Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Annie Valloton - At home with her Lord.

Annie Vallotton, illustrator of the iconic images in American Bible Society’s Good News Bible, died in France on December 28, 2013 at the age of 98. The publisher HarperCollins has identified Vallotton as the best-selling artist of all time, thanks largely to the success of the Good News Bible, of which more than 225 million copies have been distributed since its release in 1966.

Annie Vallotton, who was born in Lausanne, Switzerland, dedicated her life to finding ways to share the Bible’s message in a clear, simple way. In addition to the Good News Bible, Vallotton illustrated other Christian books, including Who Are You Jesus? and From the Apple to the Moon. From the American Bible Societies website

We sent Annie a christmas card which included all of the recent comments that readers have left on the 'Annie Vallotton interview' post. Annie replied via her sister-in-law Heidi, (as Annie was getting weak). They sent us a lovely card and letter on the 17th December - she passed away just over a week later. Our condolences go to the Vallotton family.

There are some exciting things about to happen within the next month or so regarding Annie's life and work which I am not at liberty to mention just yet. As soon as I get the 'thumbs up' from HarperCollins I will tell you all about it!

If you would like to leave a comment/tribute on this post, I will gladly send them on to the family. If you haven't read the full interview with Annie yet, Click here. She was a very special lady.

Annie Vallotton

21 February 1915 - 28 December 2013.

At home with her Lord.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Update 2013

Sorry once again for the delay since my last post - belated Happy Hanukkah to our Jewish readers, belated Happy Christmas and belated Happy New Year to everyone else! It's also been a while since I gave an update on how all our different projects are progressing so here goes:

Another Format change!

It wasn't long ago when I mentioned that we were changing our picture format from portrait to landscape - well we have changed it again! This time to suit widescreen power-points. The first story to get the widescreen treatment is Joseph. I know what you're going to say..."I thought you were illustrating Acts!" I was, but I've been moved onto a completely new project that begins in February. I got up to Acts 19 so I still have a few blogs to publish on Acts. I won't be finishing Joseph either before the new project starts as there are roughly 50 widescreen pictures needed for this story. This is one of the new Joseph pictures below.

Camp Project

The camp project is going on really well. I saw the main building for the first time in October and it's really stunning! I'm hoping to be going down again next month so I expect they'll be even more to see then. It should be opening soon so I'll be blogging about that when it does. Here's a picture I took in October.

New Website

I believe that we are to expect a new website soon - this will mean that all of the most recent picture sets, that are not as yet on line, will be! Including all the sets on Acts. We are long overdue a new website but there's been so much going on in other areas. I'll let you know as soon as I hear more.

Wacom Cintiq

I'm about to change the way I work - in fact, the way I've always worked. I'm about to go completely digital! Although I've coloured digitally for a long time now I still ink my line work in brush and ink. That's about to change as I'm awaiting delivery of a Wacom Cintiq 24HD (above). I know that a few artists that read this blog already use the Cintiq so I would appreciate your thoughts on reproducing brush lines with one. I'm a little apprehensive about the change. I'll let you know how I get on. (Maybe you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!)

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day (in the UK). We usually mention this on the blog as a number of are readers are Jewish Bible artists some of whom have lost relatives in the Holocaust. Please visit the HMD website here. Our good friend Nahum HaLevi lost relatives in the Holocaust - he has a new website here that's definitely worth a visit.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Acts 13 Paul on Cyprus

The first part of Acts 13 follows Paul on one of his missionary journeys to Cyprus. The story is told in 5 pictures. Picture 1 shows the church at Antioch laying hands on Paul & Barnabus sending them on their way to preach the good news in Cyprus.
Picture 2 (left) shows Paul and Barnabus boarding ship at Seleucia.

Picture 3 shows Paul preaching in one of the synagogues of Salamis. After traveling across the island they came to Paphos where they were summoned by the proconsul Sergius Paulus who desired to hear the word of God. In picture 4 (right)
we see Barnabus, Paul and John, who had now joined them, arriving at the proconsul's seaside villa. Stood to one side is Bar-Jesus, (or Elymas), who was a Jewish sorcerer, false prophet and attendant of Sergius Paulus. He's clearly not pleased to see Paul and his companions!

As Paul explains the Gospel to Sergius, Elymas the sorcerer tries to discourage him from listening. The final picture shows Paul rebuking Elymas who has now lost his sight and is groping around. Sergius Paulus is amazed at what he sees and hears.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Acts 12 - Peter's Escape.

Acts 12 describes Peters miraculous escape from prison. We've retold the story in 5 pictures. Picture 1 shows Peter asleep in a moonlit cell while chained to two guards. Picture 2 shows the cell now filled with angelic light as an angel stands before Peter.

Picture 3 (left) shows Peter being led across the prison courtyard by the angel as the gates open before him. We can see the shadow of the large iron gates beyond these also opening. A Roman guard is dozing by the fire. If you've read 'The Heavenly Man' you'll recall that Liu Zhenying (Brother Yun) had a very similar experience to this when escaping from Zhengzhou Maximum Security prison.

Picture 4 (right) shows Peter knocking at the door of his fellow believers. I've done this picture like a split-screen to show both Peter knocking and the reaction of the girl who recognizes his voice. The final picture shows Peter reunited with his friends. He's sharing with them the story of his miraculous escape!

Saturday, November 03, 2012


Acts 10 covers the conversion of the Roman Centurion, Cornelius, and his family. This is retold in 6 pictures. Picture 1 shows an angel appearing to Cornelius while he's in prayer. Picture 2, (left), depicts a Roman courtyard and shows Cornelius sending out two of his servants and a soldier to the seaside town of Joppa to bring Peter back. Joppa, (known as Jaffa today) lies 30 miles south of Caesarea. Across the courtyard and beyond the facing villas we can see the elaborate lighthouses which many believe were positioned at the entrance to the port of Caesarea. The paved courtyard was drawn from a photo of an actual Roman pavement.

Picture 3 (right) shows the servants arriving at Simon the Tanner's house. Stretched animal skins are drying on frames outside this seaside house. Simon has one of the tanners curved bladed tools in his hand which were used in Bible times to remove the skins from carcasses. Picture 4 shows Peter on the rooftop seeing the vision of the 'unclean' animals being lowered before him. Picture 5 shows Peter, now at the rear of the house in the main tanning area, listening to the servants request.

The final picture shows Peter at Cornelius' villa presenting the Gospel message to all present. I've tried to reconstruct the interior of a Roman villa with it's frescoed walls, mosaic floor and Roman shuttered windows.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Shanah Tovah!

