Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Beware the Tupperware

HE WAS CRUSHED TO DEATH by a Tupperware avalanche.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Smooth Talk Show Host

I REMEMBER A STORY SOMEONE once told me of a Christmas sandwich. This family had a joke gift of a peanut butter sandwich on wonderbread that had been circulating from family member to family member for over 15 years. The sandwich hadn't broken down at all beyond becoming a little lumpy from being wrapped and unwrapped for over a decade.

Here's Conan O'Brien made from Smooth noname peanut butter and wonderbread. I'm sure it's been done before. In fact I'm almost certain I've seen George Bush done on wonderbread or maybe it was an apple pie. Either way there was gingham involved.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Watch for the Signs

My friend and colleague, Uli Walle from Old World Woodworking commissioned some signage for his shop. He had some extra space that begged for a second sign so here's what we came up with.

Not so much a DRAWING OF THE DAY but something I wanted to share none-the-less.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Wrumpled Writer (3 of 3)


Click HERE for some vintage Waits concert footage.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wrumpled Writer (2 of 3)

"BORING DAMNED PEOPLE. All over the earth. Propagating more boring damned people. What a horror show. The earth swarmed with them.”

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wrumpled Writer (1 of 3)


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Saucey Quaker

IF I RAN THE WORLD I'D create the truth-in-advertising commission. I picture the Quaker people all singing hymn's and grinding corn flour. Or the aunt Jamima lady stirring my cream of wheat. I'd love to see some truthful advertising when it came to food or perhaps the gaming industry. Can you imagine some honest ads for casinos? Photographs of the grown men and women changing their diapers in the casino parking lot, ill met by moonlight.

Any Quakers out there? Please don't take offense. This isn't about you. It's about the folks who have co-opted your identity. BTW. Check out the little heart shape on Quaker Man's cheek. I added some make-up to his face but the heart was there already.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Back to America

AMERICA IS BEAUTIFUL. AMERICA IS HAUNTED. It's a culture of acquisition that has created a few of my favorite things. Comic Books and Jazz. Amy Winehouse seems to be a crest on the wave of the American broken poem. Her life, when viewed through the lens of her work is, in itself, high art. Perhaps it's all a con but I believe I hear the person behind her thick mascara mask in some of her recordings. It's as though she's living at the site of betrayal -- stuck in a groove with her parents music playing in the background.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Whale Music

MY FRIEND, SCOTT DESCRIBES his workspace as a submersible. Life as the self-employed freelancer can be a lonely game. Every so often you tap the side of the hull to send a wee message to your fellow submariners. TAP TAP TAP. PAUSE (barely audible response) tap tap tap. (Translation = This wicked client is very close to hiring me -- I can sense it in the waters). We are like the wales in the deep with our common song. "Are you assigning?"

Here is a portrait of my friend, colleague and fellow gentleman of the deep, Gareth Lind. You will have seen his work in Eye Weekly. From 1997 to 2007 he published hundreds of adventures of the anxiety ridden, media saturated sad sack, Horst Weltschmerz. This well respected comic response to Canadian Politics has been recently revived inside the pages of The Canadian Charger (a very valuable creation!).

See The Canadian Charger by clicking on Horst:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


HOW ABOUT JACK PALANCE? I absolutely love his embodiment of Rudi Coxx in Percy Alden's, Bagdad Cafe. The films location is in line with My Own Private Idaho and Paris Texas. The empty sunlit basin quality of the landscape is a cinematographers dream assignment. I can't stand singing in films but I'll make an exception with this one. It's an incrdible fable where people take the small gifts they have and create something that wasn't there before.

The song from the film continues to make me buckle to this day.

Listen to Javetta Steeles sing, Calling You HERE.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


WHEN WE WERE LAST IN NYC, my wife and I went to a production of, All My Sons by Arthur Miller. The show featured John Lithgow in the father role (fiercely committed), Patrick Wilson, Dianne West and Katie Holmes in her debut role on Broadway. Being my first time at a big Broadway show I foolishly started taking pictures of the stage and nearly got pumbled by an usher. Also in the audience was genius character actor, Doris Roberts.

