Bible Illustration Evolution!

Adultery, attempted adultery, attempted murder, and false accusations. Fun stuff!

Since November of 2015, I’ve been slowly going through my ESV journalling Bible and illustrating a page at a time. Some of my goals for this journey are to improve in

1. visual interpretation of scripture

2. artistic composition

3. linework

4. use of colour

There has certainly been an evolution of skill between my Genesis 1 illustration and my most recent illustration – Genesis 39 and 40, but I want to talk about three things I changed between Genesis 38 and Genesis 40 that I think are going to make a HUGE impact on future Bible illustrations I do. Here are my three changes:

1. Planning Ahead

Usually, when I do my Bible illustrations I begin directly on the page, not doing any other sketches or drawings on a test paper. That means that I tend to not put much thought into the composition or interesting character posing. In the first photo I shared on this blog post, I think you can see a clear difference between the first and second page. In the first page, I have a lot of little rectangular segments. In the second page, my images are composed more organically. I hope to continue to improve on this point.

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2. Change of pen

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Since the beginning of my Bible illustrating, I have been using Micron pens. However, I have recently begun to use a set of Nikko pen nibs on other artwork and enjoy their greater flexibility. I was hesitant to use them on my Bible because of the extremely thin pages, but I took the plunge and tried it and they didn’t bleed through! Yay! I think the quality of the line is much better.

3. New shading technique

I wish I had a proper scanner handy so I could provide better quality thumbnails, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me. ^_^ For this illustration, I did an overall shading with my Derwent watercolour pencil crayon of the “Imperial Purple” variety. I got all the values to what I wanted and then did the colour afterwards. Before this, I would colour things whatever colour I thought they ought to be, and I would shade them by using a darker version of whatever colour they are.

I found that doing it this new way – shading the whole illustration first – helped me think of the colours in a more unified way, instead of seeing each coloured object as a separate entity. I like how it didn’t end up having as bright of colours as it usually does, and is a bit more subtle. I also like how I felt more freedom to leave white spaces, which gives me the ability to put in some nice contrast.

I’m looking forward to continuing this project forever (seriously, the Bible has a LOT of pages!), and I hope that I’ll be able to show a lot of progress in my skill the longer I do it!

Thanks for reading!


P.S. Yes, I did say that I wasn’t going to post any more blog posts on WordPress anymore, in the previous post. My goal at the time was to do everything (blogging, portfolio posting, contact info-ing, etc) from my website but turns out diversification is kinda the way to go when it comes to people actually reading your content. So I’m back. WordPress is where blog stuff goes. Got it. 

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Time to move

public_service_announcement.jpgThank you so much to all of you incredibly faithful readers of my WordPress blog, following my unfaithful entries. 😉 I am now going to continue my blogging from Kylart.biz, rendering my WordPress blog dead. It pretty much was dead already, to be honest. Goodbye, skylarksadventures. You were so neglected that I doubt you’ll be missed. Hello, new blog! I have great hopes for you.
This has been a public service announcement. If you want to see the old, decrepit archives of my blog, by all means, stay here in WordPress. I will not be updating this blog anymore. However, if you want to see my new and exciting website, check out http://www.kylart.biz/blog

It’s been a hoot. Seeya.

A big lesson and a little gift:

The Big Lesson:

Two weeks ago during a typhoon, my laptop suddenly died.

“This is fine.” I thought to myself. “I have been without a laptop before. God will provide. No big deal.”

However, forty-five minutes later I was fighting back panic. What was I going to do – stuck in my house during a typhoon – if I DIDN’T HAVE MY LAPTOP??? How was I going to fill the hours?

“I guess I’ll just go to bed at 8,” I thought sourly to myself.

Cue a big lesson from God: I was addicted to my laptop. If I was awake, it was awake and running next to me, playing music, videos, showing me newsfeeds, Pinterest, whatever. My world existed within the rectangle of its screen.

This, of course, is unacceptable.

I am a child of God! My delight ought to be in Him! I should be able to be content in all circumstances! If I’m stuck inside because of a typhoon I should not fear, because God has given me ample skills and recreational abilities to use and enjoy. Art! Violin! Reading! Cooking! But all those things somehow seemed gray and flavorless because (gasp) my laptop was not working.