Rosh Hashanah is here again so I'd like to wish "Shanah Tovah" to all our Jewish readers. As we enter into the Jewish Year 5773 this is the perfect time to promote the new book by my good friend, and fellow Bible artist, Nahum HaLevi.
Nahum is a regular contributor to the B.I.B. and his new book 'The Color of Prophecy' contains 15 reproductions of his beautifully colorful oil paintings along with incredibly detailed descriptions of each, giving the reader a deeper insight into Jewish religious thought.
By way of introduction I'd like to share with you part of the write-up from the back cover.
This book addresses those who have an interest in the visual arts, the Bible, or both. Although it is a Jewish-inspired book, it strikes a universal chord and broadly appeals to Jews, Christians, and those of all faiths who share a common love of the Bible and art.

Top marks to Gefen Publishing House for the fine reproduction of Nahum's paintings and the excellent print quality. They've done a superb job. You can order 'The Color of Prophecy' from Amazon or directly from the publisher here. 

I was very honored to be asked by Nahum to be one of those to write a comment promoting his book. If you want to check out my comment - you'll have to buy one!

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Ethiopian Eunuch

I'm presently working my way through the Acts of the Apostles. I've calculated that the whole of Acts will be completed in 130+ pictures divided into approximately 25+ sets. (That's a very rough guess!)
A few weeks ago I finished illustrating Acts 8, (the Ethiopian Eunuch). The story is retold in 6 pictures. Picture 1 shows Philip approaching the Eunuch's chariot. Picture 2 (above right) shows Philip speaking to the eunuch. Picture 3 shows them traveling and reading the Torah scroll. Picture 4 (below left) shows the chariot stopped at some water.

When I began research for this set I really struggled to find references of an Ethiopian chariot. There was nothing in my book collection, or in my local library, or on the internet! I finally decided to take a look at how other artists had tackled an ethiopian chariot. Some artists had stuck to the traditional, high fronted, Roman type chariot that was entered from the rear. I admit that, when you think of a chariot, it's hard not to think of this particular type! The problem here though is where would the eunuch sit in a Roman chariot? One artist who has used this design showed the eunuch sat on the floor at the rear of the chariot facing backwards with his legs dangling over the edge! This doesn't quite seem appropriate for an ethiopian dignitary!

I eventually came across a depiction of the Ethiopian Eunuch's chariot in a picture by Wilhelm Ebbinghaus. His version of the chariot was particularly interesting - similar to an oxcart in design, (although far more elegant), having two large wheels, forward facing seats, room for a servant stood on a platform at the rear and a driver up front. What was also interesting was that the elaborate ornamentation decorating the chariot was Egyptian in style - as was the clothing worn by the Ethiopian servants. After a little more research I discovered that, after centuries of trading together, there were strong cultural influences shared by the Nubian & Egyptian Kingdoms. I'm not quite sure who influenced who first as I've read conflicting accounts, however there's no doubt that these neighbors had much in common including architecture, (pyramids etc), and the style of dress. I decided to go with Ebbinghaus' basic design but add more of the Egyptian features that I've used in the past.

When drawing the ethiopian eunuch himself I used photographic reference of an ethiopian man as there are distinct differences in the features when comparing Ethiopians to those who inhabit other parts of the African continent. Picture 5 shows Philip baptizing the Ethiopian Eunuch and finally picture 6 shows the eunuch alone with his servants. They're all looking around surprised as Philip has been caught away.

More chariot trivia: Apparently early chariots had four wheels, more like a carriage with larger wheels to the rear. These were used for ceremonial use whereas the, more recognized, two wheeled chariots were used for racing or in battle. The Egyptian ones were very light and could to be carried over rough ground when needed. Look forward to your comments!

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Joys of Blogging!

I think all bloggers will agree that one of the great things about blogging is the friends that you make from all around the globe! I'm really thankful for all the amazing people I've met through the B.I.B. Every now and again I get sent something in the post from A blog reader - which is the icing on the cake! This last week, (actually it was a few weeks ago when I wrote this post), I've had two such parcels.The first came from Dr Sandy Brewer who sent me all her duplicate Elsie Anna Wood posters. I've never seen these posters in-the-flesh before and they really are superb! Many thanks Sandy! If you've never come across Bible artist Elsie Anna Wood before, then I would recommend the posts below:
Elsie Anna Wood.
More Elsie Anna Wood Bible Art.
A Gift Returned with Love.

The second (very large) parcel came from John and Sheila Wastie in Shrewsbury.John sent me almost the entire collection of 'The Bible Story' magazines published by Fleetway Publications Ltd in the sixties. John also included some 'Look and Learn' magazines. What was really exciting about this was that he had included the issues from 26th September 1964. This is when the Bible Story was absorbed into Look & Learn. I always wanted to see these issues to see how much of the Bible story magazine survived, and for how long it lasted.Following the amalgamation only three pages were dedicated to the Bible story. This soon dropped to two, then one, and sadly by the 26th December 1964 'The Bible story' magazine was no more! Many thanks to John for helping me fill in this gap. I explained to John by email that, although I already have the full collection of 'The Bible Story' in it's original binder, I've not been able to use them as the whole thing is so big and heavy and I don't want to risk taking any of the magazines out in case I damage them. Now that I have all the loose magazines I can easily use them for reference.John also sent me some 1968/9 issues of 'Tell Me Why' magazine that I hadn't seen before. All these magazines for children were in the same large format and all published by Fleetway and all boasted an incredibly high standard of illustration. The only other one I remember from childhood was 'Treasure' which also included a 'Stories from the Bible' section. Many thanks again to Sandy, John and Sheila.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Pictures of Jonah

One thing you might notice about our pictures from now on - we've changed format! We've gone from portrait to landscape which is something that some of you have been asking us to do for a while now (as the Powerpoint format is landscape). Why have we changed? Well, we started with the portrait format because we always intended that our pictures would be used in a children's Bible, (which hasn't materialized as yet). We've now changed to landscape as we have an upcoming book project comprising of 15 books that are all going to be in a landscape format. There's also going to be some film work done using the illustrations and the landscape format is more suitable for this too.

Our first completed picture set to appear in landscape format is Jonah which has 10 pictures.
The first picture shows a disgruntled Jonah leaving town to catch a boat departing from Joppa for Tarshish. II Kings14:25 tells us that Jonah's home town was Gath-hepher, (3-5 miles north of Nazareth). It's well known that Tarshish is in the opposite direction from Nineveh, but the journey from Gath-pher (if that's where Jonah set off from) to Joppa was in the opposite direction too! I checked out some photos of Gath-hepher on the Bible places website - a great place to look for photographic reference!

