Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas

By P1&2 Sunday School
Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters ... Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death ... For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.
Hebrews 2v11, 14, 15, 17

Wednesday, 16 December 2015


God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in his grace until his task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns.
Philippians 1:6 (Living Bible)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

I wonder why

It's so much easier to worry about things than to pray about them.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

PowerPoint Bundles

On my Lamp Bible Pictures site, there's now a new section of PowerPoint bundles.

Currently there is Joseph (which was available before), Jesus' miracles, and a selection from The Sermon on the Mount.

Handy and cheaper if you're likely to need them all.

Expect more!

Crime scene

Old murder mysteries are very odd.

Someone is shot or poisoned or stabbed in a house. Instead of declaring it a crime scene, the police go off home to bed, leaving the inhabitants, guests and servants to eat, sleep and live in the house. Which gives them every opportunity to destroy vital evidence, whether by accident or - as is surely likely if the murderer is one of those living in the house - on purpose.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Just a thought - wouldn't it be more logical if advent calendars started nine months in advance?

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Garbage in, garbage out

On two occasions I have been asked, "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Google helps you clear out

These are all books I was able to clear out because of Google. Before, I would always pick up cheap books with pictures of children or animals, in case I needed to draw them.

Now there's no point in having books about these things - you just Google it.

Odd one out game

This game was to go with a lesson on Daniel - about how sometimes if we love & obey God we'll be the odd one out.

The children took turns to pick out the odd one out from each set of things. Some were easy. Some were a bit tricky. (The one where they had to choose between 3 English Narnia books and one French Narnia book was well-nigh impossible!)

Wooden spoon Bible people

These were the Pharisee and the Tax collector, but could be anyone.
A nice easy craft for the teacher - very little to prepare!

You will need:
  • Wooden spoons. The small disposable ones used for parties etc. (Or plastic spoons, but you'd need permanent markers to draw on them.)
  • Pipe cleaners.
  • Felt cut into rectangles with a small slit in the middle. (I say felt - I actually used this kind of cleaning cloths!)
    Non-woven absorbent cleaning cloths make excellent cheap thin 'felt' for kids' crafts!:  
  • Felt tip pens.
  • Loom bands, small rubber bands, or wool.
What to do:
  1. First, poke the handle of the spoon through the hole in the felt.
  2. Below this, wrap the pipe cleaner round the handle to make arms. 
  3. Fold the felt down front and back, and use a loom band or wool as a belt.
  4. Draw a face.

Easy shield kids' craft

Looking through my photos. Expect more random old crafts...

These were for Sunday school, but could be used for knights or history without the Christian stickers.

Sorry for odd colour - very difficult to take a photo of shiny silver on a dark background in poor light!

You will need:
  • Cardboard - e.g. cereal packets.
  • Foil tape - not duct tape, but the kind you use for joining insulation. It's like thick foil, adhesive on one side.
  • Pencils or scratch-art tools*.
  • (Optional) Stickers to decorate. I only allowed one per child, as some of them go crazy with stickers, and I wanted them to enjoy the foil art! You could also use stick-on jewels.
Preparation beforehand: 
Or older children could do this themselves.
  1. Cover the cardboard in strips of tape. Overlap slightly.
  2. Cut out shield shapes. These were about 10cm/4" long I think.
With the kids:
  1. Stick a sticker in the centre if using.
  2. Draw designs, pressing firmly.

*The pointed plastic sticks that come with these kits - since every kit has one, you soon accumulate a few millions :-)

Mission Focus poster

Did this a few weeks ago, but I was wanting to pin it on Pinterest, so I've put it here to link to it. 


We did this on our Mission Focus Sunday at church with the two youngest classes (3-5 year olds) We sellotaped it inside the glass front door for the following week, so all the people who come to the building could see it, and then took it to its permanent home upstairs.

A roll of black milskin frieze paper. The paper was cut to fit exactly between two doors on the landing, so both classes could see their poster when it was finished.

The words are printed in 220 point Janda Manatee Bubble - a very useful font, as it is drawn as outlines. And the reference is in Janda Manatee Solid. Ideally, if we'd had time, the children would have coloured these.

The children were split into three groups of 3 or 4 kids, and each did one shape. Took about 10 minutes.

