Illustrator & Story Maker

Maria Nicklin

I love pencils and letters! After working over thirty years in the graphic design industry, I now make illustrations and stories inspired heavily by the magical world outdoors, students, friends, and family.

The pencil is my favorite medium and the one with which I am most comfortable. Because of that, I scan my pencil artwork and then colorize it using Photoshop. This way, changes are much easier to make. Block printing and pen and ink are two of my other favorite mediums for illustration. For colorizing the traditional way, I generally use watercolors and colored pencils.

I balance this work by designing and teaching elementary-school-level art classes and directing The Hill School’s Team Saturday, a youth enrichment program.

I am a member of The Puppeteers of America,  UNIMA-USA, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.

I live in Bluemont, Virginia with my enchanting husband, pets, and numerous marionettes – many of which are from visits with my brother and his family in Prague, Czech Republic.




I found my way into the world of graphic arts at my hometown’s local newspaper, the Fauquier Times-Democrat, in Warrenton, Virginia, creating print advertising, illustrations, and cover designs from concept to print. At American Management Systems in Fairfax and KSA Communications in Arlington, I furthered my experience in design, illustration, and project management.

I started my graphic design studio, Furyworks Productions, in 2004 until 2022. The studio name was based on the archaic definition of the word fury: the frenzy of being inspired. The words Fury and Works were combined to communicate that the energy of inspiration fuels good works. My design projects were focused on people, causes, and organizations that inspired me. A couple of articles by ethical ad man Jelly Helm – Four for the Future (Creativity, November 1998), and Saving Advertising, (Emigre, 2000) – ignited my conviction that the art of advertising and the act of making a positive difference in the world does not have to be mutually exclusive.

I earned my BA at George Mason University with a degree in art history and continued my studies in programs at the Rhode Island School of Design and the Corcoran School of Art.


Photos by Liz Weaver, Paprika Creative.