Thursday, October 23, 2008

UBS 'Global Illustration Project'

Attention all Bible Artists!
I've Just received an email from Randolph Capp in Germany with details of a very exciting project being organized by the 'United Bible Societies’. The ‘Global Illustration Project’ is looking for Bible illustrators to produce around 200 Bible illustrations for use around the globe. An excerpt from Randolph's email follows:
An artist's opportunity of a lifetime – a global illustration project!
The United Bible Societies is a fellowship of 145 national Bible Societies working in over 200 countries. Bible Societies serve Christians in every continent, providing Scriptures at a price that people can afford. Bible Societies are not affiliated to any one Christian denomination, but serve all Christian churches and develop products and services appropriate to local needs.
One of these needs is for Bibles and Bible storybooks, both for children and families. Toward that end, the United Bible Societies is seeking to commission artists on a work-for-hire basis to produce a collection of 200 high quality, colour illustrations that any national Bible Society can use for this purpose. In a sense, the collection is best thought of as a database of artwork from which Scripture materials can be produced. It is to be called the UBS 'Global Illustration Project'.

The level of artistic expertise for this work is high. Illustrators must be "visual translators" of the Biblical events. All costumes, architecture, fauna, and ethnicities must be accurate to the text. In addition, the artist's style must be acceptable across a wide range of cultures and aesthetic tastes. While a single artist for the entire collection is preferred, it is more realistic that an artist is commissioned for the Old Testament and another for the New Testament.
Any artist interested in submitting samples and pursuing further discussions about the UBS Global Illustration Project is invited to contact Randolph Capp, (UBS Design Consultant).

Randolph sent me two sample illustrations, (one shown below) as a guide to the artistic level required. Randolph added, “We’re not necessarily looking for artists who can duplicate this particular style, but who can depict realistic, complex compositions in a manner that is not stiff and boring, like so many classic Bible illustrations”.

I'll try to keep you up-to-date with news about this exciting illustration project.
My apologies for the delay since my last post. I'm still recovering from a bad dose of flu!

I now know that the illustrator of the picture above was Patrick Berkenkotter. You can read about his experiences working on the UBS Global Illustration Project here.


Paul Green said...

This sample reminds me of comic book artist Alex Ross who paints from live models and photographs. Realistic photo style with dramatic angles.

I look forward to seeing the finished project. It will be a huge task for whichever artists they choose.

Hope you're feeling better Graham.

Bible artist said...

Yes Paul, this style is similar to Alex Ross. Alex Ross uses very strong lighting in his pictures too which this sample also contains.

I'm slowly recovering Paul, but Alison is still poorly. Thanks for asking.

deboraw said...

So, Graham, are you going 'global'? My condolences to ya'll for being 'poorly'. May you all be well soon. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

Thanks Deboraw!
To answer your 'global' question, our pictures are already global thanks to the 'Bible Picture Website'.
The G.I.P. is a totally separate project run by UBS which is looking for possibly one or two artists to produce Bible pictures for an international database of Bible illustrations.

deboraw said...

Graham, I guess that's right, duh! Lol. I'm not blond, but my (blond-haired) son (not to mention names but his initials are, Jeremy) says I've missed my calling. ;p) Have a nice week end. Deboraw

Paul Green said...

Increasingly in illustration and film we see the influence of computer graphics with its 360 degree swoops and dynamic point of views.
It can become tiring and too extreme though. Too removed from reality - hyper-reality. But this is the direction we are headed.
Biblical illustration will probably move in the same direction. As youngsters graduate from Art College in a computer simulated world this will affect their illustration choices.
Already I see the traditional paint brush, inks and paints being relegated to history as everything gradually becomes digital.
This is affecting illustration. Sometimes for the better. The level of background detail in many new American comic books is impressive. Animated 2D series look far superior to the limited 1960s-1980s product.
If it moves Biblical illustration forward from the Sunday School style of illustration it could be a boost to getting youngsters interested in the gospels.
I personally like the traditional methods. I was surrounded by it in my childhood. But I'm certain this style looks very dated to youngsters today.
We have to accept change and embrace the digital age if we are to move forward. But the Biblical artwork will be much different as a result. I don't necessarily see that as a bad thing.

deboraw said...

Graham, I think Paul has a point as far as the direction of future illustrations, and I also agree that I prefer the older techniques. There is something about having my oil paints smeared on my face and hands that you will never get with a computer, lol. I really get into my work, you see. But there are often 'trade offs'. Sometimes we don't even know what we've traded off. Sigh. Then there is the 'balance' aspect. My little people enjoyed their lesson on 'Jesus' baptism' even though we just used clothes pin dolls dressed in robes, and a plastic whipped topping container. Nothing fancy, computer either. Smile. Deboraw

Bible artist said...

I would welcome some new styles coming forward in Bible illustration. In fact I would encourage kids and young people, who are interested in Art and the Bible, to start drawing now!
There is a growing demand I think for more modern types of Bible illustration as this post clearly shows. It's not just the Bible Society either. After Graeme Hewitson's 3D Bible illustrations were shown on this blog, he received a request from 'Boys Life' magazine to produce a monthly Bible cartoon strip for them! That's been going really well.

There are publishers though who still want to use a more traditional style of Bible illustration, I received an email last week from 'National Geographic' who are looking for a Bible artist to produce a new book on the Bible and Bible Archeology. They particularly liked the art of William Hole and wanted to know if I knew of any Bible artist with a similar style.
I'm encouraged that there are still some publishers, Bible societies, and Missionary organizations that are willing to invest in new Bible illustrations, (in all styles!)

