclaiming  "what IS that soap?"!!  It was currant marine ( - the beginning of a lifetime obsession with Fresh and it's amazing product line.

I sent a box of R. Nichols products to the Fresh headquarters and as it turns out Alina, the owner, had just about as much appreciation for R. Nichols.  So our friendship began, and has continued to this day.

I nearly fainted on the spot when she asked me to create some images for a line of soaps for them.  At that point I thought I could probably retire as my dreams had been fulfilled.  You can see the result of that project below (that soap line has since been retired).


If you haven't tried Fresh, I encourage you to do so.  It's a little hard to explain, but it really will enrich your life.  

In the 10 years since that first bar of soap, I have extended my repertoire to shampoo, antiperspirant, lotions, fragrances, candles.  I am constantly ruthlessly grilling Alina for tidbits about upcoming products.

Now Fresh needs no help from me - they have a devout following out there.  I am just sharing my enthusiasm for something that is very very special.

My favorite products of the moment: citron de vigne body lotion, soy face cleanser,  apple cranberry petit soap - and the brown sugar body polish just needs to be experienced.  Sometime I wonder if I could spread it on toast for breakfast.

I am done gushing.  But I can't help it.  When I love something - I love it.   

Enjoy!  - R. Nichols

a conversation with Mireille Guiliano

Five years ago I received a phone call from the CEO of Veuve Clicquot, Mireille Guiliano, to illustrate a “little book” she was writing called “French Women Don’t Get Fat”. It ended up being an international bestseller, and was followed by “French Women for All Seasons”, “Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire” and now the highly anticipated “French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook”.

Over the years I have had the pleasure of spending time with Mireille, including sharing some of the best meals of my life (Emeril once cooked us a 7 course dinner). She is a remarkable woman and good friend. I thought I’d ask her a few questions……

R. Nichols: Did you ever imagine, when you sat down to write French Women Don’t Get Fat, that you would be publishing your fourth book someday?

MG: Not in a million years, which shows that life is lived in stages. It is what I describe in Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire as acting in enlightened self interest, which is not a selfish act but is creating your own luck and opportunities and making the most of them.

R. Nichols: I was so thrilled when you contacted me to illustrate French Women Don’t Get Fat – and then 3 subsequent books. How is it that you discovered R. Nichols?

MG: I always send postcards when I travel for business or pleasure…to customers, friends and now to some of the people who follow me as an author. Once I was in San Francisco for a week and ran out of cards so I went to Gump’s near my hotel and found these amazing ones, especially the girl on a scooter in black and orange. I was still with Veuve Clicquot Champagne so the color was perfect. Everyone identified me with the girl, a busy beaver, full of energy and always on the move. Looking at the back of the card I thought the artist was French. I remember buying whatever they had in stock…maybe 40 cards. Every person I sent a card to wrote to ask where I had found them? So, I knew then that I had discovered real talent. After that, my staff contacted R. Nichols for some holiday cards and again we got lots of compliments. I kept going to Kate’s Paperie in the Village and bought various cards in their lovely boxes and offered some to friends as little gifts, always a treat.

R. Nichols: Did you consider any other artists for the project?

MG: To be honest, it went like this: the publisher had an art department and they came up with stuff I did not like at all. It was just not me; it was very stiff and old fashioned even though perfectly fine if one likes that style. I didn’t. So, we talked about alternatives, and I offered my five cents: friend fashion designers both in Paris and New York who would have been delighted to do it and R. Nichols. They liked all the ideas, but when I sent them samples of R. Nichols’s work, they loved it. It clearly has proven to be a winning match.

R. Nichols: Do you have a favorite recipe in the new Cookbook?

MG: I have many but my favorite, favorite is no doubt the MBC (magical breakfast cream…with no cream). I’m addicted to it because it’s a complete breakfast. It is easy to make and absolutely yummy (and slimming)

R. Nichols: Nutrition aside, what is your favorite food?

MG: Dark chocolate.

R. Nichols: What is your easiest piece of advice for people to live well?

MG: To eat with your senses, always at a table, slow down, enjoy and then MOVE

R. Nichols: I love Paris. If I had to choose a favorite nook in Paris, it would be a toss up between Place des Vosges and Saint Sulpice. Do you have one?

MG: That’s a tough one. I have so many, but I’ll pick one close to home, the Fontaine Medicis in the Luxembourg Garden. I love it early in the morning when the sun shines from the Pantheon down through the trees and the ducks wake up and enjoy bathing in the morning sun. Later I enjoy going there to read, write, and occasionally meet friends. It’s quiet and my secret garden.

Notes from LA

I just returned from LA last night. As a soon-to-be Los Angeles resident, I could not help but notice that LA is prolific in frozen yogurt institutions. We don’t have so many here in Florida, so I was thrilled to see them on just about every corner.

I made a point of sampling as many of them as I could.

For the past few years I’ve heard nothing but Pinkberry Pinkberry Pinkberry. Everyone is in love with it. Not me. No thank you. In fact, it hit the bottom of my list. Menchies was pretty good.

But the grand prize gold star off the charts winner was Cantaloop. I dream about it. Not only is it delicious, but the whole presentation, down to the little orange spoons, makes me happy. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you are in the LA area, there are 4 locations. For more info, visit

R. Nichols


It’s no secret that I am a devout follower of Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. Everything she cooks is amazing and she lives in a world of beauty and harmony, with charming friends popping by all the time – it’s a world that appeals to me.

Saturday afternoon I was lounging around, watching her show on TV. When she announced that she would be making oatmeal pecan raisin cookies I thought to myself “Why, I could use an afternoon of nurturing homey activity” and grabbed a note pad to jot down the recipe.

