I am the blood of the dragon, not that I actually have dragon blood, cause that would be ridiculous, what I mean is my family is known for dragons, cause its my family’s sigil and we are known for riding them, plus the whole Valyria thing, which omg I just don’t want to get into, but its supposed to be edifying and intimidating I guess, cause I use it for everything I say, except when I’m not looking back cause I might get lost or something but that’s a completely different story, but anyway…
—  Daenerys Targaryen, A Dance with Dragons
Female 20, Edified but Still Learning

For the last few years my blog has been renamed.

Girl 18, Amazing but Hyper

Girl 19, Blithe but Vapid

And now…

Female 20, Edified and Still Learning

On my birthday (December 28th) I found out that God and my family actually calm me down and so edified actually sounded like the best word to use.  Though, one who does not continue to adapt and learn is doomed to fail so I’m still learning.  I’m still learning from my mistakes, from other mistakes and from just life in general.  Have a good year. <3

“I held the book close when I’d finished, actually embraced the thing. Had the inclination to rip out and ingest a page, for the same reason you might get a tattoo, so it’ll stay a part of you, edify you forever.”

–Elisa Albert, After Birth

Q Commons - Permission to Care

Last night, I was honored to be invited to give one of several short (9-minute) local talks at Q Providence. Q is an evening focused on discussing how to advance the good, true and beautiful in our city, through the lense of faith. 

In light of some of the major events in the news and in discussion, I am duly humbled and hope this will be taken in perspective- not to turn a blind eye and run into ignorance. Still, I believe small things do matter…especially in light of large tragedies. 

This is my transcribed talk- I hope you will find it edifying in some way. This one’s for you, tumblr:

“Fairy tales say that apples were golden only to refresh the forgotten moment when we found that they were green. They make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.” -GK Chesterton, Orthodoxy

I’ll get back to the quote.

My name is Nicholas Kole. I am a Christian. I am a geek. I draw dragons for a living.

I Graduated up on College Hill in 2009 from RISD with a degree Illustration. After which I worked with the GAMBIT game lab at MIT, then as a character designer for a company some of you may have heard of- the ill-fated 38 Studios. Since then I have worked with Disney, EA Games and now Hasbro on the Play-Doh team (which is apparently a job you can have, who knew?)

I’ve been an illustrator, storyteller and a concept-artist. Most of which means that when a project needs a wizard designed, I’m the one with the sketchpad and the textbook full of medieval robe reference on hand.

I design clothing, creatures, locations- afternoons and hot air balloons, diminutive heroes, terrifying villains and warm hugs. Together with my team, we make worlds.

And nothing hurts more than to hear someone say “just entertainment”.

Just cartoons, just kids movies, just children’s books, just anime, just manga, just comics, just superheroes, just…nothing.

From where I stand I see a far-reaching cynicism in our culture and in our stories. A cynicism that has given up on meaning, hope, and lost the belief that small things done with great love can truly make a difference.

Bu I am moved to tears by cartoons. 

I am inspired by the bravery of Peter Parker and the sacrifice of Harry Potter.

Animated musicals move and stir me. I weep with Simba over Mufasa’s death and I cheer with Wreck-It Ralph as he learns to accept himself. If you’ve every spoken with me, you know that I explain my feelings in terms of frightened Hobbits and big, scary adventures.

To that end, one of the most important things I was given by one of my professors at RISD- to boil down a number of excellent lessons into a single small thought- was this: “You are allowed to care”.

I needed to hear that, from an authority figure in that key time of my life. The things you love, that you can’t tear your attention away from? Those matter. Those aren’t “just” anything.

Things you might brush off as “just movies for kids”, “just cartoons”, “just TV shows” may be small in the grand scheme, but to those of us who love them they are nothing less than myths.

If you’ve ever been to comic-con, or heard of anyone who has been (you’ve heard of me. so. you have.) then you can know that those geeks- the ones that have spent so long being disparaged by the in-crowd? They love harder and deeper than anyone else. They just happen to love Darth Vader. In groups of nerd-fandom, there is a deep, uncynical impulse to love deeply, and we ought not to ignore that.

These works of “just fantasy” are obviously, evidently SO much more to people when seen in that context.

For all the weight and importance of high Russian literature- I’ve never known anyone who’s cosplayed as Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, but I have a few friends who’d gladly show you their lightsaber collection.

These things matter to people. They matter to me. And it makes me think that maybe we ought not to despair about our generation’s obsession with “just entertainment”- maybe we ought to dig in and care more.

Sift through the escapism and frivolity and you’ll find all these people seeking, finding, and trading meaning. People inspired, people communicating.

These are nothing less than the bedtime stories we are telling ourselves as a culture. These are the ways we make sense of the world around us- this is the language we’re using to talk to one another. Like it or not, these are a part of the cultural conversation.
And the solution cannot be to check out and stop caring- it has to be to tell better stories. Make better art. Care more.

Because if they’re important to me, chances are they’re important to other people. And when people are paying attention, when people are caring and investing, when they’re looking closely at what you make and you’re caring deeply about making it- you can give them something beautiful. You can make them wonder.

An aside about Waterfire:

My first night at RISD was a Waterfire night.

A lot has been said about Providence’s festival of light- it’s hypno-chants and gondolas- I’ve heard it described as tacky. “Just” a trashy, overhyped piece of local kitsch.

I think it is nothing less than magic- It transfigures the city.

For one night that week, one day out of seven, a cluster of ordinary city blocks and a rather grubby little river, are suddenly the scene of a mystery- a place for music, romance, the smell of hot food, dance, strange figures in masks floating, eerily underlit by flickering flame.

And when it is gone, it leaves it’s magic on the place- those blocks are different now- they are suspicious. As if any moment they could be something totally different again. The city is, as a result, full of story now- It makes you look harder. It makes you think differently about that stretch of downtown. It makes you wonder.

“Fairy tales make rivers run with wine only to make us remember, for one wild moment, that they run with water.”

A Dragon is “just a lizard with bat wings.”
But dragons are amazing because lizards are amazing and bats are amazing.

I remember a trip to Roger-Williams Zoo- after months of sitting at a computer, wracking my brain for newer cooler ways to draw dragons-  I stopped and took a zoo break.

I didn’t realize I was coming with new eyes. Suddenly, having gotten up from my drawing table, everything was amazing- the scales and colors of iguanas- the curvature and strangeness of a Giraffe’s neck- it all felt new again, like I was seeing it for the first time- and I was moved. It was electric. I went in with a head full of dragons and left shaken with profound wonder. God is better at my job than I am. 

The world around me was full of wonder the whole time, and I just had to be reminded to notice. What we have is so good, we ought to cherish it, revel in it, celebrate it and tell others.

I learned that from “just dragons” and and “just Waterfire.”

We have to care. And then we have to keep caring, for our own good and the good of those around us. If we don’t, we might forget to look deeply and to wonder.

I believe that, as a concept artist, an illustrator, a storyteller- any of the hats and positions I’ve assumed- that my job has really been to love first and love deepest.

I am convicted in any situation that I need to find a way to fall in love with the project and the work of design, no matter how small.
We are engaged in making things that we hope people will love- but how can we ask anyone else to love it if we don’t even love it ourselves?

And I don’t mean love like fleeting inspiration- Love isn’t easy or cute. Love is a choice, and a commitment. We ought to commit to the industries we’ve found ourselves in, and persist in designing well.

And here’s where my Christian faith has everything to do with my ethic about Dragons-

We need to sit and stay at the table- even when it is hard, and when it hurts us, because that is the way Jesus loved. When it is unsexy, unglamorous, uncool or unnoticed. Caring means you can be hurt- it means failure will be painful, but it means success will matter- and that is worth it.

That’s where the rubber meets the road, and I start to feel convicted- am I doing this myself? I’m trying to.
Even though I am tempted often to give in to cynicism, I need to remember and to remind those around me not to give up on doing what we do with care and in hope.

Nothing is “Just” anything- and we need concept artists and geeks who care- and bakers who care, and plumbers who care, and civil servants, and teachers, and doctors and electricians who don’t believe anything is “just” anything. That it can matter- and it will because we care about it. Because we’re invested and we aren’t going to give up on it.

And that care will make us wonder, and that wonder will wake us up to what my faith tells me was there all along.

Thank You.


When you hold me in your arms, I feel safe. When you listen to me, your responses are filled with nothing, but love & grace. Not too long ago I went through a dark phase & still this emotional healing process doesn’t edify some of my darkest days. You came into my life at the right time, when someone else was leaving mine. I hated thinking I was in love & when it failed I felt numb…just so dumb. Finally I understand what it is & what it feels like to be one with someone. You are love, & I love you Todd.

men will tell you exactly who they are any day of the week. they will openly tell you that they are violent, uncontrollable, quick to rage. they will brag about how many people they have beaten, how many animals they have killed, how many women they have assaulted or raped. if they’ve been soldiers they will gleefully tell you how many people they killed and all the details. if they haven‘t done these things, they will lie and say they have, because it’s important to them to gain the respect of other men and the fear of women.

in the same breath, they will say they are better than women.

it is nonsensical for a woman, any woman, to desire “equality,” to be “treated the same as men.”

it is eminently sensible for a woman to desire a safe space away from, protected from, these violent, unpredictable, and enraged people.

it is thoroughly edifying to watch a man respond to a woman‘s assertion that she desires a female-only safe space. he will tell her exactly who he is.