Here's an incredible caricature by Jason Mecier from San Francisco. On his site he orders his portfolio by materials (Beans, Food, Yarn, Candy). It's fantastic!

For more of his work click HERE.

Monday, September 14, 2009


ONE MUST TRY TO REMAIN POSITIVE as much as one can in these complicated times. In this blog it's been a goal of mine to focus on the positive but in this instance I have to shake my head and say, "come on . . . you've got to be kidding me."

How is there any will to accept this impression of humanity. We as bobbing anthropomorphic (?) smiling food objects running through human situations in a retelling of the bible.

The industry built around this concept is a bit mind blowing. When you go to the site for the production company that creates this content (Big Idea Inc.) there's a 'Do They Know It's Christmas Time' video single from the latest computer animated Veggietales effort which features money shots of the poor -- they're more like landscape paintings of African heads hunched over Christmas gifts cross cut with singing shots of Matthew (I'm-gonna-steal-your-girlfriend) West in a duet with Amy Grant. I see this and I wonder why we have not yet evolved past this sort of exploitation. We are constantly appropriating the poor to advance something else in the narrative and it's usually cash. Isn't there some sort of moral bylaw in the world to protect the young from this propaganda? I think I know what Big Idea Inc's big idea was.

I was reading my son a Franklin book at bedtime. Franklin is the young middle class turtle who has questionable self esteem issues. He and his school mates are collecting gifts for "The Poor" as part of a Christmas drive. In the narrative it's clear that the poor are no where near the centre of the story but merely the device used to instigate Franklins own examination of conscience and meaning. The poor somehow don't even go to the same school as Franklin. Just another instance of White-man-as-the-protagonist-of-human-history.

If you'd like to see Saturday Night Live's parody of the Veggetales click HERE.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


So from here on in I'm going to post from Monday to Friday only.

Talk in 2 days.

Best, Nick

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Crunchy with the Smooth

WHEN I WAS A KID my mother would play these Joni Mitchell records over and over. She would dance around in her mo mo and get super sentimental and it would drive me insane to hear, Blue over and over again. Fast forward 30 years and here I am wearing out, Hymns Of The 49th Parallel by KD Lang. It's probably old news to everyone else in the world but I've only just discovered this fantastic recording. I love KD Lang and I'm pretty sure I'll drive my son up the same wall with it.

See her perform Leonard Coen's, Hallelujah by clicking HERE.

On a more strained note we have Larry Gowan performing with the STYX reunion. Have a look at the photo below. This image describes the opposite of KD Lang.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Slutty Rooster


. . . ?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Harry Dean

SPEAKING OF ECONOMY OF LINE, HOW ABOUT Harry Dean Stanton? Him and Anthony Hopkins are two artists that understand the power of stillness.

"The whole film evolved on a very organic level. It almost had a documentary feel to it. It wasn't odd to be in the lead, I took the same approach as I would to any other part. I play myself as totally as I possibly can. My own Harry Dean Stanton act . . . I don't know whatever happened to Travis. I'd say . . . it's me. Still searching for liberation, or enlightenment, for lack of a better way to put it, and realizing that it might happen, it might not."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

First Response

RESPOND TO THE MATERIALS at hand. What do the materials suggest? More often than not our brains get in the way and try and retool our natural response into the illusion of "style". Follow that response uninhibited by the thinking mind and see what you get.

Monday, September 7, 2009


LUCKY LUCKY, KITTY KITTY. (As named by my kid).

A group of us get together once a month to drink beers in a pub downtown and sketch. It's all about being quick and not letting your head get in the way of your intuition. I find that often the 1st thing that comes out of the pen is the best. It's our hang-ups that come in after conception and start to fiddle -- trying to bring 'intelligence' into the picture (or some other form of artistic capital).


Sunday, September 6, 2009



ART DIRECTOR, KATIE MATHEY FROM The Atlantic commissioned an illo for the 2009 Fiction issue. The piece accompanies an essay by Tom O'Brien about the importance of the imagination in fiction writing. O'Brien sites a short story by Luis Borges entitled, The Aleph, a fictional point in space that contains all other points.

