Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Banner for Grace Church, An Inspiration for Future Children's Book Illustrations

In the fall of 2010, the pastor at Grace Episcopal Church in Anderson, SC asked me if I could design a banner for the church.  Since the church is so much more than the building in which it is contained, he did not want the banner to contain an image of the church building itself.  Instead, he wanted to focus on the four gospels.  In the Book of Kells and other Medieval manuscripts, the four gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) were symbolized as a winged man/angel, a winged lion, a winged ox, and an eagle.
Grace Episcopal Church has beautiful stained glass windows, and it was these windows that served as the inspiration for my banner.
My concept for the banner involved designing the banner to look as though it were a stained glass window in the church.
These shapes at the edges of all the windows were incorporated into the sides of the banner as well.
After I completed the banner, the local Anderson Independent Mail newspaper ran an article about the banner.
I also incorporated the symbols for the four elements behind the four gospel writers: water, fire, earth, and air.
My process involved drawing the design in pencil, then inking it with Pigma Micron pens.  Each intersection between lines is contoured to resemble the leading between stained glass panels.  I then scanned the illustrations so that I could complete them in Photoshop.  After photographing the actual windows in Grace Episcopal Church, I used the computer to "paint" the colors and textures from the stained glass into each "pane" within my drawing.
I uploaded my design to, an amazing resource in North Carolina that prints onto all kinds of fabric.  My finished banner was approximately 36" wide and 42" long.  Spoonflower was able to print my banner onto upholstery weight fabric.
After nine months of working on the banner, it was finally dedicated in the summer of 2011.
Best of all, the technique I employed for the project inspired me to illustrate a children's book manuscript in the same manner!
After sending my manuscript to Bronze Man Books at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois in February 2012, I was formally invited in March 2012 to illustrate a manuscript that they currently had in production.  The book, Am I Like My Daddy? by Marcy Blesy, is scheduled to be released in December 2012.  Am I Like My Daddy? is already available for pre-order on Bronze Man Books website:

Future posts will offer a sneak peak into the story and illustrations for the upcoming book!  

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Peace Montessori

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