Picture 2 (above) shows Jonah boarding the ship. Further up the coastline you can see the beach where Tel Aviv is today! Picture 3 shows the terrified sailors casting lots - Jonah picks the short straw! There's no information given in scripture that tells us exactly how lots were cast. We know that the Romans used dice, and in earlier times a jar, containing wooden discs, was filled with water. The wooden discs would float, but only one could be pulled out through the narrow neck of the jar at a time. One of the discs would be marked. I chose the long/short straw method as this was easier to see.

Picture 4 shows Jonah being thrown into the sea. Picture 5 (right) is an underwater scene showing the great fish approaching Jonah. I know that traditionally the great fish is shown to be a whale, (and I've stuck with this), but there has been some discussion about whether a man could live in a whale for three days. The Bible says that "the Lord provided a great fish" so I would argue that this prepared fish, whatever it was, was ideally suited for the purpose it was designed for. It may not have been a whale - then again it might have been. could it have been a One-off? a fish that only existed for the purpose of carrying Jonah to land? I'm thinking about the Jewish tradition regarding the Tachash: According to Rashi's commentary the Tachash is a "kosher, multi-colored, one horned desert animal which came into existence to be used to build the Tabernacle and ceased to exist afterward".
Maybe someone would like to comment on this?

Picture 6 shows Jonah inside the fish praying. I couldn't find reference of what the insides of a large fish looked like so I'm afraid I've had to use some artist's license-!! Maybe one of you fishermen out there could put me right? Picture 7 shows Jonah washed up on the beach. Picture 8 (above left) shows Jonah preaching to the Ninevites. Fortunately we have some excellent resources that tell us exactly what the fashions were like in Nineveh. These highly detailed references are in the form of clay tablets which have been perfectly preserved from the time of Nineveh. Most of these are in the British Museum but thankfully we have a few in Manchester Museum too, and I was able to make some sketches from these a few weeks ago.
Jonah dressed in his now shabby clothing stands in contrast to the grandiosity of the Ninevites. We also know from the clay tablets that the Assyrians were a blood thirsty bunch so preaching to them wasn't a job for the faint-hearted!

Picture 9 (right) shows Jonah sat on a hillside overlooking Nineveh. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria for a time and so a very important city. Jonah's sat on the Eastern side overlooking the Shamash Gate which has recently been reconstructed. There were 15 gates in the wall that surrounded Nineveh and each gate was named after an Asssyrian god. We can't see the River Tigris in this picture as this lies on the western side of the city. Again, thanks to those ancient tablets, we know how the great city of Nineveh looked with its lions of bronze, massive sculptures, glazed brick paneling and relief carvings of winged bulls etc - Nineveh really was a lavishly adorned city. The British museum has many of the bas-reliefs that were taken from the city walls.
Jonah is sheltering from the sun in the shadow of a large plant or gourd. Many Bible dictionaries suggest that this may have been the Ricinus Communis, or the castor-oil plant so this is the plant I've illustrated.

Picture 10 shows the plant now withered and Jonah once again angry at God. The book of Jonah is traditionally read out in synagogues around the world at Yom Kippur reminding people of God's Grace and Mercy.
I'll add a link to the Jonah picture set as soon as its uploaded to our website.

Friday, April 06, 2012

Happy Easter and Passover!

Happy Easter to all our readers.
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” Luke 18 ; 31-33
Happy Passover to all our Jewish readers also. Last week we had a presentation of the Passover Seder at our church titled 'Christ in the Passover' it was really interesting! When I was a youngster we had Jewish neighbors who always bought us a box of Matzo crackers at this time of year - they were huge but not very tasty! It was really interesting though to hear how the Matzo (which means "unleavened bread" in Hebrew) were used in the Passover Seder.

3 Matzo crackers were placed into a Matzo cover which is like a bag that had 3 separate compartments in it. One Matzo cracker went into each compartment. The top and bottom Matzo remained out of sight but the middle Matzo was taken out, broken and part of it was hidden out of sight until later in the Seder. Before the significance of this was mentioned, my mind had already jumped to the Incarnation, atoning death, burial and resurrection of Jesus!

I've been getting into apologetics recently and there are some excellent resources out there dealing with the evidence and the Historicity of the Resurrection. I would highly recommend that readers visit the Reasonable Faith website where you can find the resources of philosopher, theologian and apologist William Lane Craig. I had the privilege of hearing Dr Craig in a debate at Manchester University a couple of months ago. Great stuff!

The picture above is from our website where you can download sets of Bible pictures covering the Trial, Crucifixion, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus. The picture above is from our Passover set, (18 pictures), and shows the blood of the sacrificed lamb being applied to the doorposts and lintel with a branch of Hyssop. All our picture sets are available for immediate download!

May I wish you the peace of the risen Lord Jesus Christ this Easter.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

My favorite Bible artists #10

Charles Edmund Brock (1870-1938). Henry Matthew Brock (1875-1960)
A few years ago I purchased two old books (1950's) of Bible stories that were illustrated mostly in black & white. One illustrators work stood out from the rest, his name - H.M.Brock. Henry Matthew Brock had three other brothers, two of which were also talented artists/illustrators -Charles Edward (C.E.) and Richard Henry. (R.H.). The brothers shared a studio together in Cambridge and sometimes collaborated on projects. C.E worked mainly in oils while H.M worked mostly in watercolours. Both C.E and H.M were well known for their excellent line illustrations and they were both skilled cartoonists contributing to Punch magazine! The Brock brothers are best known for their illustration work on the famous novels by Charles Dickins, Jane Austin, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling etc, but I wanted to take a brief look at their wonderful Bible illustrations!

Not so long ago I came across an old (board backed) copy of H.M Brock's 'The Bible Story'. (See right). This was the first time I'd seen H.M's Bible art in colour - and it left me wanting to see more! The Bible Story is a very thin book having only 16 pages with 8 colour illustrations and is one of a set of 4 books, the first two covering the Old Testament - the second two covering the New. As you can imagine this was a very concise edition covering the entire Bible in 32 short paragraphs!
A few weeks ago I was searching, (on the Amazon website), for more of the Brock brothers Bible Art and I came across an excellent copy of 'Through the Bible' by a Theodora Wilson Wilson, illustrated by C.E and H.M Brock! Charles Edmund illustrated the Old Testament while Henry Matthew worked on the new. The book was first published in 1938 so it must have been one of the last projects C.E worked on as he died in the same year. My only criticism of the book is that the b&w line illustrations were provided by a J.B.Ayto - the book would have been so much better had they used the Brock brothers line illustrations. I've scanned two samples from this book (see below) showing both H.M's and C.E's art for you to compare! (Click image for a bigger picture).