Cut from A3 pale pink card (paper would do) as big as I could make it. 
Red and pink scrap paper (I keep offcuts from crafts), tissue paper, wrapping paper, self-adhesive foam hearts and 'God' stickers. They didn't quite get the 'tear the paper into small pieces' idea!

I printed an outline globe on pale blue card to give a bit of guidance for the children, although you could just use a circle. And I printed a coloured globe for reference, so they'd know what was land and sea. I gave this to the oldest kids to do.
Offcuts of scrapbook paper and some sparkly stuff I found in the cupboard, cut into little squares; blue, green, yellow and white scrap paper; tissue paper.

Cut from A3 pale yellow card.
Yellow and orange scrap paper, gold wrapping paper, gold foil stuff, 'Jesus' stickers and sticky stars.

Friday, 13 November 2015


The set of pictures I'm working on just now consist of: rocks, sand, dried grass, dead bushes, bread, sticks, stone walls, and mud plaster; and characters with olive skin, brown hair or black hair, wearing dull black clothes, haircloth and leather.

Just as well there's some sea, sky, and a beautiful Phoenician glass jug* to break the monotony a little.

*slightly incongruous in the poverty-stricken setting, but I want to draw it so I've decided it's a family heirloom they couldn't sell :-)

Tuesday, 10 November 2015


"Grace doesn't have to, but it does."
Quote from the video we're using in my Bible study group

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Books set on a rock

Just finished the Lord of the Rings (umpteenth re-reading), and I was thinking; there's something about fantasy written by Christians that you don't get in other books.

Concurrently, I've been reading other books, as is my wont; a bunch of Dick Francis and other things, but also some fantasy such as George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin*, and Philip Reeves' Scrivener's Moon.

The latter is set in a fascinating and very well realised world, with a lot of interesting ideas. But although there are a lot of good SF & fantasy books, what Tolkien and MacDonald have is something solid underneath. Neither book is explicitly Christian - nor would I agree with all of the writers' theology. But (and I'm probably misquoting C.S. Lewis here) the message of a story comes from the whole cast of the author's mind - they don't have a 'moral' but truth and wisdom permeates them. And you discover more each time you read them.

Of course, that's not to say that non- Christian authors can't write truth or wisdom, and many of my favourite books are written by non-christians, but at the end of the day, anything without an eternal perspective falls short. Nor is it, alas, to deny that there's a lot of shallow drivel written by Christians!

*Which is not a patch on its  sequel, The Princess and Curdie.

Friday, 6 November 2015


Third post of the day!

I have also just opened an Etsy shop called Kirsty's Stuff. I thought that was nice and vague, as I can then sell anything I like.

At present, what I'm selling is cutouts like these for cardmaking / kids' crafts:

Getting things finished

I've listened to a couple of podcasts recently which encouraged you to start a project and finish it.

This is not something I'm very good at. I'm full of ideas, and I've got loads of just started, or partly finished, or nearly there projects.

But this week I finally got finished a game I've been working on. Getting something finished really helps psychologically. It's not hanging over you, and you can now get on with the next thing.

God is everywhere game

I made it originally for my Sunday School class, to go with the Joseph in Egypt/prison story - but put a lot more work into it than I would usually put into a SS activity, because I thought it was the sort of thing others might like to buy. Certainly my wee ones enjoyed it - we'll be playing it again.

I've put it up for sale as a download on Teachers Pay Teachers. As it's an American site I did both a UK and a US version. That was interesting - different paper size, different instructions ('cardstock' instead of 'card'), different words ('back yard' instead of 'garden') and a few different pictures (no school uniform, red barn instead of highland cottage).


The blurb:

Where is God? Is he in church? In your bedroom? Under the sea? At school? In space?

This game shows that God is everywhere!

Players move about a grid, turning over cards. The player who turns over the "God is everywhere!" card is the winner.

For two or more players.
Age 4-11 – can be played with different levels of complexity.
Takes about 5 minutes, but can be played over and over. Can be used as a time filler or for a main activity.

Included are:
  • 42 full colour location cards
  • A numbered spinner (or use a dice)
  • 24 playing pieces (or use toy figures or plastic/wood pieces)
  • 2 optional compass spinners for older children
  • Full instructions

5 years ago...

