Multimedia Dept. of CEF
My favorite illustrator is NC Wyeth. I love how he made use of clouds to lead the eye around the image and draw attention to certain subjects. In this picture of Noah releasing the raven, I wanted the children to spot tiny Noah but also make sure they didn’t miss the Raven. While the front of the boat is almost like a giant pointing finger, it also blocks the line of motion between Noah and the Raven. The large bright cloud helps to draw attention to Noah but then lead the eye in the direction of the raven isolated against the blue sky.
While cloudless skies definitely have their place and purpose, carefully placed clouds can play an important role, not just to lead the eye but to add a dramatic touch or a splash of color for the children.
tools: Adobe Photoshop CS6, Wacom Cintiq 18sx
Started illustrations for the Noah’s ark scenes in the early reader booklet. I don’t normally get to paint a stormy sea so this was a big challenge to simplify a chaotic scene, involving several re-re-does. There’s a reason art teachers drill in the importance of nailing down the values first, before adding color. The b/w draft stage is where most of the problems are solved.
Normally, for an image like this where there is limited light, the entire scene would lean toward monochromatic with grey-blues/greens, including the boat. I added more color because this will be for young children and it helps to have the boat stand out. The final printed image in the book will only take up the top 1/4 of a page.
tools: Adobe Photoshop CS6, Wacom Cintiq 18sx
I remember in art class at university, a professor was giving a critique of a freshman’s drawing and the student responded, “…but that’s not my style.” We all gave a silent gasp as the professor calmly but firmly replied, “You don’t have a style.” “That’s not my style” is sometimes used as an excuse by an artist to avoid stretching and learning outside of their comfort zone. Our unique style isn’t necessarily something we go looking for. It tends to naturally find us over time. I’ve noticed that my style of illustration has slowly evolved over the past 30 yrs in CEF, being primarily shaped and influenced by the projects I’m given.
Time constraints can have a big influence on style choices. I need to work quickly with limited time to refine illustrations as much as I’d like. If there are 35+ illustrations to complete, I need to adapt my technique, tools and methods. This involves some compromises. For example, in the pre-digital years I loved working with oils on canvas but gouache was more practically suited to my work. This switch greatly influenced my style.
A good illustrator is not simply someone who draws well – it’s someone who can draw well and do it quickly!
The purpose of the illustration will also influence our style choices and how to approach a project. The majority of my projects are large flashcard books that will be shown by a teacher to groups of children and viewed from a distance. Each picture will be shown for 1-3 minutes so the children need to process the visual information quickly. The target audience is usually 6-12 yr olds coming from a wide range of cultures around the world. CEF believes it’s important that the illustration style conveys to the children that these Bible characters were real people who lived in real time and place. The pictures should help hold the child’s attention and bring the story to life.
With this 32-page early reader book, I’m faced with some new challenges. I need to adapt the illustrations for a younger audience. The pictures will be viewed at arms length (or closer) at his own pace, exploring the image, and hopefully want to read/view again and again. There needs to be enough detail to hold the child’s attention.
The basic story line is about two children who visit a farm with animals when it begins to rain and they go inside for a snack. The farmer opens his Bible and shares the story of Noah, weaving in a clear presentation of the Gospel.
There will be large illustrations on each page along with small pictures/symbols corresponding with words throughout the simple, large print text. For the large illustrations, I hope to create more stylized characters with simplified shapes while still conveying a realness to the scene. “Simplified” may sound easier but it can actually be more difficult to execute … successfully. This will be one of my most challenging and daunting projects in years as I’ll be working in a different style than I’m used to.
The booklet has a farm character that appears in the side margin separate from the story, to share helpful ideas for parents on how to reinforce the teaching with their child. I’ve never animated a talking tractor before so this is definitely adapting to a style outside my comfort zone!