'Through the Bible' also contains some really nice black & white photography taken in the Holy Land presumably in the late 1930's or earlier.

At the end of the first World War the younger brother, Henry Matthew who worked almost entirely in pen and ink, began a career in advertising and illustrating boys adventure comics. You can see from the picture (above left) how his style suited this genre. Take a close look at the picture (above right) by Charles Edmund - can you spot the mistake? Click here for the answer.

A collection of artwork by H.M.Brock, including 70 originals, was donated to the University of Reading in 1994. This collection included the drawing board used by Charles Edmund. It's still possible to pick up an original picture by one of the Brock brothers (mostly C.E's) here!
Like William Hole and Harold Copping the Brock brothers kept a large collection of costumes that were modeled by willing members of their family and friends. Similarly also to artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, the Brock brothers built up a large collection of curios, antiques and furniture that also featured in their pictures.

I've not mentioned much about Richard Henry Brock as, from what I can gather, he didn't produce any Bible art but worked mainly on boys annuals. Look forward to your comments!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Painting Holidays in the Holy Land

Jewish Bible artist Darius Gilmont is considering organizing painting holidays in the Holy Land and is asking for feedback from readers of the Bible illustration blog as to what they think of the draft itinerary below. The photo above shows the tombs of Rabbinic sages in the Galilee, very near to the Kibbutz where there would be very good accommodation and an art studio.
If anyone is in any doubt to how wonderful the experience of painting in the Holy Land is - they need to read the inspiring diaries of Bible artists Elsie Anna wood and Margaret W. Tarrant.

Please take a look at the 'First Draft Itinerary' below and leave your comments for Darius in the usual comment box.

First Draft Itinerary for a Painting Holiday in the Holy Land.
This tour is Galilee-based, but there could equally be a Negev desert-based tour, or a Jerusalem-based tour. The idea is for a non-tutored painting holiday, with a strong tourism element due to the nature of the location.

Arr. Monday evening, Ben-Gurion Airport, Tel-Aviv. Transfer to Kibbutz Parod, Galilee. This kibbutz has excellent accommodation, swimming pool set in beautiful grounds, a good art studio space, and great views of the surrounding area including the Galilean Hills, the Sea of Galilee, the Golan Heights and Mount Hermon (on the border with Syria).

Day 1: Breakfast. Welcome, followed by Kibbutz Tour incl. Art Studio. Trip to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee, to the Mount of the Beatitudes where the Sermon on the Mount was given, to Tabgha to see the splendid mosaic about the miracle of the loaves and fishes, and to the nearby Church of Peter's Primacy. Lunch and afternoon painting at Tabgha. Dinner at Kibbutz, evening in Studio.

Day 2: Morning in Studio, painting views of the Galilee and Golan, or finishing yesterday’s work. Lunch at Kibbutz, followed by a visit to the Basilica of Annunciation in Nazareth, Mary's Well and the Church of the Angel Gabriel. Evening in Studio.

Day 3: Early drive to Jerusalem, visiting the Old City and selected Holy sites. Afternoon painting the panoramic view of the Old City from the Promenade Park (Tayelet) to the south of Abu Tor. From this point see much of what makes Jerusalem such a unique city to the three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Evening free in Jerusalem. Late return to Kibbutz.

Day 4: Morning painting in and around the Kibbutz or in the studio. Afternoon trip to the Bahai Temple and gardens, Haifa. Evening at the Kibbutz with lecture/discussion/workshop with eminent art or religious academic or cleric (in short –a cultural event)!

Day 5: Trip to the Monastery of St George at Wadi Qelt in the Judaean desert. Walking, and painting, in the desert. Evening in the studio.

Day 6: Morning trip to Tiberias. Lunch at Tiberias. Afternoon painting in studio. Evening closing event and celebratory dinner (and dancing?) on the Kibbutz.

Day 7: Morning transfer to Ben-Gurion Airport and departure for UK.

NOTE: All trips to scenic locations will include ample time for painting. Non-painting partners and children will also have plenty to do, including organized tours and activities.

Above is one Darius' paintings. To see more of his Bible Art visit
© Darius Gilmont 2012

Friday, January 06, 2012

JŌB Movie project

Bible artist Chris Koelle has just sent me some information about a movie project of his on Kickstarter. Chris has illustrated a book titled JŌB which is basically a poem written by John Piper based on the biblical story of Job. The book has now been turned into a movie animated by Danny McNight and narrated by John Piper. (Click the word 'Movie' above to view).
To read an interview with Chris Koelle about another book project of his - a graphic novel titled 'The Book of Revelation' click here

Let me also tell you a little bit about kickstarter as it might be of interest to readers of this blog.
The following text is 'an introduction' from the kickstarter website

"Kickstarter is the world's largest funding platform for creative projects. Every week, tens of thousands of amazing people pledge millions of dollars to projects from the worlds of music, film, art, technology, design, food, publishing and other creative fields.

A new form of commerce and patronage. This is not about investment or lending. Project creators keep 100% ownership and control over their work. Instead, they offer products and experiences that are unique to each project.

All or nothing funding. On Kickstarter, a project must reach its funding goal before time runs out or no money changes hands. Why? It protects everyone involved. Creators aren’t expected to develop their project without necessary funds, and it allows anyone to test concepts without risk.

Each and every project is the independent creation of someone like you. Projects are big and small, serious and whimsical, traditional and experimental. They’re inspiring, entertaining and unbelievably diverse. We hope you agree... Welcome to Kickstarter!"

A spokesperson for Kickstarter, Cooper Troxell, told me that although Kickstarter only handles projects based in the US at present, they are hoping to go international soon. Watch this space!
There are a number of other christian projects on kickstarter so check it out.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all our readers! As I type out this blog we're surrounded by exploding fireworks as people welcome the new year in. This annual tradition of setting off rockets at new year really took off here in the UK in the year 2,000. Since then it's been growing in popularity. The rockets around here go on, (or off), for well over an hour!