5 years ago today, a friend emailed me asking if I knew of anywhere she could find clipart of Bible stories. She was trying to make PowerPoints for school assemblies, and was searching for suitable illustrations with little success.

I gave a couple of suggestions, but they weren’t what she was looking for.
It seemed like there was a gap in the market, and I said that maybe one day I’d do something about it… Later in the month, I realised that, if there really was a gap in the market, I could do something about it. If I drew the pictures she was needing, I could also sell them to other people. I suggested a simple style, as that would be quick, and she was thrilled.

So she gave me her rota, and I got to work. The first ever lesson, for the start of the new term in January, was The Boy Jesus. I was enjoying the freedom of illustrating for PowerPoint (where you have unlimited pages, unlike print) so much that I drew 14 illustrations! I have to say I didn’t keep that up :-)

It wasn’t until mid 2013 that I felt I had enough illustrations to start a website, and I made my first sale in November of that year.

But 6th Nov 2010 is when the Lamp Bible Pictures story really started.

So, to celebrate, I’m offering my very first PowerPoint presentation, The Boy Jesus at half price until the end of December this year.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Colours II

I've managed to make an animated gif to go with my post about colours:

(It seems to have tweaked all the colours slightly, but it's fairly close)

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Elijah's cloak

I've been tying myself in knots with historical research again (surprise surprise).

But I was rather amused when, on doing a Google image search for 'Elijah Cloak', it came up with this picture:

I was thinking of the biblical character, but Elijah Wood in a cloak from Lórien - fair enough :-)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Colour matters

I was telling this story on Sunday,  and I was using the Go Teach visual aids, which I drew.

It was quite a tricky picture to make clear. The point of the story is that it's such a dense crowd that no-one notices the lady creeping up to touch Jesus' cloak. But, of course, while the picture has to look confusing and busy, the children in the class do have to see what's going on.

One of the ways I did this was to use colour. Colour is not just decoration. It can be used for clarity and emphasis, and for atmosphere. In this case, clarity was the main issue.

Here's what I did to make Jesus and the woman stand out:

  • Jesus and the women are dressed in strong colours: the other characters are in paler, muted colours.
  • Jesus and the woman are in reddish shades: most - though not all - of the others are in blue/green shades which stand out less.*
  • Jesus and the woman are the only ones with jet black hair: everyone else's is paler. Light hair is possible in the middle east - in real life it would not be this common, especially among adults, however that's what you call artist's license.
  • Each individual person does not have much contrast in their clothes - the patterns on the clothes are a similar colour to the clothes themselves (more artist's license - in real life the stripes were quite strong). Also, the woman's shawl and dress are of a similar colour to each other, as are Jesus' cloak and tunic. This holds each person together as one object instead of breaking them up. That's the opposite of the principles behind camouflage, which is designed to break up the person's shape to make them stand out less.
  • I've also used aerial perspective - making things in the distance (and their outlines) paler, so they recede.

Just for fun, I made another version of this picture, using colours to make the picture harder to understand. Here it is:

  • Everyone is dressed in strong colours.
  • Jesus and the woman are in blue/green shades which stand out less: random unimportant people are in bright reds or yellows
  • Jesus' hair is brown, like most of the others, and the woman's hair is pale grey: but several unimportant characters have jet black hair.
  • Individual people have quite a lot of contrast in their clothes. The woman does not, but she is coloured so that her sleeve is a similar colour to the girl behind her, and her hand is a similar colour to the man behind it. This means that they blend into the background.
  • I've used no aerial perspective, so the background is more prominent.

And here's a comparison - it flicks from one to the other:

Half shut your eyes - in which picture can you see at a glance who the main characters are and what's going on?

Of course, all of this is subconscious as far as the viewer is concerned. You don't analyse the colours - you just look at the picture. But it's important, because it makes such a difference to your understanding.

Actually, this post happens to fit really well with the quote I posted on Saturday. That was by a colourist - someone who makes his living by colouring other people's pictures (much more complicated colouring than I do!).

*Unless you have red/green colourblindness - sorry :-)


Just downloaded the Skelly App.
Looks like it should be useful.
One issue with it is that you can't save your pose to come back to which is annoying (although you can take a screenshot.)
I can see myself using this for tricky poses.