So I decided that for my own good I was quite glad that my laptop was broken and I said, “good riddance.” However, another wise voice said, “But Kyla… You actually need your laptop for your job. The lesson here isn’t ‘get rid of your laptop.’ The lesson is ‘learn to use your laptop wisely.’ It is a good tool.”

The Little Gift:

So, off to get it fixed we went. Turns out, the motherboard had konked out. This is a very expensive part of a laptop to replace, and so I would certainly have to spend some time raising support for it. It felt bitter, though, because of my revelation about my laptop addiction. I didn’t want to pay money to recover a problem into my life. I wanted to run into the woods and live off of bark and watercolor paints.

I decided that I would wait until the official diagnosis to let my supporters know about my upcoming need. It would take some fundraising, but what is a $1000 computer part to God? Nothing!

Cue the Little Gift (little because God is big, not because I’m only a little bit thankful. 😀 )

Word came from the computer service store, letting me know that my problem was indeed the motherboard, and it was very expensive to replace, and I was past warranty. However, due to some Apple policy, it was possible that my motherboard could be replaced for free!! Well!

This came to that, and two weeks later my laptop has been returned to me, as good as new, without me even having to ask for financial help at all. I didn’t want to celebrate about it until my laptop was actually in my hands (mostly because typing long blogs on a phone is very, very tedious. Partially because I didn’t want to count my metaphorical chickens before they were hatched) and now here I am, typing happily away, feeling very cared for by God.

What can we take from this?

God provides. He provided me a glimpse at my laptop-addicted soul. He provided two happy laptop-free weeks, and then he provided a free laptop!

God gives and he takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

August Newsletter

Hello, Everyone!

It pleases me to announce the END of SoCAM 2016!

What a crazy six months it has been. As you know, the first three months consisted of the “Lecture Phase” portion of the school, and the last three months were the “Production Phase,” where we put to use our new cartooning knowledge and made a culturally specific evangelistic cartoon animation. The production phase is now over for the year!

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In the Production phase, our days look much like a 9 to 5 animation job. We sit in front of our computers drawing backgrounds, designing characters, storyboarding, wrestling with Flash (which is notorious for crashing), as well as countless other little jobs that are necessary to pull together a huge project. Ok, so maybe ten minutes of animation doesn’t seem like a HUGE project, but trust me, it is. On Friday of this week, Alex will graduate and go home, and we will make further edits to the cartoon. In several weeks I’ll be able to present the end result to you! 

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In addition to our regular animation job, we do conversational ministry at the Rock coffee bar. I also am doing my best to make friends outside of my immediate SoCAM circle.

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Oh, yes, and I’m also learning Chinese four hours a week.

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I will be honest with you: It hasn’t been easy to feel at home here. It’s taken a long time to even start sticking my little roots into Taiwanese soil. I was going to spend time bemoaning my struggles and sadnesses to you in this letter, but I think instead I will tell you about what God has done to bring me through these various valleys.

  1. Though I have a sweet core group here at Create, I felt lonely with only one social circle. God has been slowly giving me access to different social circles in and out of YWAM. I’m very thankful for these new friends. The more people I know and love, the more at home I feel. Please pray that I’ll make some real deep friendships with Taiwanese people, especially as I learn more and more Chinese. In YWAM, people come and go very quickly. It’s hard to want to invest too deeply in friendships within YWAM because you never know when your new friend will have to leave. Maybe this is something other missionaries deal with, too. I don’t know. It scares me a bit, to be honest. I want to invest my life for the long term in missions, but YWAM is especially conducive to short-termers. Being a long-term person in a short-term environment can be draining. But I might be getting ahead of myself. No use worrying about the worries of three, five, ten years from now.
  1. God has given me a lot of joy in my work. The more I work at Create, the more I’m excited to learn more and more about animation. I never really get tired of doing art.
  1. God has given me more confidence to face next year. I’ll be leading the school, which is something I’ve never done before, and I have gone through some periods of anxiety about it. But the closer it comes, and the more at home I feel here, the less I worry. I know that He will be with me all the way through this upcoming season of leadership. It will all be ok. Please pray that God will speak clearly to me next year about potentially leading the SoCAM long-term.
  1. God has given me the opportunity to share my faith with some people here. I’m so thankful because sharing my faith really motivates me to do a good job with my art. The Gospel is the WHY behind the WHAT I do. When I meet someone who doesn’t know Jesus, I remember once again why the good news needs to be told everywhere! Please pray that all over the world, veils of culture, experience, lies, etc. would be lifted from the eyes of every tribe, tongue, and nation so that Jesus would be seen clearly for who he is!

