Monday, May 2, 2011

Dreams in my pocket - Nidhi Chanani

I’ve recently shifted to another house – a sprawling old 'fauji' bungalow with a lawn and lots of trees. There’s a cluster of bamboo trees, a mango tree laden with green fruit, a rustling pine, a tall ramrod straight Ashoka and a nut tree. I love our new abode with large windows, lots of sunshine and fresh air, and spacious rooms. But what I love best is my little studio – a square room with gauzy block-printed Kota sheers, a table for my laptop where I do my journalistic work and another table for my sewing machine and art work. I’ve parked my easel in a corner, set up a sumptuous diwan in another with a large silk cushion and dotted the window sill with plants. I’ve used Craft Maps of India for the walls and a bright orange Ikkat durrie for the floor.

This work-and-craft studio opens up to the garden and porch, and the view from here is wonderful. When I work here I feel blessed – blessed for being able to do things that I love and in a place that can be best described as a “sunny little garden room”.

Speaking about blessings and the luxury of carving out a living doing what we like to do, let me introduce you to Nidhi Chanani. She creates gorgeously cute illustrations from her home studio. Here she chats with us about what she does and what she loves.


I am….

a freelance artist and designer based out of San Francisco. I was born in India but I grew up in Southern California. I always wanted to express myself creatively, either through words or art... In my mid-twenties I decided to change careers and try out art school. I haven’t looked back since.

I illustrate…

everything, really! My blog is my personal work... I generally draw from my life, my love and my wonderful friends and family. I am incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by supportive and sincere people... and San Francisco! I feel as though every time I turn a corner, go to meet a friend or catch a train I am living inside a dream. This city has so much beauty... And I travel a fair amount so I draw from those experiences as well.

I also create from my imagination, the wonderful thing about drawing is that there are no limits. I can take my feelings and thoughts and translate them into a world that’s my own creation.

My bread-butter-n-jam…

I make most of my living from my personal work. I sell prints and other products with my daily sketches... Every day I think about how lucky I am to be able to earn my living through art.

What inspires and invigorates me…

I get this question a lot, so I think this time I will tell you what is currently inspiring me. My friends and my moms. I really have some of the best friends, people you can count on, lean on or simply just enjoy a few glasses of wine with!

I also have the incredibly good fortune of having an amazing mother and mother-in-law!  The time we spend together is always full of laughter and wisdom.

Often I feel like my life is bubbling over with love.... that’s the best kind of inspiration.

I enjoy…

I am a pop music lover! I love Katy Perry, Michael Jackson, and so many others. I can’t draw without music on... I also love my cats, cuddling in bed with my hubbahubba, walking around my neighborhood in the evening, checking out too many books from the library and I won’t lie: I’m a total chocoholic. Currently I’m on a chocolate croissant kick.

Instant perk-me-ups…

I’ve been feeling blue recently and calls from my hubbahubba and my best friend always make me feel better. Taking time to snuggle with my kitty always makes me happy, too.

What counts…

My hubbahubba, friends and family... and my work.

The important lessons of my life…

Go with your gut. Take risks. Love widely, but protect your heart. Be kind.

Let me share…

I think my best advice is to go for it. Don’t just dream it, do it.


See more of Nidhi's work here. And, visit her Etsy store here.

Image Credit: Nidhi Chanani


  1. She's a brilliant person and artist - bout time Nidhi got some recognition - way to go! ^_^

  2. you are the best nidhi... in case you plan for a big business, need an assistant, i would love to join you, learn from you ..!
    Love and Best wishes
    Amtrips (Amrita)

  3. @ Chandana,

    aparently I follow nidhi's work everyday..! It gives me a new life and inspiration after a tiring streesful day @ workplace..!

  4. I'm brazilian and I loved your art!