Airplane back home.

Airplane back home., originally uploaded by nick lee.

A couple hours before the tire blowout.

Also, guys, go out and buy the most recent Apples In Stereo album. Sweet sassy molassy!

Nick Lee, hoop star.

Nick Lee, hoop star., originally uploaded by nick lee.

He's also BEAHS's starting quarterback.

Pooches and pins.

Pooches and pins., originally uploaded by nick lee.

Why can't dogs sit still?

Chocolate Santa.

Chocolate Santa., originally uploaded by nick lee.

Surprisingly good chocolate. Thanks again, Mark!

Aunt Shirley.

Aunt Shirley., originally uploaded by nick lee.

Epitome of a sleepy town.

Epitome of a sleepy town., originally uploaded by nick lee.

Blue Earth, Minnesota in all its glory.

Department 56 toy store.

Department 56 toy store., originally uploaded by nick lee.

First Moleskine drawing ever.

Marcia playing sudoku.

Marcia playing sudoku., originally uploaded by nick lee.

Waiting for Christmas Day to kick off.

Department 56 brauhaus.

Department 56 brauhaus., originally uploaded by nick lee.

These miniatures are good for drawing.


Milwaukee's best.

Milwaukee's best., originally uploaded by nick lee.


One bad pug.

Taken after this fantastic photo. I just wrote down the first Samuel L. Jackson quote I could think of. I seem to be noticing a real nervous line style developing. I think I can nurture that a bit.

I couldn't hit it sideways...

Sorry for the lack of drawing lately. Three reasons for this are: 1. Too many other festivities and things to do, 2. No Conan for inspiration, and 3. Saving it for after Christmastime. But I have a Dick Blick gift certificate to rock, so soon I'll have fresh materials and a load of time to press forward. In the meantime, here are five of my favorite songs today:

1. Radio Radio by Elvis Costello. Gets you good and angry against corporate radio.
2. Hurry Up England. The ultimate example of hope over experience.
3. Heart Made of Sound by Softlightes. Arts and craaaaaaaaafts!!!!

Three. Three songs.


Tis the season.

Tis the season to stuff our faces with horribly unhealthy food in an attempt to distract ourselves from, say, the downright dreadful entertainment at the holiday Christmas party. Sweet mother of pearl, you people need to give thanks this season that you weren't in the room for our "entertainment." You know those SNL skits with Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer singing at school assemblies? It was like that, only without Ferrell or any humor whatsoever. But with hand motions.

Tis also the season to stuff our faces with horribly unhealthy food in an attempt to distract ourselves from, say, being on the front of the Chili's menu. See, the burger looks really big because this guy is holding it really close to his face, and it's a tight shot anyway. Couple that with his irrationally excited expression, and who can deny the sheer delight that comes from an overcooked, coronary-inducing slab of beef?

Not I.


The Mitchell Report.

Mike Greenberg said this morning that the Mitchell Report, released yesterday, has "rocked baseball." Nope.

The steroid thing may have on the whole, but this report is next to nothing. It's a really expensive way for baseball to say, "yeah there was a problem, our bad." It won't affect the product on the field, or the number of fans in the stands, or who eventually gets into the Hall of Fame.

The only thing that this report changes is that baseball players have now become Santa Claus. Your children will believe in them until such time as someone tells them the truth. They'll take a few minutes to digest, and go on with enjoying the season anyway.

The Vick scandal, the NBA ref scandal, the MLB steroid scandal, these things don't matter to us in the long run. We're tied to our sports and one scandalous thing cannot take down what are essentially very lucrative businesses. A hockey strike, ironically, almost did take down a sport. (Don't believe the NHL is dead. We'll all be back on board with them as soon as we figure out they're the sport of the interwebnetlinkcom.)


Food court.

I find it odd and saddening that the most Christmas-y place I can find is the local mall. What that says about Christmas in America is both fascinating and alarming. I did have a good time with this one though. I've never attempted a scene drawing with so many things to draw.

Church doors.

In the wake of the shootings last weekend, there's been a lot of play in the news about security at church. It seems most churches feel they need to have security guards involved. The idea of specific people at a church being responsible for keeping other specific people out of church seems completely bass ackwards to me. American churchgoers have had it good for a long time. They seem to feel they have this inherent right to safety. But Jesus never promised any such thing, in fact quite the opposite.


