Born in 1978, Nykolai has called Germany, England and South Africa home, and now lives in Florence, Italy. Only coming to painting in her early twenties, and being completely self-taught, she soon swapped pen and paper for a Wacom tablet, finding the digital workflow more intuitive and open to experimentation. Fascinated with the human face and figure, she largely gave still life and landscapes a miss, and what started as a hobby became serious in 2005, when Ballistic Publishing asked her to submit her work for publication. Since then, she has worked for both private and commercial clients, among others Imagine Publishing, 3Dtotal, Bastei Lübbe, Future Publishing, Giunti Editore, and the 'Assassin's Creed' team at Ubisoft Montreal.
Additionally, she has extensively studied the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, going to such lengths as learning to read his handwriting. In the process, she assisted the New York based designer team Vernato with their Renaissance t-shirt line, and worked on three podcasts called 'Leonardo's Inventions: Of Facts & Fiction', which discuss the inventions featured in the Ubisoft games 'Assassin's Creed 2' and 'Assassin's Creed Brotherhood' as well as the life of Leonardo compared to the in-game character. She has also published the blog 'The Leonardian' with the most interesting quotes and letters that often do not appear in the translations of the notebooks, showing the original writing, an Italian transcription, and a translation.
Awards & Accolades
2016 International All Media Competition - Winner (Digital Category), The Artist's Magazine
2012 Stellar Art Award, Digital Arts California
One of 25 artists in the 'Who is Who' Advanced Photoshop yearbook (Germany)
'Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting' published by 3Dtotal
2010 IT'S ART Gallery Award
Guest Judge for "Digital Art Masters - Volume 6" - 3Dtotal Publishing
2009 3Dtotal Excellence Award
CG Excellence Award Nomination at CG Overdrive (Singapore)
2008 IT'S ART Gallery Award
2007 CG Society Choice Award
IT'S ART Gallery Award
2006 Cover of 'Expose - The Finest Digital Art in the Known Universe' - Ballistic Publishing