Sunday, November 3, 2013

St. Gerasimos, the Lion, and the Donkey

This is a lovely old story, a legend about a saint who is a favorite in the Eastern Orthodox church.  St. Gerasimos is out walking in the Jordan River valley, when he comes across a lion, limping and holding one paw up pathetically.  The lion holds his paw out to the saint, who sits down, examines the paw, removes a large thorn, and binds up the paw with a clean cloth.  Then the lion follows him back to the monastery and stays there, whereupon the monks give the lion a job.

I won't tell the whole story here, (You can read about it here.) but I retold it, painted three illustrations for it, and it has been published (with one illustration) in a small Catholic children's magazine called St. Mary's Messenger.  The story is in the Fall 2013 issue, which just came out.

Monday, July 8, 2013

More English reading lessons for Tofu

 As Tofu's Japanese reading gets better and better, it becomes harder and harder for him to put himself through the effort of reading English, in which the pronunciation of the words is not necessarily obvious, and the content is necessarily somewhat elementary, since his reading vocabulary is so much smaller than his speaking vocabulary, and smaller yet than his thinking processes.

And of course eventually he will learn to read English in school, since Japanese schoolchildren do learn.  But he will learn from someone whose English skill is far less than his own.

So I think that it is a challenge well worth our effort, Tofu's and mine, to keep working on English reading. My challenge is to make lessons that are fun, not too simplistic, that he will enjoy enough to look forward to--not dread--letters from Grandma.  His challenge is to read them.

This particular rule, about how an "e" on the end of a word makes the vowel say its name, is one that he actually already knows.  But occasionally he stumbles over it, and so I thought it was worthwhile to make a whole interesting lesson on the subject.  Besides it was quite fun to find words that worked for this exercise.                                                                      

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

John 14:23--29

This drawing was done for the Sixth Sunday of Easter gospel, in which Jesus tells his disciples that he is going away, but he will send the Holy Spirit to be with them.

It is meant to go on a folded sheet of letter-size paper, and printed 5 inches tall.

The readings for the season of Easter are all from Jesus' discourses in John's gospel.  They are all rather non-visual, a challenge to find an image for.  For this one, I decided on showing Jesus with the door through which he is going, though his hand could be reaching out in a gesture to his disciples as well as to the door handle.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Good Dog

The Chinese (not Japanese) characters behind the boy say "Good dog" (at least that's what I hope.  The left hand one is Good and the right one is Dog.  If they would use a different way to say it in Chinese, I wouldn't know.).  This was the initial painting for a book that I am hoping to finish the illustrations for this year.  It's a true story of finding a puppy lost and cold on the streets of China, and bringing her home to America.

In fact, however, I don't expect to use this picture for the book.  I'd like the actual drawings to be somewhat simpler and flatter.  Also, the format will be different from this, with square pages.  So the image to illustrate this page, where the boy explains to the now grown-up dog that she came from China, will be a double page spread, twice as wide as high, and the text will be incorporated in the picture.  

But I liked this image.  I used my former next door neighbor boy Tate as a model for the boy in the picture.  He patiently posed for me, holding a stuffed dog and talking to it to try & get in the mood.