Edit: Can now save poses - will use much more now :-)

Saturday, 24 October 2015


“If I can look at the page from across the room and I know what’s happening, it’s a good page.  The story has to be clear. All the characters have to be separated. I shouldn’t have to ask ‘What’s this?’ If I don’t know what’s going on it’s not a good page.”

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Black or white?

Wouldn't it be nice if you could research ancient people without getting tangled up with white supremacists (who insist that all the great ancient civilisations were white) and black supremacists (who insist that all the great ancient peoples were black), and someone who appeared to be asserting that every single ancient civilisation (except the black africans) had the identical mid brown skin colour to her son.

They sling insults and racial epithets at each other, assume bad faith of everyone of 'the other race', selectively choose only the pictures that might seem to support their assertions, and are completely incapable of analysing ancient pictures rationally.

It's so silly. Your value as a human being does not rely on people of your skin colour ruling the world in ancient history.

Plaster cast of a relief from the temple of Beit el-Wali, 1279-1213BC. In the British Museum.

I've seen this picture used as 'evidence' that Egyptians were 'black'. I don't doubt that some of them were, but in the context of the whole painting these ladies are clearly from further south in Africa.

I wouldn't be surprised if someone some time tries to claim that the right-hand lady proves the Egyptians were blond aryans with a bit of a suntan - stranger claims are made :-)

What it does show is that the Egyptians were well aware that - shock horror - there can be a number of different skin colours in a single civilisation.

That's how I approach my illustrations. I use a large mix of skin colours - in which I am more fortunate than the egyptian artists who had a very limited pallette. Most people are brownish/olive. Egyptians tend to be darker than Israelites, but there's no hard dividing line, and a fair bit of overlap - both Moses and the apostle Paul were mistaken for Egyptians. Outdoor people are darker than people with indoor, sedentary jobs - meaning poor people are darker than rich people who can keep out of the sun. Women on average are paler than men - which was exagerated greatly in ancient pictures, adding to the confusion.

We know there was migration, slavery and intermarriage, meaning you can add a bit of a mix. Moses married a Cushite (african) wife. David happened to have a Cushite in his army. Ebed-Melech the Cushite happened to work in the Israelite palace, and rescued Jeremiah. By the time you get to the New Testament, you can add in the results of Roman slavery, making black africans, blonde scandinavians and ginger celts all reasonable gentile minorities. Herod had a Gaulish bodyguard. Haven't drawn any of these yet.

I do tend to lean towards the darker colours for my Bible people - when you look at real people, you can easily get a white person who is much darker than a middle eastern person. But in a simple style of drawing, you don't have the subtleties, so I use skin colour. Strikes a balance with all the illustrations out there that seem to think Bible people were just europeans/white americans in funny clothes.

Oops - I'm supposed to be researching the widow of Zarephath (Phoenician) - I didn't mean to get waylaid!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015


I teach P1 & 2 (4½ - 6½) in Sunday School. The kids are mostly fairly good, but they're kids. Sometimes - like this Sunday - they can be a wee bit hyper.

So you say to them, "Wheesht," and you say to them, "Calm down, please."

And sometimes they do (sort of). And sometimes they don't.

Jesus was in a boat in a storm. The wind was howling, and the waves were tossing. The disciples were terrified.

So he said to the wind, "Wheesht," and he said to the waves, "Calm down please."*

And there was silence and a flat calm.

"Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!"

P1&2 having fun.
Foil pie dishes, fun foam squares, scratch art tools for masts, stuck together with blu-tack (note: use plenty of blu-tack or the masts will come off when manhandled by small children!)

*Well, obviously he said it in Aramaic which has been translated into Greek and then into English as "‘Quiet! Be still!" But I guess my translation's as good :-)

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

EU VAT >:-(

Just think, I could be drawing pictures, or designing something, or otherwise being productive.

Instead I'm trying in vain to figure out why my EU sales VAT is not being recorded. I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm sure it was working before. I don't understand any of the instructions I read.

