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.