". . . and if you position yourself on the cellar floor, you will see a tiny sliver of light that contains everything -- everything that ever was, everything that will be".


Here are the various stages of the piece from rough to final. A very reference heavy piece. Because of the subject matter I built the whole substructure on The Golden Mean. (SEE BELOW). The red circles represent specific objects that needed referencing. Workin' hard for the money.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dog and Drapery

SLEEPING WITH THE DOG or -- the illustrators ongoing struggle with drapery.

Dylan Horrocks from New Zealand is a drapery king.


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Nice Package

THERE ARE CANVAS' ALL AROUND US. I've been studying the patterns of nature and it never ceases to amaze. Although I have to say I'm taken aback by the imagery portrayed on my box of Soy milk. Don't get me wrong -- I understand that there is a tradition of hiding naughty imagery inside the sweaty ice cubes of a glass of Brandy but this is what I'm seeing when I eat my Shreddies with my kid at 8:30 in the morning.

Georgia O'Keeffe eat your heart out.

Hands Heart

I HAVE A REAL PROBLEM WITH DISNEY in that all of their content distorts human experience at the expense of those who are not equipped to defend themselves against it. Worse yet, the problem has spanned 3 generations of viewers, all glued to the developing plot and desperate to find the resolution of the ever-present abandonment narrative.

That said let's look at Amy Adams' hands. I've never seen such energy diverted to someone's hands before. Adam's impersonation of an animated Disney figure is Herculean and deserving of an academy award for hand acting. As an illustrator I've always found hands to be the most useful prop (outside of the facial features themselves) to provide a window to the heart.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Time Traveller

GUITAR VIRTUOSO, KEVIN BREIT CAN travel through time. Sounds flaky I know but if you've ever seen him play you'll find it hard to keep up. His musicianship is more intense than any musician I've ever encountered. It's as though there is no physical interruption between his thought process and the sound that comes out of him. He's better known as the guitarist who played on Norah Jones' smash hit records and his smooth soulful playing is equally intense as his 'Folk Alarm' playing. His own song, Humble Me on Jones', 2nd studio album, Feels Like Home demonstrates his incredible use of white space.


Somewhere around the 3 minute mark he goes off into the light. Apparently the human eye, in concert with the brain, can absorb and process the equivalent of 16 frames of information (per second). Motion pictures are shot at a frame rate of 24 frames a second hence the miracle of movement as our minds are slower than the flicker of the projection. The ear can carry on listening to several conversations at once and is able to sort the various meanings into place. Kevin's playing is such that you can't process the content as quickly as it arises. It's like looking at a fire when you see him play, 'a force of nature' as my friend Jeff would say.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sexy Jesus

I OFTEN WONDER IF, AS I COME NEARER TO DEATH, 'Will I embrace religion?' (will religion embrace me?). As a child I used to get dragged around to all these prayer meetings/events/trade shows. I have a very sketchy memory of a biker getting up and telling his story of redemption. It all began at the pit of his lowest point of his own moral pendulum swing. Addicted to drugs and women, he closed his eyes while sitting on his parked Harley Davidson and just as he was about to be killed by oncoming traffic, Jesus (or a force) lifted both him and the bike to safety and he found himself now on the sidewalk beside the road. These stories repeat themselves over and over as disfranchised people look for forgiveness or a sign or perhaps a devil to blame.

I also remember 'Jesus 76'. It was like an outdoor music festival all about Christ. I remember seeing people get baptized and speak in tongues and I myself faked speaking in tongues to see what might happen. I was scooped up in a cruller of Christians and lifted, blessed and given mass approval. (Years later my sister confessed to have instigated the same experience that weekend).

Religion seems to give structure and adds comfort where it's needed. I'm no Christian. Was an alter boy as a 11 year old much to the pride of my mother and grandmother who tried to foster my christian roots with comics about Pope John Paul II (SEE BELOW).

. . . And another piece my mother found at a Saint Vincent de Paul shop.

That said, I'm always very curious about Christ depictions. They say so much about the world.