Several hours later I was pulling the first batch out of the oven. They looked like normal everyday oatmeal cookies, but when I took my first bite I was transported into a new reality. They were OUT OF THIS WORLD. I briefly considered opening my own bakery, as I knew that millions would come to buy my oatmeal raisin pecan cookies (or rather, Ina’s oatmeal raisin pecan cookies).

I brought them to the office on Monday, and they were a sensation. A small pile of crumbs remains, which will end up on some yogurt later.

I feel it is my duty as a human being to share this recipe with you so that you too can become Ina Garten, if just for a moment.


2 sticks of butter – softened (I used Plugra European butter – it takes it to another level)
1 cup dark brown sugar (lightly packed)
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs (at room temperature – very important)
2 teaspoons vanilla (high quality recommended)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt (essential)
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cup whole pecans

To begin (and this is the secret) spread the pecans on a baking sheet – and cook at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes. Roasting the pecans makes a huge difference. Give them a rough chop.

Cream butter and sugar in a mixer until light and fluffy

Add eggs, one at a time

Add vanilla (mixing all the while)

Sift together your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt)

Slowly add dry ingredients to the mixer (whilst mixing)

Add oats, raisins and then chopped pecans.

Ina used an ice cream scooper to measure them out (but I used a big spoon).

Big dollops on a cookie sheet and cook at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

They will be crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

I look forward to hearing how it goes…..

- The Barefoot Stationer

R. Nichols in Vanity Fair

My Grandfather (Grandboy) had a house in Palm Springs, so growing up we spent winter vacations romping in the pool surrounded by hummingbird feeders and lizards. It’s always been a special place to me – and even still today – something about those mountains in the sunset and the desert air is magical.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was to be approached to illustrate the marketing campaign for the shops at El Paseo (the Rodeo Drive of Palm Desert, just down the road from Palm Springs). I did 6 different images for them, ranging from poolside glamour to cocktail parties to shopping and dining. It was a perfect fit.

If you live out West, keep your eyes peeled for ads. There is one in the March Issue of Vanity Fair right now, and one coming up in Los Angeles Magazine (April issue). Plus loads of other places…..

See you at the pool!

R. Nichols

Spring Cleaning

I remember, in younger days, when emptying the dishwasher was pure agony. I wasn’t even required to empty the whole thing. The job was split amongst myself and my 2 siblings. One would empty the top, one the bottom, and one the silverware.

Somewhere along the line, I became a cleaning lover. Now there are exceptions to this. Cleaning the garage, for example. Or worse, the shed.

I spent this weekend spring cleaning my shop. It’s my baby, the crown jewel of the R. Nichols empire. If you haven’t been here, you really should give it some thought.

We’ve got loads of fresh new designs, all meticulously merchandised and edited by my extremely particular eye.

If you’re ever in the area, I hope you’ll pop in and say hello. You’ll often find me sitting at my desk in the shop cutting and pasting something or other.

Hope to see you soon!

R. Nichols

The R. Nichols Shop
3131 Corrine Drive
Orlando, Florida 32803

P.S. The camelia is from my backyard. I harvest fresh buds for the vases each morning.

Nouvelle Vague

I stayed out way past my bedtime on Wednesday.

Having recently discovered the band, Nouvelle Vague (and quickly becoming obsessed), I just had to buy a set of tickets when I heard they were coming to town.

They are a french band with rotating female singers – who do amazing covers of mostly 80’s songs. Depeche Mode, Blondie, Talking Heads, The Go-Gos – but completely reinvented in a loungy/bossanova-y way. The result is music that is so cool and groovy – it makes me feel like I am supremely hip.

So the tickets said 9pm. Being excessively anal-retentive about not being late for things, I showed up at 8:45 only to find out that 9pm was when the doors were opening. The opening band went on at 10 – and Nouvelle Vague at 11:30 (about 2 hours past my bedtime). I had forgotten about live music – and how the acts are on another schedule completely. Luckily I made some friends whilst sitting and sitting and sitting – a nice couple who were leaving in the morning on their annual mecca to Savannah to eat at Paula Dean’s restaurant. We bonded.

My friend, Jill, was supposed to be my date but bagged on me at the last minute, leaving me stag. In retrospect that was a good decision for her. She recently started a new job which requires a 5am alarm clock setting. Not being a 5am alarm clock setting person, each night when she is getting ready for bed she feels like she is going on a big trip in the morning.

In summary, it was worth it. I highly recommend Nouvelle Vague’s new album (NV3) – you might check it out on itunes…..or their website

R. Nichols

My very own blog!

When the folks in my office told me they thought it was time for a new website, I thought they were nuts. “It’s perfectly fine!”, I said. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

Well, as often happens around here, I was proven wrong. The new website is a blast of fresh R. Nichols fun that makes the old one look like it’s from the Mesozoic period. I think you will agree.

To make the launch of our website even more notable, I have filled it chock full of brand new designs. You’ll find a very “old school R. Nichols” sensibility in the Spring 2010 collection – simple, humorous, creative, and most importantly, very “R. Nichols”. And there are even some great new things for the guys.

We’ve added a fancy personalization option – so each time you purchase a set of cards you will get the option to have a name printed on them. Now that is some very un-Mesozoic technology!

Perhaps the best part of our new website is that it provides me with a blog, whereby I can stay in touch with you on a regular basis. Expect to receive all sorts of info – from what is happening within the R. Nichols empire – to my favorite products – maybe even a few recipes from time to time. You never really know what you might find….


R. Nichols