Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Never tried that before!

The pot pourri in the church toilets was looking rather dusty. Not the easiest thing to dust, and I wanted to deal with it fairly quickly. 

So I washed it.

And it worked!
Obviously would depend on the pot pourri - don't blame me if you try this and it goes horribly wrong.

Monday, 22 June 2020

We do not know what to do...

A passage I keep going back to just now is 2 Chronicles 20, especially verse 12:
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you”
And this song which goes well with it (I know it's based on the Red Sea passage, but it still fits).

That's better

Just managed to get the I AM pictures in this post to show big when you click on them. Not sure what was wrong before.

Monday, 15 June 2020

Evening prayer

"Father in your mercy dispel the darkness of this night,
and let your servant sleep in peace,
that at the dawn of a new day I may wake with joy in your Name,
through Christ our Lord.
~ From a Daily Prayer App

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

The odd things I notice

I have not seen the new TV series The Chosen, although I've heard good things about it.

I have seen a few clips, though, and one thing I noticed that pleased me - you can see Jesus' knees!

I don't think I've ever seen that. But he's a first-century working class man - he wouldn't be swanning about in impractical long robes. They were for important (or would-be important) people.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Movie adaptions

A director cannot fairly make his money of the writings of a man long dead while simultaneously warping the substance of that work into something the dead man would never have agreed to.
~ Travis Perry

Friday, 29 May 2020


"So if my eyes press forward in fierce alarm
Just turn my head back to see
To see how we got this far
And I'll be alright"
from Take this Slowly ~ The Gray Havens

Thursday, 28 May 2020

The importance of cover design

This is a girl's book.

Actually, it's not.

If I remember right, all the characters - and certainly the hippo - are male. The author is male. There's nothing girly about it.

But, as I discovered a few years ago, if you're a 7-year-old boy, it will look like a girl's book (and you will delight to point this out to your friend who recieved it).

Here's a colour tweak which would have made a huge difference:

Although I think these old covers are better still:

I AM illustrations

Realised I hadn't posted this yet. Finished a week ago. Jesus' last three I AM sayings. (resurrection & life, way/truth/life, vine)

It was nice to illustrate some stories I've never done or seen in Go Teach before. I thought they explained complex ideas like 'abiding in Jesus' well. And we've never had a lesson that focusses so much on heaven before (plenty on how to get there, but not on why you would want to!). Although it's based on John 14, it also gets into Rev 21 themes.

Though with the current situation, when they'll actually get used is another question...

I tried to use complementary colours as I did last time, but I feel it was less successful - possibly because there aren't borders to bring out the colours. And I was doing it in rather a rush (partly my fault, partly not).

For your amusement, this is the original 'rough' I sent them, just to give an idea of content. A cobbled together mixture of my old illustrations in various styles, googled images, and clipart!

Monday, 25 May 2020


Uplighters are basically like whited sepulchures, which look beautiful on the outside, but on the inside are full of oose, burst balloons (not shown), mysterious objects that may be sweets or small crackers, and everything unclean.

Bulb temporarily removed
(Spring cleaning creche room)

Sunday, 17 May 2020

The right order

Why, when you buy felt tips, do they often come like this?

A quick sort...

That's better!

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Lydia craft

Here’s an idea for a simple, fun craft that brings out a lot of things from Lydia’s story.

All you need:
  • Paper towel - I found that cheap stuff is best. If you don't have any plain paper towel, toilet paper works too!
  • Felt tip pens
  • Water 

What to do:
  1. Make sure you are working on a surface that is OK to get wet, and to get pen on! You could put the paper towel on a plate, or on newspaper.
  2. Draw rough circles of coloured dots. You can do different sizes - the space in the middle shouldn't be very big, though - 3-4cm max.

    I tried a heart in the middle, but you might find that too difficult.

  3. Dip your finger in the water, and touch the space in the middle of each circle.

  4. Watch as the water spreads out.

  5. Larger circles will need a few more drops, but wait until it stops spreading before adding more. Use as little water as possible, or the colours will all wash out!
  6. Leave to dry.

Links to the story:
  • The dye from the pens reminds us of the dye that was used to make Lydia's purple cloth - but use other colours if you prefer.
  • If you draw a heart, that reminds us that the Lord 'opened Lydia's heart'.
  • Water reminds us of Lydia's baptism.
  • The colours spreading remind us of the good news of Jesus spreading.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

The vital component

If you're teaching on Lydia, and you prepare the best lesson in the world, but neglect to pray that God will 'open their hearts to respond' you've kind of missed the point of the lesson you're teaching...

I need to make sure to practise the latter, without leaving the former undone.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

A problem with illustrating the Bible

Many persons suppose he was on horseback, and painters thus represent him; but this is utterly without foundation. Painters are, in almost every case, wretched commentators.
~ Clarke*

He's right - but I do try very hard not to do this. 

But at the end of the day, you have to draw something. And unless the Bible spells it out, your choice does say something. If you draw him on a horse, you're saying he was on a horse. But if, because it doesn't say so, you don't draw a horse, you're not leaving it open to interpretation - you are saying that he was not on a horse.

Actually, in this case, the fact that Paul was later led by the hand suggests to me that he was not on a horse - and personally I avoid drawing horses whenever possible anyway!

But there's so many things: was the person old or young? fat or thin? tall or short? brown or black or white**? And if we avoid any of these extremes, are we saying that the Bible is about boring, characterless people instead of real-life people like us?