As we think back over the last year there's been many changes taking place especially in the Middle East. The dust still hasn't settled yet and there's a lot of uncertainty about how things are going to develop in the region in 2012. Some are worried that the Arab 'Spring' will lead to a 'Fall' for Israel! Although we don't know what the immediate future holds - we do know who holds the future! So keep praying!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

I received a christmas card from Bible artist Annie Vallotton a couple of days ago - one of her own designs, (see right).
Annie's life long friend Jeanne Bulté passed away this year (on March 31) so this christmas will be a difficult one for Annie. Please remember her in your prayers. Paula Taquet-Woolfolk emailed me to let me know that the 'Annie Vallotton Christian Lending Library' has moved to the lower level of the American Church in Paris to a larger room which means that they have been able to add more photos and a Bio of Annie for visitors to read. If you're visiting Paris, make sure you pop in and say hello!

For those of us who have families christmas is an extra busy time of year and we can forget that there are many people who spend it on their own - especially the elderly.
Why not invite someone around to share Christmas or New Year with you and your family - I guarantee it'll make your celebrations extra special! God bless and have a great christmas!

Image © Annie Vallotton 2011. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish readers!

I've only recently noticed that Gustave Dorés Bible etchings have been colored and reprinted in two volumes! Israeli artist Isaac Inbal devoted 9 years of his life to complete the task. I presume that this has been done digitally?

Both the Old & New Testaments are available separately from here:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NTM Pictures finished!

The 'New Tribes Mission' pictures are finally complete! There are 210 pictures in the new set which is exactly double the number of pictures in the old set which were painted 26 years ago by Filipino artist Carlos 'Caloy' Gabuco.

I've had to make a number of changes to my pictures, (over 60 in all), in order to make them more biblically/historically accurate. Thankfully there have been many expert eyes on the project, not only guiding me on matters relating to biblical topics but helping me to understand how to present certain topics clearly to pre-literate people groups - I have very much appreciated their input!

Preparing pictures to assist missionaries in their presentation of the Bible message has been a great privilege and responsibility. I can't think of a more worthwhile use of an artist's/illustrator's time though and I would encourage other artists to pursue this vocation.
In many cases these pictures give the very first glimpse of the outside world to be seen by remote people groups - so you do feel a certain amount of responsibility there too! I've already had feedback about how fascinated one group were to learn how early civilizations could build buildings using mud! Moulding and baking bricks in the sun, as is shown in the 'Tower of Babel' set, was a completely new concept to them!

It's hard to imagine that there are still 2,500 people groups that are unreached with the Gospel! The next step is to get all the picture sets printed, laminated and distributed to the 3,000 NTM missionaries working in the field. If you would like to help towards the cost of printing, click here. Many thanks if you have donated already!
Please remember the work of NTM in your prayers.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shana Tova!

It's the Jewish New Year once again so "Shana Tova" to our Jewish readers and especially those Jewish Bible artists who regularly visit this blog. Rosh Hashanah, (the Feast of Trumpets), begins today as we enter into the Hebrew year 5772.

Once again the situation in Israel is critical, and again the situation has not been helped by the biased reporting of the media. If you're fed up of the distorted reports coming out of the BBC then check out Honest Reporting. I was pleased to read an article by Dr Denis MacEoin addressed to the Edinburgh University Student Association putting them right concerning their boycott of Israel. Check it out here. We need more 'informed' people commenting in the news arena.

L'Shana Tova Tikosevu! (May you be inscribed for a good year!). Pray for Israel!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Lion Bible in its Time

I seem to start every post nowadays with the words "My apologies for the long delay since my last post..." The reason for this is that I have been working flat out to finish the chronological teaching pictures for New Tribes Mission. The number of pictures on the original list has now increased to 212! 207 are complete, apart from some alterations, leaving five pictures to do, but they include some very involved ones like 'The Dedication of Solomon's Temple', 'Jacobs Ladder' and 'The Fall of Jericho!'
As it's a bank holiday Monday here in the U.K. I thought I'd add a quick blog. I was sent a copy of 'The Lion Bible in its Time' a few weeks back to review on the blog - so here goes.

When I review a book like this for readers of the blog I'm looking purely at the illustrative content and not the literary. The first thing that struck me about this book was the standard of illustration, which is much higher than you normally find in a book of this type, (which is basically an introduction to the Bible for children). They reminded me of the illustrations in the Reader's Digest 'Jesus and his Times' (1987). The illustrator, Steve Noon has produced breathtakingly detailed panoramas of Biblical scenery, my favorites were The Tabernacle, Jerusalem in the reign of King Solomon, Babylon (See above cover), Roman Jerusalem and The Port of Caesarea, (below). The pictures also include helpful cutaway sections showing the interiors of buildings/tents etc.

The pictures on the whole are well researched - many of them are based on ancient Assyrian and Egyptian carvings for accuracy. Steve Noon has done an excellent job lighting the pictures too - you can almost feel the warm glow of the sun! On a spread titled 'The great Flood' a large boat is seen being covered with bitumen. I don't think that this is supposed to be Noahs Ark as it's only about 15 feet high at the side. I suspect that this is rather depicting the boat building techniques of the time. Books of this type tend to concentrate on historical detail rather than the miraculous. It's a fine line that the publishers have to walk in order to get these books into our secular school libraries here in the U.K. - they come under rigorous censorship!

Steve Noon is not put off when facing an epic battle scene either as his picture of the Assyrian army defeating Israel in 720 BCE clearly shows. There really is a lot to look at in these pictures, and if you look closely, you'll find some humorous scenes that children will enjoy too. I'm guessing that the pictures were done in watercolor which must have taken a fair time to do. The reproduction is good, as is the print quality. All-in-all this is an excellent book and one that I would recommend to readers for their reference library.
Top marks to Steve Noon and Lion!

Pictures © Lion hudson 2011

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Drawing the Ark of the Covenant.

From the beginnings of early Christian iconography artists have strived to depict the Ark of the Covenant. Countless attempts have been made to capture its likeness but can we really know what the Ark of the Covenant looked like?

Design of the Ark
One idea that's been expressed by at least two artists that I came across, 1.2. is that both the design of, and embellishments on, the ark would have been egyptian in style. The reason given for this is that as all the craftsmen had lived (and been trained) in Egypt prior to the Exodus, their only influences up to that point were all from Egyptian culture. Others point to ancient Egyptian artifacts that were similar in design to the ark such as Tutankhamun's Anubis Chest to strengthen their case. I would agree that this reasoning could be applied to the design of the golden calf - but not to the Ark of the Covenant. My reason is that in Exodus 25:40 God commanded Moses "See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain". Not only did God design the ark but Exodus 31:2-5 tells us that He equipped Bezalel, filling him with God's Spirit, wisdom, understanding, and ability in every craft
in order to complete the job. I would suggest that Gods influence on design (as THE Great Designer of all) would take priority over Egypt's! Also, let's not forget that the Israelites were prohibited from being assimilated into the pagan nations around them - they were to be different in every way!
One other point on the embellishments - both Dr Leen Ritmeyer and Nahum HaLevi pointed out to me that "no decorations are mentioned" in scripture adorning the ark itself which is interesting as this would also be contrary to Egyptian art which almost always adorns every surface! Leen added "The Ark was not meant to be seen, so decorating it was not essential and with the cherubim it looked impressive enough." Having said that, it could also be argued that the pattern shown to Moses on the mount may have included some ornamentation the details of which were only revealed to Moses - we simply don't know! I did decide in the end to show some decoration, although not Egyptian. (See above picture).

Pole Position!
The positioning of the poles that were used to carry the ark is a hotly debated subject! Before I began the illustrations I fully intended having the poles running parallel to the long side of the ark as is more commonly seen. (see also Raiders of the Lost Ark) I became uncertain about this as I thought about the orientation of the ark within the Holy of Holies. Let's look at what the Bible says about this. We know from 1 Kings 8:8 that the ends of the poles could be seen from the Holy place protruding under the veil so from this we can conclude that the poles were running East to West. We also know from Lev 16:14 which way the high priest was facing as he officiated.
And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side,"
which means that the high priest must have been facing West. Incidentally, as the high priest faced west with his back to the veil, all he would see, including his peripheral vision, was gold!
This still doesn't give us any clues as to the orientation of the ark in relation to the poles. We need to go back now to the description of the ark given in Exodus 25:18-19. Here, Moses is told "make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubims on the two ends thereof." It seems clear from this that the cherubim were to be positioned at each 'end' of the mercy seat. Now, unless the Hebrew word for 'end' refers to anything other than the short ends of an oblong, (which looking from above is the basic shape of the ark), it seems very likely that each cherub was positioned at the narrow ends of the ark. It sounds like I'm over stating the obvious here, but there are some scholars who believe that the cherubim were positioned in the centre of the mercy seat as opposed to at each end. The second point I want to make is that if the cherubs were at each end of the ark, it seems likely that the high priest would stand, (to sprinkle the blood in between the cherubim), at one of the long sides of the ark. If he stood at one of the narrow ends, he would be looking at the back of one of the cherubim. I concluded from this reasoning that as the poles in the holy of holies ran east to west, and as the high priest faced west, and as the high priest officiated at one of the longer sides of the ark, then the poles must run parallel to the narrow sides of the ark! I have been wrong in the past though so let me know your thoughts-!!

The Argument against
One of the objections to the view above, raised by those who believe that the poles ran parallel to the long sides of the ark, is presented by the question "If the poles run parallel with the narrow sides of the ark, how was it possible to get the Ark into the Holy of Holies? At it's widest point the ark would not fit in between the 5 pillars!" (I've raised this same point myself in the past). The answer that I was given to this question was " The Tabernacle was built around the ark - the ark was not carried into the Tabernacle". I haven't found a Bible verse that states otherwise and I've asked a number of experts/Rabbis too. If it could be shown from scripture that the ark was carried into the Tabernacle, then that would throw a fairly big spanner into the works! The picture (above left) shows the Tabernacle being constructed around the Ark. You can see the shadow of the first covering being drawn over the Holy of Holies. In actual fact the Ark would most likely have still been under cover at this point, protected from prying eyes!
One final point about the position of the poles - they were low down! Not as we see in the 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' film. Exodus 25:12 says "Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet," Also the poles had to be low to be seen under the veil. (1 Kings 8:8). I've pointed out in the past that as the Ark of the Covenant seems to be the only item of Tabernacle furniture that has the rings at ground level, it was the only item that demanded the Levites 'Bow down' to pick it up!
As the high priest officiated, he was bordered by the ark on the west, the two poles on either side of him running north to south, and the veil behind him on the East. After I had illustrated this set, I came across a picture painted by Temple Institute artist Zely Smekhov depicting this scene in the same way, except his poles are higher. (See right).

The Cherubim
Once again I've avoided drawing the cherubim in detail. It's still not clear to me how they should look. We know that the wings overshadowed the mercy seat and that the wing tips touched. I've used this to obscure the view of the cherubim. The much larger cherubim in Solomon's Temple will not be as easy to obscure! One artists interpretation of the cherubim in Solomon's Temple can be seen below. I've noticed that when artists are guided by archaeologists, the cherubim usually resemble Lamassu which were Canaanite protective deities. They had the body of a bull or lion, the wings of an eagle and a human head. Although I've seen cherubim depicted this way in pictures of Solomon's Temple, for some reason they are not usually depicted this way on the Ark of the Covenant. Some archaeologists like Israel Finkelstein have suggested that "as the Israelites arose as a subculture in Canaanite society, it was only natural for the Israelites to continue using (and adopt the) Canaanite protective deities". This argument is not unlike the one above which favoured Egyptian influences over God's - except here it's Canaanite influences. (This argument sounds like its coming from a biblical minimalists perspective!) I would argue that the design of the cherubim, like the rest of the ark, was most definitely of God. Anyway, as I understand it, God's inspiration for the cherubs design was given while the Israelites were still in the Sinai Peninsula even before they entered Canaan?
We have looked in the past at the possibility that a visual description of the cherubim could have been passed down through oral tradition maybe from as far back as the Garden of Eden! In this case it's possible that the Lamassu depicted in ancient Assyrian and Mesopotamian Art might actually resemble cherubim! This wouldn't then be a case of the various cultures influencing Israelite artisans - it would be God's design influencing the artists of all other cultures!
The main problem that I see with the 'Lamassu theory' is that the description given in the Bible doesn't really resemble lamassu. For example the body of a cherub is like unto a man, not a lion. (Ezekiel 4:4-14). The cherubim also have hands, four wings and four faces. It's obvious that the Old Testament artisans clearly knew what cherubim looked like as they had both embroidered and carved their likenesses in both the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple respectively.
I wonder if the descriptions of cherubim given in scripture are meant to be strange and illusive to discourage us from depicting them! Maybe if we were able to carve or paint an accurate image of a cherub it would itself become an object of worship.