On olives and werewolves.

Just a bit of wisdom for you to carry with you on your journey through this crazy tundra we call life.

Welcome back, fine-tip pen! You were missed a little.

Ken Burns.

I've decided that I need more affectations. One of them is an irrational hatred of Ken Burns. His hair is unbelievable.

This marks the end of my brush pen. I can't believe how fast it ran out of ink. Screw that.

Carl Kasell.

"From NPR News, I'm Nick's drawing."

I've recently become a gigantic fan of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! Check that noise out if you don't know.

Leather jacket.

My leather jacket hanging at work. Still the best Christmas present ever. Thanks, hon!

Now playing: Jackie Gleason And Jack Marshall - I'll Be Home For Christmas/Baby It's Cold Outside


The Californians.

This is my view at work. There are a fire hydrant and several "NO PARKING" signs visible, though no actual road or path or anything. Fire lane? Maybe? There's a fresh coat of snow on the ground from the weekend, enough so that almost all the grass is covered. There's a hill back there that goes down to some newer housing developments. We call them "the Californians," to tease our native Coloradan in the office. He's of the belief that people from California move in just to drive up housing prices and bring their palm trees to our malls. I'm inclined to agree.

Two points.

I had a long, substantial discourse about this whole "Happy Holidays" vs. "Merry Christmas" thing. Basically, it boiled down to two points:

1. This isn't a Christian country anymore, get over it, and
2. Christians have better things to worry about.

The second point seems rather pertinent this morning, in the wake of the New Life shootings. The church is across the street from my place of business, and for the second time in 13 months there's a swarm of news vans gathered outside of it.

I can't help but feel angry at this. I don't even really know why though. Most of the time when I hear of a mass shooting incident, I start to think of what could have been so wrong in the shooter's life that made them snap. I think we often lose focus on the fact that the shooter's life is thrown away too, as if their humanity was revoked the minute they picked up a gun. But this morning I'm not at all thinking sympathetically about the killer. It's hit a little closer to home and I'm finding it much more difficult to stick to my principles about the value of all human life.

And I hate to be glib about this, but this incident adds to the already large case for attending a smaller church.


EDM #148 - Something soothing.

This comes from a photograph I took in March 2002 in Cibecue, Arizona. This dog was one of many in the roaming band of seeming strays on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. Despite several warnings, Marcia kept petting and squeezing this unnamed pooch. There was another dog that gained the nickname "Farty," for obvious reasons. He was less, shall we say, adorable.

Getting sketchy with the brush pen seems to be serving me rather well. It's nice to bust out of the very controlled style I've had for the last couple portraits. The brush pen is quickly becoming my weapon of choice. Good things can come from forcing yourself to do something.


Wrinkles are money.

What to say about this guy? He looks like he's seen it all. It's a random picture I found a while back, I have no idea who it is.


Sam Beam.

I procured the new Iron and Wine album today. You guys, it's really good. It has a nice full sound to it that I know I'm going to be repeating for days and days. Nothing wrong with The Creek Drank the Cradle, but I much prefer The Shepherd's Dog.

From this picture by Robert Loerzel.

Talk, you!

It seems the drawings I like best, that I've drawn at least, involve one of two things:

1. a comic book feel, or
2. people over 50 years old.

Something about silver hair and wrinkles makes for a good line drawing, I guess. This drawing makes me want to find a Country Buffet on Sunday afternoon, and just go to town.


Work doodles.

Mug - bland corporate mug, one that's easily swapped out for clean ones (so I hardly ever use my personal ones)

Paco Rockwell - always telling me to maxx out!

Bird feeder - empty for now, so no birds to distract me

Kensington Expert Mouse Pro - one of three pointing devices on my desk, the least used one for sure. But, the only one that confirms that not only am I an expert, but a pro too.

Wallet - If you see this lying around, it's mine. I'd appreciate it back, please.

At church.

Everyone was listening attentively to Johnathan Licciardi, who talked about actually taking the things Jesus said seriously (a novel concept, even for Christians). The guy in the upper left always looks exactly like my dad, but only from behind. (He coincidentally has the same first name, too.)