I personally like the 'Sunday school style' of Bible illustration. It has a timeless quality to it. Bible illustrations tend to date when the artist uses the hairstyles that are popular during their lifetime, (like Frank Hampson did in the 1960's). This is what will probably soon date the Manga Bible.

didier millotte - illustrateur said...

Hi ! I want to share with you some pages of the graphic novel gospel i made for a french catholic publisher in Paris... you can see some pages here :
I'm christian, graphic novel and children books artist. I live in south of France. Thanks.

Bible artist said...

I love your Bible art Didier! A nice use of color too.
I've added a link to you from the blog.

didier millotte - illustrateur said...

Thanks !

Patrick Berkenkotter said...

I'm the artist who painted that sample above. Two years after abandoning their Global Illustration Project (to work on an Alex Ross-written mini-series), I can't believe they still couldn't find an artist to replace me. Really hilarious...

Speaking of Alex, working with him as my art director these past 2 years was awesome! It's coincidence that 2 people who've worked together may appear to have the same painting style. There are many differences, one is that he uses opaque gouache, I use transparent watercolors...

Anonymous said...

I know the artist who painted that picture. Why is it that neither "Bible artist" nor Randolph Crapp are giving him the credit that is due him? Just give the name, for crying out loud. When Paul G said that the style was similar to Alex Ross', why was the actual artist's name not given?

Bible artist said...

Hi Anonymous
Sorry, but both Paul G and myself don't know the name of the artist! If you could enlighten us we would appreciate it. Even the artist (Author) didn't give us a clue. All those who do know, including yourself, are keeping quiet-!!

Bible artist said...

It's Randolph Capp by the way!

Paul Green said...

So Anonymous knows the name of the artist but doesn't tell us and the artist himself posts and doesn't tell us his name. Are we supposed to be telepathic? Only kidding Author and Anonymous. Just tell us. I didn't omit to mention the artist for any reason other than I didn't know him. But I am pleased I recognized the Alex Ross link...

Patrick Berkenkotter said...

Thanks Anonymous! You're right, Randy is Crapp. :)

@Paul G and Bible artist,
It doesn't take a telepath to figure out that clicking my username will show my name and complete profile. If it doesn't work, never mind.

I'm sorry if we're showing a little vitriol about Capp. There're good reasons why I rejected TWICE what Capp calls "a once in a lifetime opportunity" project, and he's one of the reasons why I left.

The UBS project was a total nightmare and demoralizing work experience. I was underpaid and treated like garbage. I almost transformed from devout Christian to atheist overnight.

Bible artist said...

Thanks for that Patrick - I do normally click on the username, my apologies! Sorry to hear that you had a bad experience working on the UBS project.

Paul Green said...

Quite an impressive resume Patrick. Yes I've had experiences with plenty of poor paying publishers in my time. So has Graham. :)) But people treating you like dirt is something I can't tolerate either.

Patrick Berkenkotter said...

Graham and Paul, thanks for the kind words. It's sad we artists get shortchanged sometimes. I approached the Global Illustration Project humble and servant-hearted so I charged 30% of my desired rates which are standard industry rates, all I asked in return was their respect, gratitude and more spiritual enlightenment, but I got none.

I was maltreated because:
1. I was their 3rd(or so) choice. They really wanted an oil painter but was unaffordable, here are his samples:

2. The UBS believed they were paying me good money so they felt they had the right to yell at me, insult and ridicule my work, etc. They were condescending and too demanding. These are just the tip of the iceberg of the many horrible things I experienced from them. I'm currently writing a detailed account on my newly-created blog.

Once again, I'm sorry if I was a bit rude back there. It's nice to meet you guys. Love your work...

Bible artist said...

One of the nice things about running this blog is having the privilege of meeting other artists like yourself Patrick and sharing our experiences - both good and bad.
Thanks for the link to Lawrence Jose's website - his work is amazingly photographic!

Sometimes artists, whose work is photographic, find it difficult to paint those biblical scenes which cannot easily be set up for photographic reference.
Artists who rely too heavily on photographic reference often don't find it easy to change things, (such as hairstyles), in order to make them look more authentic. A poor choice of models and clothing can make the disciples look like a bunch of software engineers at a Toga party!

Patrick Berkenkotter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Patrick Berkenkotter said...

I agree. I admit my work for the UBS GIP children's book suffered because I had no access to proper models. I live in the Philippines and only had Filipino neighbors as models. To correct this,I used 1:6 realistically-sculpted action figures for my faces.

I also bought the most realistic toy camels,sheeps and donkeys I could find for my Bible animals. My baby Jesus was modelled from a lifesize doll. You could see the crazy things I went through for this project. At best,my toy models were only good for lighting reference,the rest was up to me. I posed for Mary,Joseph,Herod,etc.

Randy offered to visit Israel to take posed model shots of the people there,but he didn't because he "was too busy." All they did was throw DVDs at me for reference: "just copy what you find there."

To add to my confusion,the Philippine Bible Society instructed me to "keep the faces neutral so they don't depict a specific nationality" so the project will be more acceptable in different countries. This is just an example of the conceptual overthinking I experienced from them.

I wish I knew about your site back then,it would've helped my work immensely.

By the way,I would like to share this around before I get a defamation suit from the UBS: