Monday, November 21, 2011

Abraham and Isaac

My Sunday school class gets first crack at my pen and ink drawings, though I don't tell them I did them.  They don't need to know that.

In this story, Abraham has been called by God to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice.  Abraham sets off to do his grim duty, determined to follow the instructions of the God of the universe, no matter how counter it seems to everything that has passed before.
Of course, once he has proved that he was willing, God stops him and tells him to offer a ram instead. 

I won't go into the theology of this story here though, just the art.   Abraham is old and determined; Isaac is young and trusting, but puzzled. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bible illustrating

For my sixth grade Sunday school class in Old Testament, since we use only the bible as our textbook, I try to provide some visuals for the kids. 
I may not actually use this piece, because it's really rather a minor story, but I am trying to learn to do pictures with more action in them, and this scene was full of action.  Sodom is about to be destroyed, and the two angels (looking like regular travelers) are trying to convince Lot's family that it is urgent that they leave NOW.

Looking at the work of some of the great illustrators: Howard Pyle, N C Wyeth, Seth Fisher, and I see tension, bodies in movement, and then I looked at my pictures, and they were all quite still.  I realized I needed to learn to portray the tension that is at the heart of a story where there is high emotion and high stakes.

When I started doing watercolors, I thought I was pretty much putting pen and ink aside.  But I do really love line drawings.  And for this purpose, for handouts to my students, I can copy these on the school copier, so black and white works where color would not.   

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The stuffed animals try some gymnastics

Another postcard for Tofu

Japanese schools have a wonderful event in the fall called the undoukai, or Sports Day.  In it, all the students and many of the parents, friends, and neighbors participate in various relay races, games, contests, and performances.  The older children (Sixth grade) do acrobatic manoeuvers like pyramids, and other feats of skill that in the US we reserve for cheerleaders and gymnasts. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to go to Japan for the undoukai at Tofu's school in September, and so I got to take part in the games.  We have some photos of Sixth graders making pyramids, which Big Dog (lower left) thought looked very fun.  He got together some of the other animals and together they made a pyramid.  But after two rows, the ones on the bottom started to get quite tired.  Who could they find to be on top, who would not make the pile too heavy?