Who are you?

A Q&A with the creator of Nifty Nel.

Hello There!!

My name is Nelani Palomino. I've been a Graphic Designer for a little over 10 years, mostly in the apparel industry.  Recently I've been having fun exploring my own style in illustration.  Rather that a long boring paragraph about me, here's a Q&A for you to skim thru. Cheers!


Where are you from?

I'm currently in Tampa, FL.  I was born in Miami, FL, raised in Bradenton, FL and my parents are Cuban. I'va also lived in Los Angles, CA and Cleveland, OH.


Where did you get your name?

It was assigned to me at birth just like everyone else. Nope, it's not Hawaiian. Why Yes "Nelani Dinn" is a Star Wars character.  My parents weren't cool enough to know that fun fact and indeed they thought they were original and made it up Nelani. As for my brand name, my friends call me Nel and I like nifty things, therefore Nifty Nel was created.


Where do you get your inspiration?

The interwebs, daily life, television, Pinterest. I actually really love doing research and learning new facts or hearing interesting stories. So usually after a few hours of clicking thru sites to learn more about whatever subject I’m looking into, random thoughts will pop in my head and Boom! I have a great unique idea.


Do you have a day job?

Yes, I still work as a Graphic Designer. Currently I work from home as a full-time freelancer, but my dog is tired of me talking to him all day so that may change soon. If you want to stalk me some more feel free to check out my portfolio site www.nelanipalomino.com.


What's your process?

Right now I'm still in an exploratory mood. During my career I’ve worked for many great companies where I design or create art that matches their look and style. I realized I had yet to figure out my own individual style and voice as an artist.  So Nifty Nel was created to freely produced any fun ideas and explore different styles of art.  There are so many AMAZING artists out there to soak up and be inspired by (check out some links on the FAQ page.)   I’ve been inspired to try new techniques and learn as much as possible.  I really love Copic Markers, but need to exercise my art muscle to become more comfortable with them. I'm super comfortable on the computer, so my current process is to do quick sketches to nail out a concept or a layout. Then I do a clean sketch that I can scan in.  From there I vector it in Illustrator and finish it off in Photoshop. Hopefully I'll be able to create a few videos soon.


Did you always want to be an artist?

I've always been creative and crafty, but I was never one to carry a sketchbook or draw when i was little.  Maybe doodle on things I wasn't suppose to.  So it was intimidating hearing that classmates were drawing since they were 5 yrs old in art school. But it’s not where you start it’s how you finish. So I worked hard and received my BFA in 2004 at Ringling College of Art and Design in Graphic and Interactive Communications (fancy way to say Graphic Design) and I received my MFA in 2015 at Full Sail University in Media Design.


What's your favorite color?

Take a wild guess. It's Teal or turquoise, more of a mid to light teal than a dark teal.


Who's your favorite pug?

DASHBOARD. aka Dashy.  I have an old man pug that looks like a puppy. He is the love of my life and will be inspiring new work soon. 


Have you published any books?

One day my dear friend…one day.  One of my goals is to eventually publish a book. I have a few ideas in the works and hopefully will get something in the works soon.