Tag Archives: Art

Think like a Youth Pastor

It’s good to be your own target audience.

I am currently striving to market these custom LIFE Group shirts to youth pastors and group leaders who will be attending the massive 6000 person conference.  I need to understand their perspective.  I need to think like a youth pastor…..

Actually, that shouldn’t be all that difficult, as I peer up from my computer screen to see various junior high centric games, odd costumes, event posters, and countless shirts that remind me of my current position as youth pastor of Chippewa Alliance Church, a position I’ve held for 8 years now!

I am striving to make the often arduous task of getting custom shirts for groups a painless, easy affordable process.  Thus I’ve created various design templates and mockups of all difference genres and styles that will hopefully appeal to youth groups from the Pacific Northwest to the Heartland of America to the East Coast and everywhere in between.  It is incredibly simple to plug a name, church logo or anything else into the design!

I’ve wracked my brain for weeks, doing hours of research concerning design trends, apparel options and custom logo work.  I’m trying to prepare myself for the deluge of youth groups clamoring for unique shirts that will enhance their identity and become a keepsake of a fun filled journey that they will remember for years to come.

I know that youth pastors need an easy process when it comes to getting shirts (they are already pulled in too many different directions, T-shirt aesthetics should not have to be one of them).  They don’t want their kids to be embarrassed of the shirts that they order.  They want options and the ability to add their unique elements to the apparel.

They’ll have to see these shirts for years to come as their leaders and students wear them to youth group, retreats and all nighters (and eventually have them sewed into quilts reminding them of those wonderful high school years).

They might as well be really, really cool!

Awake FinalAwake

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Date Rose Collaboration

Date ideas can be hard.

After one of our first fateful dates my wife Tara and I decided that we were both artsy folk, that it would be fun to do some drawing together.

We grabbed a large drawing pad, a few different pencils and laid down in the living room of her large victorian home. We looked for an object that both of us would have fun drawing, that would allow our differing styles to flourish.

We found it.

A rose.

We giggled and flirted as we drew. We would comment on how different our styles were. Tara would criticize her version relentlessly as I would try to convince her voraciously of her innate talent.

Thank God that she kept those drawings, strewn on that large piece of paper.

11 years later and we are married, we’ve collaborated on many works of art; the two best ones are named Josiah and Malachi.

Years ago Tara decided to frame our work. It it is one of our most cherished earthly possessions.

The personal treasure hangs in our stairwell.

I see it every morning and I smile.

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The Dangers of No Deadlines

Thus far I have been amazed at how little time I have actually had to work on this comic. Seriously, it would seem that I have been sabotaged at every turn; as if an enigmatic cosmic force was hard at work to knock me off course, devour my fleeting free moments and mock my inmost desires to produce this book.

Making a comic is hard.

And I’ve barely started…..

It’s nice having no deadline, yet I have found that when there is no point where I have to turn said project in or risk not getting paid, receiving a poor grade or being physically beaten, other work projects tend to take precedence.

I have found a few rare moments to scribble here and there (one of them just so happened to be in a 3 hour meeting, I just kept doodling on the cover of my red moleskin inconspicuously).

I am becoming accustomed to the character of Kavik, trying to find his voice and appreciate his motives, flaws and strengths. I find myself thinking deeply about the history of this absurd world I am striving to bring to life.

Time to press on and continue down this road!

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The Intro Page is Penciled

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I have the intro page penciled.

It’s the journey of a thousand miles that starts with the first step right here.

Throughout the entire venture today I had to fight the fear of failure, of messing up in some massive or minute manner. I had to constantly tell myself “just put the pencil to the paper and forget the rest.”

I have spent years terrified to do this for a plethora or reasons and irrational fears. I had to get beyond those phobias and just do it.

Once I was into the art itself I had achieved Shalom. Balance. Peace.

For those few hours of harmony that I had to work (the Hardie brothers and their mother only allow me so much time to toil away in the Man Cave) I was so happy. It felt as if I had been born to do this. I daydreamed a bit, allowing myself some exciting, enticing moments alone with my thoughts.

I am going to try and pencil 4 or 5 pages before I start the tedious, meticulous process of inking them (my strong suit).

This is exciting.

You ARE what you Fantasize About

In October we put the Masks on. Young and old alike slip into different costumes and attires, some more ornate than others yet all with the intent of becoming somebody who we are not for a brief moment of frivolity and escape. We laugh and giggle as we attend the parties, walk the streets and revel in the differentness of the moment. We get to be somebody else for a few seconds, appearing as another of our own choosing.