We’re in the final stages of redesigning the evangelistic booklet, Do You Wonder Why – Answers to Tough Questions. This 16-page booklet is distributed immediately following a natural disaster or tragic event. With the booklet now being used globally, the illustrations and design will need revised to suit a wider range of cultures and regions of the world. The dimensions will need adjusted for printing outside the US and the graphics need to allow room for translations that require more lines than English. Pray that we can create a layout and visuals that will reflect what the children are going through, illustrated in a way that addresses wide cultural differences and can be applied to any tragedy. Millions of copies have already been distributed over the past 10 years and we hope with the redesign more countries can make use of this evangelistic tool, printing them in advance, ready to distribute before a tragedy or natural disaster strikes. We have partnered with a Christian printing ministry in Europe willing to print large quantities for free.
The inset *animation shows some of the steps I go through for an illustration. *If the photo at left is not changing, click on image to start the animation.
CEF Europe is producing small cards that can be used to print prayer requests on the reverse side and encourage children with their daily prayer time. There are 16 categories that will be reduced to fit eight per A4 page. The CEF national offices will be able to run the A4 pages through a copier or office printer to add prayer reminders on the reverse side. This way the text can be customized to their need, in their language and updated easily without the need to print large quantities. The cards will be cut out and given to the children through the Good News Clubs®, etc.. The three cards to the left cover the categories: • food (top) • missionary work – evangelistic (middle) • home and shelter (bottom)
Tech notes: I photographed the children and masked out the background in Photoshop. The vector line drawings were done in Adobe Illustrator.
Brent Hautle (graphic artist) has been busy working on a new CEF item – Good News Club® resource packs to go along with the entire 5-year GNC® teaching cycle. This is a big project that involves creating work sheets for children, memory verse visuals, review games, visual aids and other teaching helps to go along with the lesson series being taught.
Sometimes I’m called on to help with an illustration. This is an illustration of Herod’s Temple at the time of Christ and will be used with the CEF series, Life of Christ I.
Copyright ©2010, CEF Europe. Do not use pictures without permission. Thank you.
One of the new literature items we introduced at the CEF European Regional Conference in May was a single lesson, The Promised Saviour. The lesson had been available before as an overhead projector lesson with black & white line drawings.
This lesson is ideal for a Christmas program such as the one-day Christmas clubs held around Europe. These seasonal children’s meetings have been well attended and often result in long term Good News Clubs® being started in unreached areas.
The artwork was redone and instead of separate images, we combined the entire lesson into one A3 sheet (approx. 16.5″x 11.5″). The left and right column have a fold where, in the lesson intro, the visual opens like a double door revealing the entire page. There is a larger picture on the backside as part of the lesson intro which includes the wrapped present and ribbon you see on the lesson text cover at left. The small picture squares are covered ahead of time with pieces of paper and revealed individually as the story is told.
The center panoramic manger scene was designed to be revealed in thirds, showing the family on the left, Bethlehem in the center and the right third panel is revealed when describing the manger and animals. The images needed to be simple because of the size. This style was a challenge for me in addition to working out the mechanics for a single sheet visual.
Artwork was created in Adobe Photoshop and individual squares were placed in Adobe InDesign.
- Does God know and care about me?
- Why do so many bad things happen in the world?
- Why did God allow this to happen?
- How can I get through this terrible time?
40,000 booklets are being printed now in Poland. 60 churches are taking part in distributing the booklets. On Saturday, about one million people are expected in Warszawa for a memorial service. There is also plans to distribute booklets on Sunday in Kraków as several hundred thousand are expected to gather for the funeral of the President & First Lady. On Saturday there is a pastor’s conference and the booklets will be offered to the pastors for their congregations to distribute across Poland.
In Warsaw on Saturday several thousand booklets were distributed in a couple hours. Several thousand more were distribute on Sunday in Kraków. Children, adults, and elderly people eagerly received a copy. The distribution continues with a second printing planned. Pray for the follow-up.
Sometimes I’m asked to add colour to existing B/W line artwork as will be the case with this lesson on the Parables. This artwork was drawn by a woman in Italy and made available to CEF. I scanned in the line drawings, separated the black lines from the white background and used Adobe Photoshop to add colour, surface texture, etc.. Depending on the complexity of the image and other requests that come past my desk, I can complete 1 to 4 pictures per day.