I know the point is to catch big multinational companies. But it's making it really awkward for small businesses (I mean one-person part time businesses). I know some people are just stopping selling to the EU altogether, to save the hassle. But a) I definitely don't want to do that and b) soon it will be most countries - that would be over half of my sales!

moan moan moan

Design 100 Somethings

This sounds like a really good idea. Those chessmen are really cute!

I could do something that would be useful to me like 'First century Judaean men" - something I have to draw a lot, but it's hard to get variety. And then I could go on to "First century women" and then pick another time period...

I'm not good at doing these 'practicing scales' kind of exercises, which is why I then struggle so much with my actual illustrations. I need need need to practise life drawing as well. 20 mins a day - sounds good in theory...

Sunday, 11 October 2015

One day...

In heaven, what we want to do and what we ought to do will be the same thing.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Thursday, 24 September 2015

He knows us

A thought I had:
In Narnia, people often address humans as 'Son of Adam' or 'Daughter of Eve'.
In The Silver Chair, this confuses Jill, as she comes from a non-religious background and hasn't heard of Adam and Eve.
However, while Aslan himself often uses 'Son of Adam' or 'Daughter of Eve', he never addresses Jill this way. He knows her, and where she's coming from, and always calls her simply 'Human Child'.
I like that.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Children's books

"this is a children’s book only in the sense that the first of many readings can be undertaken in the nursery"

Monday, 21 September 2015

Think before you drink

A poster I made for a friend. Those are real bottles/cans, and it's real sugar.
Quite scary, some of the amounts!

From Hillpark Secondary's Twitter - click picture for full tweet.

The sugar is in little boxes I bought from the British Shell Collectors Club, so they'll hopefully last longer than the examples I've seen with the sugar in bags.

It was meant to have blue lettering, but I discovered at the last minute I had no blue card. So I tried green, and I think it actually looks nicer, so that was good. I cheated and cut the letters on my Silhouette machine - that's not why I got it, but might as well use it. It's certainly paid for its (second hand) price!

The bottles/cans are attached with a strip of clear acetate wrapped round them, which goes through a slit in the cardboard. And a glue dot stops them wobbling.

Joseph's cup

Teacher: Why do you think Joseph's brothers were upset when the silver cup was found in Benjamin's sack?
5-year-old: Because they didn't have silver cups in their sacks.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Final artwork

Thought you might like to see the final artwork.
(Apologies for paranoid copyrighting, but when it's for someone else I feel I really really need to be careful)

I'm pleased with the mum's 'sari' here, though I spent way way way too long researching sari drapery (with little result) and those shawl things people carry their babies in. I don't even know if they did in those days, but the drapery looked suitable. 

Now that's where flowing clothes are useful - the mum's skirt hides the dad's legs!

That low view was HARD. But I felt it was needed to a) give an intimidating feel, and b) have a view which made the small children take up enough of the picture space.

I'm pleased with Jesus' cloak here. And the cute baby (got him from a photo).

Change of story here! I'm particularly pleased with the young guy on the right. I got the pose from a photo, but I draped the tunic out of my head.

I really need to practise drawing people, though. Then I wouldn't find this kind of more realistic drawing so difficult.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Bible clothes

Life would be soooooo much easier for poor biblical illustrators if historical people wore jeans and long-sleeved t-shirts (they follow the shapes of arms and legs, but are loose enough to conceal the muscles, and can even be simplified to tubes, if that fits your style), preferably with trainers (which cover the feet with a chunky and simple shape).

Instead we're stuck with this sort of stuff:

Click pictures to enlarge.
Both from synagogue at Dura  Europos (slightly later than NT times - the long sleeves were not in fashion in the 1st century - instead they wore a baggy poncho-like tunic belted at the waist, making it even more difficult)

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Taking sides

"A principle of moral psychology is that “morality binds and blinds.” Part of what we do when we make moral judgments is express allegiance to a team. But that can interfere with our ability to think critically. Acknowledging that the other side’s viewpoint has any merit is risky—your teammates may see you as a traitor."
This can be a problem in theology. Ideas are seen as bad, not because people have actually thought through them, but because that's what the other side thinks. Or right because that's what you side thinks. I've seen views condemned because Catholics hold them, or defended because that's the reformed view.