I felt lethargic and weary earlier in the year, but God has graciously brought me out of that. I once again feel excited about my God and the good news he has for the world, and driven to do everything I can to proclaim it to the world.

Prayer Requests:

  1. I need students for next year’s SoCAM.
  2. That the project we’re working on now will be an effective tool to bring the good news to our target people group.
  3. That I will be able to balance my many responsibilities – animating, preparing for next year, socializing, caring for my own health, etc.
  4. That God would start speaking to me about whether or not I should stay on as school leader past my official “end date” (Dec. of next year).

Thank you so much, everyone! If you want to support me financially, please visit http://ywamcanada.org/donations.html and use my personalized code (WK11) to donate.

Kyla’s Current Events:

Hello Everyone! I thought I’d give a little update on what kind of things I’ve been doing lately.

My day-to-day activities consist mainly of sitting in front of my computer and drawing, drawing, drawing. I don’t know if you know this, but animation is actually a lot of work. Whereas in film you can just get pre-existing characters to interact with a pre-existing environment, animation requires that you create EVERYTHING. It’s like being a little god, making your little world. Don’t worry, I don’t actually think I’m a god. 😉

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We also continue to visit the Rock every Wednesday. For those of you who saw my cartoon of the awkward conversation I had with “white fever” guy, don’t worry! It’s not always like that. Yesterday I talked for a couple of hours with some friends, then went to serve drinks and coffee. I topped off the night by sitting with a group of high-school friends and having a jolly time chatting with them.

2016-07-27 - 7_the_Rock2016-07-27 - 8_the_Rock2016-07-24 - 16_puzi_film_premierLast weekend I got to have the opportunity to see the receiving end of one of Create’s film projects. Create made a live action film for local Taiwanese people this year, and I got to participate by playing violin for the soundtrack. We went to Puzi to show the film publicly for the first time! We don’t often get to see how people react to our projects first hand, we usually get a report later saying, “aw gee they liked it a lot!” or whatever. But this time we got to see the Real People watch the film. It was a very neat experience. They all wanted a sequel. 😀

I got to experience the famous Taiwanese hospitality first hand, too. They fed us every fifteen minutes, it seemed!!! We. Were. Stuffed. Lucky for us, it was delicious food.

In my spare time I take time off from my vigorous drawing schedule and… draw for my own pleasure! I also write a bit. I’m working on a comic. It’s just in the baby stages, and I’m enjoying this process. Don’t expect anything to come up any time soon. 😉 I’m taking my time. I don’t want to rush the story just for the sake of getting it out there.

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Even since I drew these character design ideas, some things have radically changed. It’s so cool how a story grows up and evolves.

Things are going quite well, but I still get homesick quite often. Please pray for me that I will live life to the fullest, here where God has put me. There’s another month left of production phase, and after that our student and some of our staff will go home. I’ll let you know what I’m doing after production phase, later.

I love you and miss you guys!

On being one color on two different backgrounds…

Since I’ve arrived here in Taiwan, I have experienced about two months of ministry There have been lots of ups and downs, but with an overall sense of “yes, this is good and where I am supposed to be.” Something you may not know is that living overseas is actually just normal life, but somewhere else. It is an adventure, but you still get up, go to work, eat, sleep, get bored, get excited, etc. just like you would at home. It’s strange to be somewhere utterly different from everything you’ve grown up knowing. But I’ve found that I fall right into the same home-habits you’ve always had (such as preferring home-made food to restaurant food, doodling during class, sleeping in, etc.) When you travel, you don’t magically become a new person. But just like one color looks like two different colors by placing it on two different backgrounds (I’m kind of interested in color theory nowadays), Kyla looks different in Asia than she does in Canada.