Two final points regarding the Ark: Artists interpretations vary when it comes to deciding how many Levites carried the ark. Pictures show groups of four, eight and even twelve Levites carrying the ark. Dr Elihu A. Schatz has done some research on this subject. He estimated that the ark was approximately 183 pounds (83 kilograms) in weight and concluded that "Each of the four men carrying the Ark would bear a weight of about 21 kilograms (46 pounds), which can easily be tolerated on the shoulders for extensive periods of time. If necessary, the carriers could use shoulder padding to ease the pressure of the poles on the shoulders." One final point - the main container part of the ark was constructed of wood overlaid with gold unlike the lid, (the mercy seat), which was solid gold. I only mention this as some artists have given this container a mirror finish which gilded wood doesn't have. There are some excellent photos on the net of ancient Egyptian artifacts that give us a very good idea of how gilded wood should look.
In closing, If any of you artists prefer to draw from life - for $3,350.00 you can order your own full size replica Ark of the Covenant here!

As always I look forward to your comments!
Pictures © 2011, © Zely Smekhov/Temple institute 2011.

Related posts:
Covering the Ark
Contents of the Ark
Drawing Cherubs!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Happy Easter!

I'd like to wish all readers of the Bible illustration blog a very Happy Easter!

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
John 3:16
He is not here; He has risen, just as He said.
Matthew 28:6

Also, Happy Passover to all our Jewish readers! Easter and Passover don't always fall at exactly the same time of year due to the fixed Lunar date of the feast of Unleavened Bread and the variable solar date of Easter. When they do coincide, It is fitting that as the Nation of Israel is celebrating being set free from bondage of the Egyptians, which came by the shedding of the blood of an innocent lamb, the Church is celebrating both the death and resurrection of Jesus, which set those who believe free from the bondage of sin by the shed blood of the sinless Lamb of God on the Cross as prophesied in Isaiah 53, Psalm 22 and elsewhere. This is also a time of year when both Jew and Christian traditionally look forward to the coming of the Messiah.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:5-11

Monday, February 14, 2011

Classic Bible Stories, Volume 2

Update- April 2011: I've just received an email from Amazon informing me that this book is no longer available! I'm not sure if this means that the publishers have decided not to print it, or just that it will not be available from Amazon. I will leave the post up for now until I know more. (The link to Amazon below no longer works).

I was very pleased to see on the Amazon website that 'Classic Bible Stories, volume 2' is soon to be released. Amazon has the artists listed as Frank Hampson and Norman Williams, but a quick search on Google images revealed that the cover image is one of Frank Bellamy's illustrations, not one of Frank Hampson's. Initially I was disappointed as I was looking forward to seeing some new Frank Hampson Bible art - but then I remembered how a number of people on this blog have raved about how good Bellamy's 'David the Shepherd King' was, so I've pre-ordered a copy.

I know that I've complained about the print quality of Classic Bible Stories volume 1, (and I'm not sure if volume 2 will be any better), but this is one that I haven't seen before so it'll be worth having anyway! I'm not familiar with Norman Williams art but I'll leave an update on this post when I get to see it. Presumably Williams is the illustrator of 'Paul, The Great Adventurer' although the information given on Amazon is sometimes misleading-!!
Top marks to Titan books for reprinting all this great Bible art from the Eagle comic! Can we expect a volume 3?

I was just checking the comments that came in on the 'Classic Bible Stories volume 1' post, and I came across one that I had left which said "I'm hoping that a publisher might consider re-printing the other Eagle biblical strip 'David :The Shepherd King' by Frank Bellamy, in a similar format to this book".
Again, well done Titan!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ancient Hebrew Design!

I'm always on the lookout for photos of ancient carvings on stone that give us an idea of the designs that were used in Bible times. I was very pleased to see an article in this months issue of 'Israel today' that shows a 2,000-year-old stone that has been found in the remains of a first century synagogue in Migdal. Migdal lies on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee and is thought to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. The ancient stone is carved on five sides with reliefs which include oil lamps, rosettes, columns, arches over corn sheaves, ivy wreaths, a seven-branched menorah between two goblets and other geometric designs. For more pictures that show the other sides of the stone, search 'Migdal excavations' on Google images.

The article doesn't mention what the stone may have been used for - any ideas anyone? It was found at the centre of the study rooms in the synagogue. As the stone is carved on five sides it seems unlikely that it was a base for something else.

The article goes on to say "It is likely that Jesus visited the synagogue in Migdal and may have taught there. If so, as He stood before the congregation reading from the scroll of the Torah, this very stone would have been at His feet!" After reading this, and as I had to draw Jesus teaching in a synagogue this week, I couldn't resist adding the stone! (See right). I plan on using the other designs shown on the stone in other biblical interiors.

The stone will be placed in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem. The article says "The presence of the stone in the Prime Minister's office serves as a reminder that in Temple times, as today, the menorah was the emblem of Israel and Jewish nationhood". This reminded me of something that I mentioned in a past blog - some Bible artists have used the Star of David design on the interior walls of first century synagogues. A seven-branched menorah would be a more accurate design to use as the earliest examples of a design that resembles the Star of David are only found in 3-4th century synagogues.
Green text © 'Israeli today' 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January Update!

My sincere apologies for the long break since the last post. (This has been due in part to illness). We're still in January so I suppose I can still get away with wishing everyone "Happy New Year!" I am slowly beginning to reply to all your emails and comments, so thanks in advance for your patience. Work is continuing on the 'New Tribes Mission' pictures - the latest set to be completed depicts the Tabernacle furniture. I found this a difficult set to illustrate - especially the Ark of the Covenant, as there are a number of theories as to how it may have looked! (I'm hoping to blog about the AoC soon). My thanks again to John Cross of Goodseed for the excellent Tabernacle Furniture Set - this was incredibly helpful!

There are a number of items that I've been wanting to mention, so I'm going to pack them all into this post!

International Children's Bible Art Competition
The International Children's Bible Art Competition is still being planned. I have been having discussions with Look and Learn who are happy to host the competition. If all goes well, 10,000 schools in the UK will receive an A4 flyer with the competition details. We already have an international panel of Bible artists in place, including Annie Vallotton, to judge the competition and I'm in the process of finding sponsors.

One of the currently running art competitions organized by Look & Learn is the..
EiiR Children's Art Competition.
In celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s 85th birthday, Look and Learn is holding an international children’s competition to paint her portrait. All entries will be included on a digital photo frame to be presented to The Queen, as well as appearing in Look and Learn’s online children’s art gallery.The competition is open to all children (maximum age 18) and entries will be judged in three age categories. The 24 winners will receive cash prizes totalling over £1,000 (approx. US$1,500), commemorative mugs, printed certificates, and individual press releases announcing their success.

More details here. Schools worldwide are invited to take part but hurry as the competition closes on March 14th!