That thing at the top is my dog's bone toy. It has some interesting shapes.


Sasha, once more.

Same as the last drawing, but with one drawing extracted and cleaned up a bit.

Brush pen ahoy!

The problem with intending to draw in the park is that my dog doesn't like staying put. She gets really whiny. And so, I'm mostly just able to get mere outlines down before having to pack up again and leave. Drawing at home is much easier, if you can find a decent subject. I got a bit annoyed with my lack of style, so I ditched my usual Bic Z4 Needle Point and brought out the Pitt Brush Pen. I bought it in early September, used it for one drawing, and decided I didn't like it. Last night, however, I changed my mind. It allows for more expression, and frees me from worrying about cross-hatching. I like that it lays down a goodly amount of ink. I'm vowing to use it exclusively until it runs out.

Pikes Peak, Cheyenne Mountain, Sasha (twice, the upper one being much more accurate), a twig, a slipper, and a Christmas tree.


Tootsie politics.

Dude doesn't end sentences with prepositions, so don't ask.


Kringle's Fancy Feast.

Little known facts about our man Santa:

1. He thinks Father Christmas is the dumbest alias for him, just edging out Pere Noel.

2. He's never actually set foot inside the state of Wisconsin.

3. He's absolutely mad for au gratin potatoes. It's reaching near-intervention status.


Working on my composition and my whimsy.


The Holidaiz Are Here!!!!

Stuffed snowmen are totally manly. What a cute green bowtie he has. I'm very psyched that the Christmas season is finally here. I had started to twitch a bit. This is the last drawing in the second sketchbook of my little art revival. Time to start a third.


I usually get the shape of the face first, then work in. This time I went for particulars and worked my way out. You can see how that went. This is from a picture that's about five years old. I didn't realize it before, but my face has aged quite a bit recently. I looked so young and vibrant back then. I guess that's what five years of easy living will do to you.



From a design in my most flipped-through magazine, the 2002 Comm Arts Design Annual. I think it's from a poster for a Tennessee Williams play or something. I got distracted in the middle. It's difficult to do something flowy and organic like a flower with surgical cross-hatch lines involved.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Regardless of religious affiliation, we can all celebrate this holiday for what it truly is: an excuse to look at everything we have and be grateful. Gratitude is severely lacking in the world today. Let's at least get it right tomorrow.

Candles and guilt.

They go hand in hand this time of year, don't they?



I apologize for nothing posted lately. I've been valiantly battling against an invisible enemy called food poisoning. A word to the wise: If making frozen chicken patties, use the oven, not the microwave. I've been so out of it that I haven't done any drawing or really anything useful for several days. I'll get back into the swing of things soon though. Just in time to take a few days off for Thanksgiving. I really hope I get back to fighting weight before then.

On Sunday our water went out for three hours. It terrified me. I kept thinking, "What will my dog drink? Will we be able to take showers tomorrow? How long can I go without using the toilet?" (Keep in mind that this last question was by far the most pertinent to my situation.) It made me really appreciate running water. I'm pretty pathetic.


Telecasters own.

I think I like digital coloring. Can I get an amen for Photoshop? It's funny, I wanted to give up on this drawing at least five times. Besides the hands and the neck of the guitar, I like it.


Late night double feature picture show.

From this photo actually. Old portraits always remind me of three things:

1. Investment bankers with dorky names,
2. Obsolete international politics, and
3. Institutionalized sexism.

Go figure.

This started out with some colored pencil, but I think for all intents and purposes that I'm done with color. Grayscale is more my kind of place.

I do with drawing what I do with conversation. If it's up to me to come up with the topic, I panic and start looking around me. It drives those who really know me crazy. Sorry.


Purple Jesus.

Rose Art markers and Bic Z4 on watercolor paper.

Closed circuit to AP:

Nice job so far, man. I haven't been this excited about a Vikings rookie since Randy Moss. Too bad about your ligament though. Here's the thing -- just take your rehab nice and slow. There's no use busting yourself up for a coach who doesn't understand the fundamentals of running a football team (things like, "Have a quarterback who can throw"). Next year when we have a new coach, quarterback, and receivers, then you can come back and dominate. Looking forward to it, big guy.