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The bar in the middle is actually one constant grey. It looks like a gradient because your eye is tricked by the gradient in the background. 

Which brings me to my revelation of the month: since I’ve come here, I’ve felt like there’s been an element of surreality overshadowing my day-to-day life. It’s caused me to ask the age-old, cliche question: “Who am I?” Or, if you will: “What color am I, anyway?”

At home I have people who know me, such as my parents, my brother, my best friends, my family, and my peers at Bible school. They know me in relation to a few different “backgrounds.” (we’re keeping up the color theory analogy, here. When I say background, think of that gradient grey background behind the solid grey bar that looks like another gradient. :D) My “home backgrounds” are these: Canadian home, Canadian Bible school, and Canadian church. But now I am placed on a totally different background, with people who have only known me while I’ve been in Asia. It’s tempting to look around me and become bewildered! What’s going on? Why am I here? I don’t belong here, because nobody knows me here like they do at home! I miss my friends! I miss my parents! I miss my brother! Who am I if I don’t have them? It’s also tempting to swing the other direction: Here I am who I want to be. I am not bound by my past, because nobody here has experienced my past with me! I am so different, and so awesome because now I live in Taiwan! Wowee look at me! So cool I am, yessiree.

But both of these reactions are based on a shaky foundation. They assume that my ME-ness comes from my “background,” or in other words, my surroundings. If I am removed from my home surroundings my identity must be totally different, right? It sure feels like it sometimes. Sometimes I will react to a strange situation, only to look at myself and wonder, “Where did that come from?” Or, someone will react to me, and I’ll say, “Oh, sorry! What you don’t realize is that this is totally normal, and anyone who knows me could tell you that.” But none of the people who know that behavior is normal are here. They’re in Canada. It’s a bit lonely, to be honest. Everyone wants to be known by someone. Everyone wants security. But where can you get those two things when you’re transplanted to another country? 

A few weeks ago someone asked my friend Joe, who is from Madagascar but lives here in Taiwan, where his home is. After a thoughtful silence, he gravely said, “Jesus is my home.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Because he does not change, I am not destroyed. I have forgotten this, but now I am remembering it (changeable, moveable, fickle and fragile girl that I am). Jesus KNOWS ME. And Jesus is my rock.

Please pray for me as I continue to find out who I am in light of who Jesus is. I am having a wonderful time here. I love it in Taiwan, and I love doing art! Soon we will be going on outreach to study the people group we’re going to make a culture-specific animation for. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling with inner issues like the one I just mentioned (identity, loneliness, frustration). I think that if I really grasp the concept that Jesus is my home, and that he knows me, and that he is my foundation, many of my flurries of emotion and periods of confusion would cease. I want to really GET this, because I believe it will change my life and renew my spirit.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)

To my friends and family back home: thank you for knowing me. It is difficult to be away from you.

Love, Kyla

Figure Drawing!

This week I got to live the dream. Well, maybe not THE dream… But MY dream. 😀

We started the week off with a lesson that I adapted from THIS blog entry: “My life, and a reflection on the art therein.”   I wanted my class to know a bit about me as an artist before I started telling them what to do. We quickly moved on to some basic, practical lessons on the figure, proportions, gesture drawing, portraiture, color theory, negative space, etc. I think that the most useful part of the week was when we all actually got to practice. We had three different volunteers come in to model for us, and on Friday we went on a drawing excursion to the Chiang Kai-shek memorial, which was very relaxing and fun.

I started off the week feeling a bit nervous. I know how to draw, but do I know how to tell other people how to draw? My students were very encouraging to me, and I have left the week feeling confident that I was able to impart some real practical points that will help them be better artists. I am excited to teach this more, in the future. I am also excited that these drawing skills that we learned this week will be able to be used to tell unreached people groups about The Very Good News.

I attached a little gallery of my sketchbook entries from the past couple of weeks. Enjoy!

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