Holocaust Memorial Day
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day. Please spare a minute to visit the HMD website and light the virtual candle on the home page to show your support. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who suffered so much both during and after the holocaust, and for the nation of Israel who continues to face opposition on many sides.

From the Attic of Civilization: Rembrandt and His Biblical Art
I received an email last week from Dr Leonard Girsh who is the author of a new book focusing on the Biblical Art of Rembrandt. One reviewer comments "Dr. Girsh has a wonderful grasp of the complex nuances of Rembrandt's works, tying together Biblical references to other important figures in history. He shines light on hidden concepts that eludes even the most analytical of readers. A strong theme of "the origin of thought" branching into many subjects: languages, human thinking and behavior. Truly a masterpiece!"
From the Attic of Civilization is available from Amazon

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Guest Bible Artist Interview #8

Sergio Cariello
If, like me, you grew up reading DC and Marvel comics, you're going to really like this next Bible artist interview. This artist has worked on Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Green Lantern, Flash, Fantastic Four, Iron man, Catwoman, Wolverine, X-men, Daredevil... the list goes on! It was no surprise then when the publisher David C. Cook needed an artist to illustrate the 'Action Bible' that they chose Sergio Cariello for the job!

Sergio was born in Brazil in 1964. He broke into the cartoon field at a very early age having his own weekly newspaper strip at the age of 11! After moving to America Sergio became not only an accomplished cartoonist - he was a penciler, inker, colorist and he spent 7 years as an instructor at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoons and Graphic Arts. To read a more detailed biography click here.

The interview:
Sergio, like me you were growing up during the 'Silver Age' of American comics. I can still remember some of those great artists names, Curt Swan, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, Jack Kirby and John Buscema among others. Was there a particular artist who inspired you as a youngster?
One thing to consider is that we Brazilians  did not get, unlike today, simultaneous American publications . We were a bit behind on our translated Comics which consisted of a few issues into one and collections from comic strips of various eras as well. I remember quite a few influences, including the ones you mentioned, and others - I don't know if they fall into the "silver age" category plus some European artists. Among them are: Joe Kubert ,Jim Aparo, Gil Kane, John Romita Sr, John Buscema, Jack Kirby, Nick Cardy, Nestor Redondo, Mort Drucker, and some strip and european artists: Milton Caniff, Al Williamson, John Burns, John Celardo, Sy Barry, All Capp, Albert Uderzo, Jesus Blasco, Hal Foster, Burne Hogarth, Cotsky, and the list goes on and on.

When were you first introduced to the Bible, and can you remember which one you owned?
We had a few bibles in the house, all in Portuguese. My parents took me and my brother to church when we were very young. I remember my favorite was the Picture Bible books, illustrated by Andre Le Blanc. It was the black and white portuguese version. Little did I know that those booklets were the Brazilian version of the Original American version of the Picture Bible I would end up illustrating!

You live in the US now - where are you from originally and what brought you to the US?
I was born in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil. When I wad 5 I told my parents that I would become a cartoonist when I grew up. That desire increased over the years and I begun to dream of coming to america to fulfill that goal. Especially when, in 1984, I saw an ad of an ugly bird talking to a cave man about the Joe Kubert School in New Jersey. I knew I had to attend that school so I started saving money and began learning English. My family helped me pay for the plane ticket from Brazil to America and George Theis, director of Word of Life Bible Institute in upstate NY , who knew me from attending the Word of Life Bible Institute from my home town back in 81, gave me a tuition scholarship to attend their bible institute in Schroon lake, New York.

Tell us a little bit about what was involved in producing the illustrations for the Action Bible?
I gathered books on the subject, either photographic books or paintings and or drawings , as well as DVDs and some objects and a few color prints from the Internet . Anything that could help me as reference, just like I do with every job I get to do. I'm really into getting props and objects and tons of books to bombard my brain with info before starting to draw.

We've discussed inking techniques on the blog before - it seems like graphics tablets such as the Wacom Cintiq are now competing with the traditional brush/pen and ink methods. How to you ink in your line work?
The cintiq is just another tool from my "tool box" which I use to produce my comic pages. So...No competition between them here in my studio but collaboration! I still enjoy starting my work with pencils, pen nibs, India ink, brush and paper. I enjoy the feel, the noise of nib scratching the surface of the Bristol board, and the smell of pencil lead, ink and paper. I like to get my hands dirty and to hold an actual final, real /physical product, as opposed to virtual. But at the end I scan the art and use the cintiq tablet to edit any final touches before "sending" it off through the air waves.

That's a good point - the nearest thing you have to an original when working digitally is a computer print out! How do you add the color - was it done digitally?
Yes. I submitted my own colors to get the job but I subcontracted 6 guys to help me color the pages.

There's a tremendous about of work that's gone into the Action Bible - How long did it take you to complete?
It took 3 years to complete.

I'm always amazed at how much historical research goes into cartoon strip versions of the Bible. How did you go about your own research?
With the help of historical Books, props and images I acquired from Bookstores and the Internet, I discovered how the philistines dressed and how the helmets of their soldiers were supposed to look like. I also was able to draw the pagan gods accurately. I'm sure the experts will probably find a few things inaccurate in the book but I sure tried to make everything right. I also had help from the editors of  David C Cook to point out some things I had missed.

Did you find that there was a particular Bible story that was difficult to illustrate and why?
The Battle and multitude scenes were a bit more challenging than the regular pages since they had a lot more people to draw.

One of the topics we've discussed on the blog has been 'what did Jesus look like?'. What influenced your depiction of Jesus?

I watched some movies portrayals of him and observed what other artists had done and came up with my own. I did not want to depict a weak Jesus, nor angelic, or delicate - but a tough, manly carpenter Jesus, with expressive eyes and fit body for those long walks.

Are you working on any other Bible related project at the moment that we can look forward to seeing?
I'm working on "The Christ" series, written by Ben Avery for Kingstone Media. It's a book that shows the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ based on the 4 gospels.

Are any other members of your family talented comic artists?
My mom, Celia Cariello, paints abstract art and won a few awards in Brazil and my brother Octavio Cariello who lives in Brazil has drawn for American comics. He also teaches art in a Brazilian art school.

Do you use your talents in your church - Perhaps in Sunday school?
Not yet in it's full extent. I just now did this Action Bible so I don't even know what's available from it, but I do play the guitar, sing, compose songs and lead worship in my church and I've used some of my drawings to teach the word. One time I drew a life-size Goliath to use in my preaching to a congregation in Jersey for the whole church (adults and children).

Many thanks again to Sergio for taking the time to speak to us. Looking forward to your comments.
All illustrations © David C Cook 2010-11