What colour were Adam & Eve? Did Mary & Joseph ride a donkey? Were there three wise men? Was Mary Magdalene the same person as Mary of Bethany? Was she the sinful woman who anointed Jesus' feet? Was 'the disciple whom Jesus loved' John? Do angels have wings? ***

Every picture you draw makes a statement.

* Sorry, I have no idea this guy's full name - it was a quote in the commentary on my Bible app 
** Not such an issue in the OT (though there certainly was more racial diversity than we tend to imagine or draw - which is also saying something). But by the NT - especially Acts - with the racial mix of the Roman empire...
*** My decisions for illustrations:
  • Adam & Eve were mid brown, with all the genes necessary for the whole human race
  • No
  • Not necessarily, but three is a nice number, so I often draw three
  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes
  • Probably not - I tend to draw them glowing instead. But I have no objection to including wings, and I have done so if needed to make it clear these are angels
And all these may be wrong!

Thursday, 7 May 2020


Just sorting through Sunday School photos for our virtual prizegiving. These two crafts, done earlier in the year, seem particularly relevant now...

Wednesday, 6 May 2020


For the first time in weeks, there is flour in Morrisons.

The reason there has been no flour in the supermarkets has, apparently not been that there is not enough flour available. They're running the flour mills 24/7, and there's plenty flour. The problem is that usually most flour is packed in bulk, for commercial use. With the increased demand for home baking, the flour mills don't have the ability to pack large enough quantities of consumer-sized flour packets.*

So Morrisons has evidently hit on a solution: pack their own!

 I wonder what those bags were originally intended for.

*I read this in an article, but I have no idea where.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

"Is everything sad going to come untrue?"

I wonder what Tolkien would think if he knew how many Christian songs allude to Sam Gamgee's question from The Return of the King.
Probably be chuffed.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

Rainbow crosses

People are putting rainbows in their windows to symbolise hope. So here are some crosses that our Sunday School kids made to remind us that our true hope comes from Jesus.

All done in an appropriately socially-distant manner: They made them at home, photographed them, and WhatsApped them to me. I printed them at church, cut them out and stuck them up.

I love how different they all turned out.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Watching a video while working

I do this sometimes (if it's a video you don't need to concentrate on, just glance at from time to time), but it can be awkward because you need to make both windows narrow, beside each other.

BUT I've just found a function in Firefox which allows you to pop the video out into it's own little window which you can place on top of everything else, and move around to wherever suits you.

That's handy!

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

2 metres

I'm guessing I'm not the only person who finds it hard to imagine 2 metres in their head 😄

Ghost town

Glasgow Central Station yesterday around 10.30am.

P.S. In case you're wondering, I did have legitimate reason for being there - I clean for a disabled couple who live in town, and I took advice. I also managed to avoid touching anything between my door and theirs, except the ticket machine, and I wiped it with an antibacterial wipe first! I didn't even sit down in the train.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Edible Windows logos :-)


"Eirene ... the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is"
~Thayer's Greek Lexicon

Saturday, 21 March 2020


This was an extraordinarily appropriate week for an EP called Disorder to be released! Completely coincidental - except of course that God knew.

(This is the first song)


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Two Shirts

Seems very relevant!
Not posting this because I'm good at any of this, but because I'm aware I'm not.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Lost property

I was clearing out the church lost property cupboard. Looks like we've had some unusual visitors!

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Latest illustrations

Finally got these illustrations finished!

I'm really happy with them - not just "well, it'll do", as I feel some of my recent work has been. (Though of course I can still see bits where it could have been better). It's good to try new things.

click to see big
I took the time to shade them - not a lot of time, but makes a big difference.

My new 'inking' technique really worked well - I'll do that again. It completely missed out the middle step - so I went straight from the rough roughs below to final linework.

Not just quicker, but also gives a livelier effect. And since pencil's a more forgiving medium than ink, easier to get a decent result 😀

So the time constraint was a blessing in disguise, as otherwise I would just have done what I usually do.

I tried to hold each story together with a colour scheme - not something I usually do, but I thought I'd try it. Each lesson has two complementary colours, which I've tried to use quite a lot in the picture (not so bright, though!).

And, to finish it off, I added an overlay of one of the colours over the foreground and the other colour over the background. Tbh, I'm not sure how this works, but it subtly changes the colours and helps to separate foreground and background.

how I did it

showing the difference: foreground redder, background cyan-er

Friday, 17 January 2020

Not quite what I was looking for...

I was wanting a picture of a cute little middle eastern lamb, so I Googled it.

Not quite what I was looking for...

Though I guess that's how it ended up :-(

Friday, 3 January 2020

Fake inks

Working on a freelance project with a tight deadline that's going to be hard to meet.
I suggested I could just do finished pencils (quicker), but the art editor wanted inks.

Then, in the middle of the night, I remembered that Jason Brubaker just pencilled most of his reMIND comic, and then tweaked the levels in photoshop to look like ink.

After a bit of trial and error (I needed a much smoother pencil* than I usually use) this is what I got.

It's a small background figure, which is why the lines are so thick.

I think this is going to work!

* By 'pencil' I mean pencil tool in Clip Studio. I usually use 15 point 'chalk', with its standard settings, for pencilling, but for this I used a 25 point 'rough pencil' and put the texture density way down to 29.

Happy New Year!

I was going to post this song anyway, but we sang it on Hogmanay, so that's another reason.