J Leigh Nelson

J Leigh Nelson

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jaime3Hi, I’m a book professional-slash-dabbler-in-everything-else in New York City. Thanks for visiting my portfolio. The creations and projects here were created and are copyrighted by me. You’ll find short stories and novels, podcasts and videos, drawings and animation, and, yes, even papier-mâché. On the “Blog” tab, you’ll find the miscellaneous and works in progress (WIP). If you like something I’ve made, why not leave a comment?

Contact: serenityyrd@yahoo.com

Some things about me: I’m about 28-years-old and am from Wisconsin. I like scary stories and good art. I drink Irish breakfast and chai lattes. My favorite color is orange, and not in a passive, adult way. I play the guitar. I collect hats. I wish I had a pet ibex.

Washington, DC

November 30, 2015


Scene 2, New York, After All, draft 1

November 22, 2015

The first draft of the second scene of my new writing project (book? novella?) New York, After All. 

Looking back, I suppose the explosion should have been a dead giveaway that something was wrong. It was March 2015. I was working at a newspaper in the East Village. My bagel guy had gotten my regular order wrong for the first time in four years, and I remember thinking that it was a sign of End Times when something went BANG! and some cups fell off a shelf.

At first, no one reacted more than to glance out the window. It was that sort of place. There was always some lunatic shouting outside our front door or a street fair on fire. If you let yourself get caught up in other people’s problems, you’d never get anything done. This was New York, after all.

I checked the Internet to see what the noise was all about, and then there were six Asian men standing outside my window. They didn’t speak much English, but we decided they’d probably climbed out their fire escape and got trapped in our courtyard. We helped them crawl through the window.

Red liquid leaked in from the cracked skylight. One of us had to go up and check for bodies. We drew straws. Actually, we drew stir sticks. They came in every color and size, swiped from different cafes, ever since HR cut our coffee fund in 2013. I drew the short stir stick.

Our upstairs tenant let me onto her balcony. She said she wouldn’t go out herself because of terrorists. This was New York, after all. I looked down over the railing at our red-spattered skylight. There were no bodies, just paper containers and wooden sticks everywhere. I looked at the building across the courtyard. It blurred in a fog, but I couldn’t see the fire from the back.

“What’s that building?” I asked.

“Chinese food place,” our tenant said.

Sweet and sour sauce.

We were sent home because of the poisonous gases, and after a two-week swab by a hazmat cleaning crew, we never spoke of the explosion again. We should have seen the leaky gas lines underneath the Chinese food place as an early symptom of a decaying infrastructure, but that was the sort of place this was. Things broke all the time. It was the sort of place that needed a fuse flipped every time someone made a pot of coffee. It was the sort of place where rain trickled in through the light fixtures. It was the sort of place where all the doorknobs were loose, so we were forever stuck in and out of hallways and bathrooms. Because this had been the normal state of things for years, when the city started to fall apart, we were the last to notice.

Brick Wall Drawing #1 – Tony Law

November 21, 2015

Canadian comedian Tony Law

Materials: Staedtler pigment liner, black; Copic sketch markers, grays C-00 through C-10; Drewent Watercolour 12 watercolor colored pencils, black and yellow; Prismacolor Premier art marker, red; Pentel Arts Aquash Brush; Photoshop paintbrush, yellow and fleshtone.


Scene 1, New York, After All, draft 1

November 21, 2015

This is the first draft of the first scene of a brand new writing project (a book? a novella?) I’m working on titled New York, After All. 

Next, the plunger went missing. This was a problem because of the octopus lodged in the sink. I went to find Daniel in Production because I’d seen him carrying around the drippy plunger yesterday, but when I asked where he’d put it, he said he hadn’t put it anywhere.

“Then that’s the problem,” I said.

Pamela in Pre-press wanted to know why there was an octopus in the drain in the first place, and Daniel thought maybe the ocean had become so toxic that the sea creatures were moving inland. Brenda in Marketing said she’d thrown out the plunger this morning on account of us not having running water anyway. I said what if they turn the water back on, and she said, “Don’t be stupid.”

Daniel told her to go take her anti-depressants, and Todd the Publisher came over to ask why the hell we were all just standing around and didn’t we know if we didn’t go to press in half an hour, we’d miss The Truck and be forced to deliver the magazine to every shop in New York by hand? He threatened to assign us chatterboxes to deliver in Brooklyn. We got back to work. None of us wanted to go to Brooklyn.

Sept./Oct./Nov. 2015 Publicity

November 16, 2015

New York Times gift guide

Wall Street Journal, print and online, Nov. 18

USA Today, Sept. 16th

The Guardian, Oct. 28

L.A. Times, Nov. 1:


HGTV magazine, Dec. issue:


InStyle, Dec. issue:


Wired magazine, Sept. issue:

Wired close up

Wired online, September / November

Playbill, national issue, October:


Parents magazine, December issue

New York magazine, Nov. 25th (gift guide):

Nylon magazine, October issue:


The Huffington Post, Oct. 21

GoodReads, Sept. 1

Gizmodo, Oct. 7

Boing Boing, Sept. 1 / Sept. 26 / Nov. 3

Fast Co.Design, Oct. 15

Slate, Oct. 23

The Daily Beast, Oct. 11

Vice, Oct. 27

LitHub, Nov. 3

Omnivoracious, Nov. 4

The Wirecutter, November

Kirkus, Nov. 13
Booklist starred review, Nov. 1

Caricature: Kevin Eldon 2

November 3, 2015

I thought it would be interesting to try and do a complete profile, and I found this good photo by Andy Hollingworth. Profiles are surprisingly easy, at least this one, anyway. Here you are, a Kevin Eldon profile.


Caricature: Nick Frost

November 2, 2015

I’m trying to do more full body caricatures. I think this will help with it looking like a caricature, considering I’ve failed to exaggerate any facial feature on 90% of these caricatures. This one’s Nick Frost. I’m looking forward to reading his memoir, but I’ve got other books in my Audible queue to get to first.


Caricature: Jo Brand

November 1, 2015

Shout out to Andy Hollingworth, the photographer. I’ve recently discovered his portfolio online and find it a great source of inspiration for my caricature learnings, as he’s pretty much photographed everybody on my plan-to-draw list, and has done so in clever or beautiful ways. Anyway, this one is comedian Jo Brand, who is unceasingly funny.jobrand-watercolor2

Caricature: Alan Carr

October 31, 2015

This is sort of a hybrid drawing. I just got a box of Prismacolor markers with a blender to make the marker look all water-color-y. I haven’t gotten the skin-tone ones I ordered yet (Chameleon pens, change value as you color), so the skin and background are digitally colored. This one’s chat show host Alan Carr.alancarr-prisma2

Caricature: The League Against Tedium

October 30, 2015

I’m reading this amazing book called You Are Nothing by Robert Wringham, which is all about the alternative comedy troupe Cluub Zarathustra in the 1990s, hosted by Simon Munnery’s alter-ego The League Against Tedium. The “comedy” was not traditional standup, but instead Simon would slap the audience with a salmon or spit at them or make them sing an anthem about how they are mere worms. The other members would do things like melt a block of ice on stage, or use a tape measure to measure the dimensions of the room, or show a slideshow about the safest way to French kiss wild animals. Would you believe me if I told you pretty much every single current “star” of alternative comedy (of that generation) was part of the Cluub? Crazy stuff. Anyway, here’s the League with one of his sayings.theleague-prisma2


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