(and all Vikings fans everywhere)

[Note: I was channeling my Fauvist side here. I could really use some comments on the use of markers. I want to keep up with them, but I'm not sure if I should.]


Ken Jennings.

Next in the series of people whose pictures are readily available is self-termed celebrinerd Ken Jennings. You may remember him as the guy who won over two million dollars on Jeopardy! back in 2004. I've been reading his blog regularly for about a year and half, and got to read his book last winter. He's quite down-to-earth and un-nerdly for a guy who pretty much knows every piece of trivia ever. He ranks at the top of the list of Coolest LDS Guys Whose Blogs I've Read. He doesn't rank at the top of Coolest LDS I Know, however. That still belongs to Skizz McGrizz.

Here we see Ken resting on a stack of books in a library, after a tough day at the salon. He's contemplating his money, and how much smarter he is than the yahoo over in the DVD section. Upon seeing this drawing, my wife merely said, "Why, honey, why?"

Because we all need our heroes.


Drawing table.

I always hate when I pull this crap. A line drawing usually feels so unfinished when read into a computator, so I try to Photoshop in some color to help it feel more done. But it always leaves me feeling lazy and foolish. I really should just finish the drawing itself when I do it initially, but sometimes I just hate trying.


American Aquarium Drinker.

This is what Jeff Tweedy of Wilco would look like with 15% less grizzling. Stubble is hard.

If you didn't catch Wilco on Austin City Limits on Saturday, you really missed out. I was particularly impressed by their musical prowess and Tweedy's amicability in between songs. I pulled out Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and have had it on pretty constant rotation ever since. "Ashes of American Flags" might be the saddest song ever.


Two more on the upswing.

This is proof that getting scribbly can save even the most awful of drawings.

Let's see... professor, beard, glasses. Looks like JK Rowling owes somebody a royalty check.

This is Ted Sherarts, a former art professor of mine. Nobody has more pics on flickr than him, or maybe a handful of people at best. My wife thinks he looks like Santa Claus. I didn't see the resemblance until she said that.

(Note: not intended to be a statement on tedsher's sexual preference. Wow, I really didn't foresee that sentence when I woke up this morning.)



A word to consumers: make sure they're not coming out with a new line of iPods before you buy one that will soon be antiquated.

I want to finish out my current sketchbook before the end of November. That means a mere 27 drawings this month. [Gulp.] So they won't all have a lot of effort put into them (see above), but I hope the constant practice will help me out.


Can You Feel It?

I normally don't like putting videos up, but I feel so depressed about the state of sports that I need a pick me up. Maybe you do too, so:


Drawing travels at reasonable speeds.

I'm trying to think of whether Graham Coxon is more like George Harrison or John Lennon. Personality-wise I'd categorize him as George, but his career arc follows John's much more closely. British mega-band's guitarist leaves for a solo career, wanders through a few purposely dense albums, and arrives at some decent pop music. Fits pretty well. Only, Coxon hasn't been shot to death. I guess we can learn a few lessons here:

1. Don't marry a meddling witch,
2. Stay off the US government's radar, and
3. Avoid New York City. That's where all the crazies are.


A new venture.

The grammatically correct Tote Awez, a collaboration between myself and Gordon. We're not quite sure what its identity will be just yet, but the name was too good to let go.


A warning of sorts.

I'm not a Boston hater. I'd take BC's quarterback in the draft, I wish all good things for Kevin Garnett, and I'd still much rather hear Joe Buck and Tim McCarver have to say nice things about the Red Sox instead of the Yankees.

I just wish the East Coast Media Bias (yeah, it gets proper name status now) could be toned down a few notches is all. And if Boston teams end up winning all sorts of stuff over the next year, I might go the way of the hater. But not yet.

The Bruins still suck! Yeah!


They can't all be winners, part 2.

I was trying to improve my speed, that's why it looks like I really mailed this one in from a tropical island. I also returned to the V5, thanks to finding one in the couch cushions last weekend.


Messenger bag.

I spent most of the past four days laid up on the couch with something really painfully wrong with my neck. This was the only thing I drew in all that idle time. On the upside, I found a V5 tucked under a cushion. Score.



It took me a week to do this. Really. It's that good.