Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joyfully illustrating "A Little Book on Joy"

Today our Gospel reading was the story of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15. Seldom am I able to talk about this parable without getting all weepy. Happened today in early service. One church member suggested that for second service, maybe I ought to think about the drawing I did (shown above) for the cover of "A Little Book on Joy." It worked. It didn't stop me from getting emotional, but I was at least able to control myself.

When Matt Harrison first inquired whether I would be interested in illustrating a book he was wrapping up, internally I balked. My art chops, from my perspective, just ain't what they used to be. The confidence I once had (or at least feigned) during my undergrad years (as an art major, Cal State Fullerton '87) was nowhere to be found. But after sending some sketches for him to look at, Pastor Harrison said that my work was just what he was looking for ... something along the lines of Quentin Blake's illustrations for Roald Dahl's books. I did a little research on Quentin Blake on the internet, and started sketching some ideas based on the manuscript that Matt sent to me. I scanned them, sent them via email to the author, and his positive responses were just the encouragement I needed to dive headfirst into the project.

So here we are, a couple of months past publication, and I am so happy with the way things turned out. I tried to draw with my own style that has evolved over the years. I didn't want to copy Blake. Although, one church member said that my drawings remind him of Sergio Aragones' cartoons in Mad magazine. In hindsight, I think he's right. That's what I get for reading Mad during my 7th and 8th grade years.

I've said it before in previous posts, and I'll say it again, it was a great honor to be involved with this book. My doodles are just the pinch of seasoning on the filet mignon of the text by Pastor Harrison. The book is overwhelmingly Gospel-centered (did we expect anything else from him?). "A Little Book on Joy" does not give you "five easy steps to be more joyful" nor is it a law-laden harangue to "be more joyful, since you are a Christian, after all!" Instead, it leads you to true joy through the proper channel, and that is through the cross of Christ.

1 comment:

Kelly Klages said...

In light of the parable, your cover illustration makes *me* all weepy!