Future problem solvers: How Parks And Recreation beat the odds and went out on top

What makes this season of Parks And Recreation so special is that it’s finally, brilliantly, paying off relationships and characters that have been in flux for several years. This is particularly edifying for the female characters, all of whom have grown into places of varied contentment. April Ludgate (Aubrey Plaza), buoyed by her time working under Leslie, now has enough confidence and drive to accept that she isn’t satisfied by her work. Refusing to settle, she lets herself be vulnerable enough to depend on her friends for help. Donna Meagle (Retta), long a masterful player in the dating game, finally weds Joe, a man who treasures her as the magnificently powerful woman she is. In building out her future, Donna allows herself to feel nostalgia for the people who filled her life for so long. Leslie, focused as always, seems to have taken to being a working mother. The show’s wise choice to use a three-year time jump in the season-six finale has allowed her triplets to become an amusing running joke, as opposed to a bar by which she defines herself.

Parks And Recreation has returned to form by taking the characters we love and letting them go. It’s allowed them to realize their potential and become all of the things that Leslie always knew they could be. Because of this, Leslie is again the heroine we all yearned to have in our own life, a transformation aided by a return to what she was always best at: facilitating greatness in the people, the town, and the country she loved.

Full story at avclub.com

In further contrast from that HBO juggernaut, Outlander puts sexuality front and center, rather than utilizing a character’s attitude toward sex as shorthand characterization in regards to morality. Neither does it cheapen the value of sex in storytelling by using it as a constant backing track, as Game of Thrones has coyly done to entertain the male gaze during scenes of protracted exposition. Outlander approaches sex in a way that’s only shocking because it isn’t shocking at all. It’s non-violent, sensual, natural, and the woman is framed as more than an object for male pleasure. Female sexuality isn’t demonized, and engaging in sex doesn’t diminish Claire as a character. Outlander is the rare television drama that shows us a woman who is sexually experienced without being the villain of the piece, and a man who sees her desire and pleasure as a participatory experience, rather than an object to edify his own importance.

anyone who’s known nicole since her earliest demos should be completely unsurprised by the amazing way things are unfolding for her career. it can be pretty easily reduced to common sense. and yet she has maintained an almost offensive modesty - so much so that we all wanna shake her and tell her to flex a little about her skill. it’s this totally ceaseless ability to build a world that so many can find a place in. while she’s developed, cultivated, improved, it can all be traced back to a genuine talent that i saw when i was 17 or so. being a part of that with people I call my best friends is edifying and powerful

Lord, take me from what I know is comfortable, to what you know is good; take from me what you know is filth, and fill me with what you know is holy; teach me the right way, and show me the truth, so that I may be a willing and humble servant. Use me, shape me, edify me, and do as You will, for I am broken and bent, but you are straight and whole. You are perfect, and you see me as I was always meant to be; so remind me again and again, that Your love is steadfast, and that when I do not feel it, it still remains.

Hear this prayer, and may it be a sweet sound to Your ears, just as You are a sweet name to our lips. I long for the day that I see Your face, and I know that You have longed to hold me in Your arms and wipe away my tears; may that day come soon, and may Your glory never be forgotten.

—  T.B. LaBerge // Thy Will Be Done
Cool blogs to follow?

Hey guys! I love following so many of you! But I just wanted to address a couple things, I unfortunately have had to unfollow quite a few of you lately just because of the content of the blog. I just want you guys to know in no way do I suggest you changing your blogs, but this blog is run by myself and my husband and so I try to keep this a pretty edifying dash. I don’t need naked girls popping up every few scrolls, ya know what I mean?!;] So if we have un-followed you, I just don’t anyone to take it personally. I love all of you so very much! Anyways, with that being said I would love to follow more of you! Comment below and I will check out your blog! 

Love you guys, hope you have a wonderful Thursday! 

Infatuation- if your heart is screaming your name and clawing its way out of your ribcage and burning with such fire that your lungs turn to ash as you spew out the dust of all that is left of you, then there is a reason for it. The heart acts as the single flare left on the broken bow of every sinking ship. It will not rescue you from the depths of the ice cold water destined to chill your soul into an endless sleep. It will not piece your hull back together or break it’s back emptying you of the water that once teased you with an end. The heart, just like the flare, can only do one thing - edify.  

We have widely blamed the heart for being weak in love and praised the mind for remaining crisp. Yet, the heart sits still- patiently waiting to liberate you once more. While the psyche, keeps allowing you to think that she loves you. Your mind can succumb to yearning, but your heart will always stand prudent.