Particularly ridiculous when we're all Christians, so there is no 'other side' - just a variety of views (some better than others) on the same side. Calvinists and Arminians, I'm looking at you :-)

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Pink is annoying

At least, when you're dealing with children it is.

Poundland has nice fluorescent folders which I have bought for my Sunday School class (P1&2 - aged 4½ to 6½). I'm hoping this will mean they won't lose them...

It is very likely that all the girls will want pink - so I have bought enough pink ones for every single girl to have one if she wants.

Of course, some of the girls may not want pink. That's fine - they can choose from the other colours.

But if some of the girls choose colours other than pink, some boys may end up with pink - unthinkable! Pink is anathema to most boys: it's a 'girl's colour'.

So I have also had to make sure that there are enough folders for every single child - both boys and girls - to have a non-pink one.

My usual way to avoid all this drama - e.g. when providing card for crafts - is to not provide pink (and sometimes purple) at all. If there is no pink the girls will happily chose all kinds of colours - it's only when pink is available that their 'you-are-a-girl-therefore-you-must-have-pink' indoctrination kicks in.

Once you know the kids well, of course, you will know if there are girls who prefer other colours. And one boy I had would choose pink if there was no red, as it was the closest colour to red (he's grown out of such heretical thoughts now of course).

But before you know the children, it's as well to be aware that offering pink may cause a problem. Pink is annoying.

Update: All the girls chose pink.  And one of the boys asked, "Why do girls like pink so much?"

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

£ € $

I don't want to belong to the Euro.

BUT, in the interests of making my accounting considerably easier, I wouldn't mind belonging to a single world currency :-)

Monday, 1 June 2015

Overheard on the train

Found these conversations in the back of a notebook. As verbatim as they could be without me whipping out a tape recorder.

A mum and two wee girls. The mum is putting on her makeup.
Daughter: Why doesn't it show up much?
Mum: Because I don't want to look like a clown. It just wants to be subtle-
Daughter: Your nose is red.
Mum: That's because I've been sneezing so much.
Daughter: Well stop sneezing, then.

Grandpa & grandchildren getting on the train.
Grandpa: You need to learn to be careful on the trains.
Child 1: And on the buses. And in cars.
Child 2: And in flying saucers?

Teenager and two younger cousins discussing their uncle's girlfriend.
Child: Maybe they'll get married and have a baby. Then it would be our cousin.
Teenager: I think they're a bit old for that - they're in their 50s.
Child: Can't you get married at that age?

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Professional or amateur?

Are there any errors that would give someone away as not being a professional layout artist?
An amateur is likely to use more fonts or more decorative fonts or apply embellishments like shadows and outlines. An amateur is likelier to put borders around things. An amateur is likelier to even out the “gray,” making the page elements similar in size and spacing. From a pro you’re likelier to see very bold moves and high contrasts of color, size and position.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Being useful v making money

Actually, I think I would tell an abstract artist that she doesn't need a logo.
If she wants something visual to put on business cards, put one of her images on one side (full size), and perhaps use her signature that she signs paintings with as a wordmark.
And someone replied:
If the customer wants a logo, I'm not going to suddenly diminish the job's potential profitability by saying something this stupid. I can't charge the same amount for using her image/signature as I can for a logo (which is the core of my business).
And freelancers like you probably wonder why they can't make a living at design... LOL
Unfortunately comments are now closed, which is so frustrating when you want to reply. But here's my thoughts:

Of course, to a certain extent you give a client what they want. And of course you want to make money. But to the extent of taking large amounts of their hard-earned cash for something they don't need at all, that will do them no good - perhaps even harm? Sure, people want snake oil. Should we view this as a great business opportunity?

Call me an idealist. But if the only way you can make a living from design is to throw integrity out the window, chuck it (design, not integrity) and go and do something useful.

Note: If she really insisted she wanted a logo I might do my best for her - knowing she'd go elsewhere anyway if I didn't. But my first job would be to try to convince her she didn't.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


I couldn't find the original files for the illustrations for one of my PowerPoints.
The PowerPoint? The Lost Sheep :-)

Thanks to Microsoft's search dog*, I have now found it. Good dog.