What if we weren’t becoming somebody else? What if we were more accurately expressing who we really are? What if the mask we put on was more of a complex portal peering into who we truly wanted to be?

I think back to my early Halloween costumes. Various super heroes, each year’s get up determined by the stage I was in and the feeble materials I could weave together to construct my disguise. I remember a year that I dressed up as Zorro, wearing a black garbage bag as a cape and my father’s black cowboy hat. I painted on a massive mustache and wrapped a piece of cloth around my head with two poorly placed eye holes cut into it (I could barely see out of that thing). I grabbed my plastic sword in my right hand and giant eagle bag in the left as I rushed out of the house to trick or treat in the cold of October (finding out that garbage bags do very little to insulate oneself against Western PA’s frigidity).

As I grew older, during tumultuous teenage years I would brandish a brown trench coat of my father’s, tie a piece of fabric around my head pushing the bowl cut flowing locks out of my eyes and carried a bo-staff I had broken off from the big sycamore in the front yard. I had whittled away at it with my pen knife making it as straight as I could, covering it with black electrical tape. A few playing cards later and I would be Gambit of the 90’s X-Men fame.

As I look back on those costumes I realize that they said something about my heart at the time; a thermometer dipped into my psyche. When I was very young I wanted to be a dashing hero, potent and wise, saving the day and disappearing into the night.  I was not very brave, in fact I was downright cowardly, I dreamt of being the opposite. During my tumultuous teenage years I wanted to be a smooth talking ladies man who was charming and confident. The mere thought of talking to girls put my stomach into knots, the acne, braces, thick rimmed glasses and deep lack of anything that resembled self esteem or confidence constantly reminded me I was indeed nothing like Remy LeBeau.

Gambit David

I desperately desired to be these symbols as I was hilariously lacking their attributes. On lonely bus rides to and from my prison known as school I would imagine myself to be these heroes, decimating my foes, winning the woman and righting all of the perceived wrongs in my tiny little world.

I believe on a heart level, what we dress up as, what we fantasize about is more real to who we are than almost any other factor. Consider how limited we all are by our genetics, environment and resources. Would Bruce Wayne be Batman if he wasn’t a Billionaire son of an ambitious doctor, who experienced the death of his parents at an early age? Who would Peter Parker be if he were not bitten by a radioactive spider? Even to some extent who would Peyton Manning be if he were not Archie Manning’s offspring, growing up immersed in every element of football. There is a sense of fate and destiny in all of those stories, fixed outcomes that many of us just don’t have the gifting to achieve.

But we can do anything in our minds. Any. Thing.

In our fantasy worlds we can be anybody we want to be, that is why it’s is so appealing. We can get utterly lost in it, burning through hours playing role playing games, reading comics and watching movies. But does that make it any less “real.”

There becomes this expectation that during our culture’s month long celebration of Halloween (or all year long at Comic Book Conventions) you can dress up as anything and it really has no bearings on who you are, you’re just having a little bit of fun. That is why if you head to a costume shop of any kind you will be assaulted by all of the sexy outfits that exist. Sexy Nurse, sexy fox, sexy cow, sexy serial killer……

There is a desire to be sexually adventurous at least for one night, at one event. It really doesn’t mean anything does it?

People think that they are dressing up as somebody who they are not; yet in reality they are probably showing us more of their true selves more than they realize. Just the selves they would be if it weren’t for those pesky societal norms and moral expectations levied against us.

It becomes scary when our true selves become obsessed with the dark, with vengeance with killing maiming and devouring (most of our first person shooter game). Let’s be honest our fantasies can take us to some chilling places. If I were to plug a flashdrive into your brain, download the content for a day and upload it to Vimeo (let’s be honest, there’s not way we’d get that stuff past Youtube’s filters) how would that make you feel?

Ask Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold if their fantasies ever became realities. Don’t know those names? Does the word “Columbine” stir up any memories?

Chilling thought huh?

From my understanding of Scripture, when Jesus tells us if we lust after a woman we are committing adultery with her in our hearts, or when we hate our brother we are guilty of murdering him he is not merely making life harder on us; heaping more archaic rules on our weary shoulders. Jesus is pulling back the veil and showing us the reality of the human soul. He is showing us that our true selves is that which we fantasize about, that which we would do if only we had the resources or if nobody else was looking.

No affair starts without a fantasy, no murder without hate. It doesn’t have to go that far to define us. May our heroes be true, may our true selves seek to do good. May the intent of our hearts be to strengthen and protect.

It says much of us if when we desire to be Spider-man giving it all, Superman swooping in and Captain American standing up for what he believes in.

God looks at the heart.

Our Masks are portals into our soul.