*Yes, I am still using XP, and the dog is one of the many reasons I will be using it as long as I possibly can.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Amazing indeed

"You see the depths of my heart 
and You love me the same.
You are amazing, God"

Chris Tomlin

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Greatest Day in History

The greatest day in history,
Death is beaten, You have rescued me
Sing it out, Jesus is alive
The empty cross, the empty grave
Life eternal, You have won the day
Shout it out, Jesus is alive
He's alive!

Oh happy day, happy day
You washed my sin away
Oh happy day, happy day
I'll never be the same
Forever I am changed

Tim Hughes

Friday, 3 April 2015

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Definition of insanity

Often attributed to Einstein (but not really by him)
By this definition, I am quite clearly insane...

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Accurate licensing

Accurate licensing is mutually beneficial for the client and the illustrator as it defines a fee for actual usage rather than possible usage.
From the Association of Illustrators newsletter.
Of course, what the client often wants is to pay a small fee and have unlimited usage... :-)

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Research for illustrations

Daniel Lieske: I'm really astonished how much stuff hides in your head that just comes out when you give it a canvas to break into....

Jake Parker: ...I think the key to that there is the first part of your answer when you said you enjoy geography & botany and those types of things. You have to fill your head with that stuff.

You have to make deposits in order to make withdrawals, right? 

I get students talking to me and they're like, "How do you know how to draw machines so well? I don't know how to do machines." 

And I'm like, "I've looked at a ton of machines. I have a huge machine folder on my harddrive, right, and it's become second nature to me, now, because all that's in my head. 

And the other thing too is, I grew up with a subscription to National Geographic, right. And that is probably one of the best magazines an artist could get. 
Obviously you research the things that interest you - which is why it's not machines with me :-). But I could illustrate a fairly accurate fashion show of ancient Middle Eastern / Egyptian outfits from about 2000BC to 100AD (with some annoying gaps, unfortunately).

Ye Olde Artwork

Doing some clearing out and came across a whole load of my old artwork.
This one must be from when I was 10 or 11, because we did Beowulf in Primary 6.

Behold Beowulf (and his friend whose name I've forgotten) fighting the Dragon in a cave:

As always, click to see bigger.

I love the outsize feet! The sundress flame is interesting too.

Expect more...

Friday, 13 February 2015

Another quote

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” 
Chinese Proverb

Thursday, 12 February 2015


"Never judge a philosophy by its abuse."
Saint Augustine

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Cash basis

Common sense is breaking out!

I'm filling out my tax return.

There's a new thing this year called 'Cash Basis' where you can choose to 'record money when it actually comes in and goes out of your business'. 'You only count the money you've actually received in a tax year. Money you're owed isn't counted until you receive it.'.

Since it's called 'income tax' not 'work-you-have-done-but-haven't-yet-been-paid-for tax' why was this not always the case?

Friday, 23 January 2015

Another quote

"If you approach a client on a war footing then of course you can achieve war. But why would you?"

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Two quotes

Two quotes I just came across:

"Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist."

"When art critics get together they talk about Form and Structure and Meaning. When artists get together they talk about where you can buy cheap turpentine."

Both attributed to Picasso (but possibly spuriously)

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Job description?

I was having to register for VAT (not, alas, because I have a business turnover of over £81,000, but because of the new EU regulations).

I had to select what kind of business I was from a list - you type in a word and it searches. 'Illustration' was not found, so I typed in 'art'. Here are some of the suggestions:
  • Jerusalem artichoke growing
  • Artificial insemination activities on a fee or contract basis
  • Fuller's earth pit 
  • Earth colours and fluorspar mining
  • Quartz mining and quarrying
  • Rennet (not artificial) (manufacture)
  • Tarts (manufacture)
  • Plant parts preserving in sugar (manufacture)
  • Artificial honey (manufacture) 
  • Parts of trousers for women and girls (manufacture)
  • Garter (manufacture)
  • Artificial fur and articles thereof (manufacture)  
  • Loofah articles (manufacture) 
  • Chain (not articulated transmission) (manufacture) 
  • Smart cards (manufacture) 
  • Pick-up arm and cartridge for record player (manufacture)

Well, it's nice when frustrating and tedious admin gives you a bit of a laugh. :-)

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Got this in my stocking. Seems a good verse to start (and continue, and finish) a year with.