I must read this– and that– and this!


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The Half frame003binternet is a lot like impulse buying.

You find yourself inundated with articles you didn’t know you needed to read, things you didn’t know you needed to look at, videos you didn’t know you needed to watch, and arguments you didn’t know it was important to dedicate three hours responding to.

Sometimes you just need to let it all slide by and live life.
It’s enough.

No Rules, No Art


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Art consists of limitation. The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.

G.Carl OstersetzerK. Chesterton wrote that, and he was right. If we don’t have a standard by which we measure what we see and create, we have no right to call a masterfully executed painting ‘art’ and that overflowing trash can ‘not art’. If there is no limitation, you cannot call one thing beautiful and another ugly. You have no point of reference for discerning between the good and the evil. I read this article a while back, and it really stuck with me. The author, Zach Franzen (himself an illustrator), talks about many artists in our modern day– who set themselves up as the standard for beauty, and expect their audience to bow to their definition. Why is that garbage can, littering the sidewalk with noxious refuse, art? Because I said so. Because I decide my own limits, or lack thereof.

“No limits!” sounds like a battle cry of freedom– when really it is a declaration of slavery. 

The truth is, we cannot escape having a standard by which we live. Everyone has a starting point from which they view the world. Everyone, whether they are conscious of the fact or not, are governed by principles that tell them what is beautiful and what is abhorrent. Liberty is possible. But it must take place within boundaries, or it becomes chaos.  There is great freedom for personal expression, yes– but it must be done within limits. Liberty within law. They are not antithetical to each other. A man cannot pick up a pencil, write nonsense, hold it upside down, read it backwards and then insist that the gibberish he just spoke was deep and meaningful. Self expression is where the universe revolves around us (or so we think), and we define what is good and evil. We need to remember that we are sub-creators, not Creators. Only God has the authority to define these things. Am I saying that there is no room for your personal style? No, not at all. I believe that there is great room for personal culture– for creating beautiful things that reflect your personality. But the key word is ‘beauty’. What you create must meet up to the standards that God has set for art and music and aesthetics. In summary, we can know what is and isn’t beautiful, what is and isn’t good, not by looking to ourselves for definitions, but by acting within the boundaries of Him who defines all things. There is liberty within law. ...it is impossible to be an artist and not care for laws and limits. Art is limitation; the essence of every picture is the frame. If you draw a giraffe, you must draw him with a long neck. If, in your bold creative way, you hold yourself free to draw a giraffe with a short neck, you will find that you are not free to draw a giraffe. The moment you step into a world of facts, you step into a world of limits...

And the Lord answered my prayer


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Ilya Galkin

{Artist: Ilya Galkin}

My Lord is so kind.
I’ve been working on a project, an illustrating/handlettering set for friends. We went over and over different designs. Days were spent trying to perfect one concept after another, only for us to come to the end and decide that they weren’t right after all.

Time was running out yesterday afternoon. Schedules were packed, and  yet this important project was getting nowhere. One more design was set forward for drafting.

I started praying over it as I bent over my paper once again. ‘Lord, please, please, guide my pencil and help us find the right one soon…’

Rejoice evermore.

Pray continually.

 In all things, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus toward you.”

-1 Thessalonians 16-18

Henriette Browne

artist: Henriette Browne

I was about a third done with the concept draft when plans were changed again. Time had run out: we were just going to settle for a ‘meh’ design that no one was particularly excited about.

“O.K.,” I replied, laughing to ease the stressed nerves between everyone. “No worries.”
Just for the sake of it, I sent a photo of the design I had been working on. “I’ll stop this and work on the  new one.”

“Wait. Hold on.”

Guess what? That prayed-over, last-resort design was EXACTLY what my friend had in mind originally.

We’d finally found the design. THE design. The one we were going to make official. We didn’t have to settle

Nervously, still praying “Oh, Lord, don’t let me mess this up now,” I went back to work on the remaining 2/3rds that had not yet been ‘invented’. I have a fairly loose designing technique sometimes: I just sketch randomly until I hit on what I like. Not this time. I tell you, the design flowed, and every element just appeared under my fingers– perfect.

And today I drew the opposite side. Again. Perfect on first try. I’m telling you, the Lord is wayyyy too kind to me.
Michael Dudash called He Shall Hear My Voice.

“He Shall Hear My Voice” by Michael Dudash

Another moral to the story: I don’t pray a quarter as much as I ought.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
Philippians 4:6

The Industrious Hedgehog (& co.) returns


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While working through possible-card-designs, a family friend (you know who you are, Mrs. B) was so kind in her remarks about my hedgehogs (which I’d forgotten about). Not real ones, it’s OK. I mean my drawn ones.

Soooo, those will probably be on the first cards released.

[drawn last night with pencil & watercolor pencil]


In which taking pains pays off, and so does haste


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One day.

One handlettering piece. IMG_0859

I don’t like working with pressure to finish a thing ASAP. I did it. But I rushed at the end. And that messed it up, and messing it up upsets me. You know, one of these times, maybe I’ll learn?

But still, it was nice to sit inside by the fire and draw and love on one of my favorite verses. IMG_0858

But it’s done.


The Effects of Death Upon the Living


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Our scene opens upon two young men conversing together. One is of very earnest and animated countenance, with a manly bearing and the stamp of virtue upon his face; the other is of a manner more carefree and inclined to enjoy the youthful pleasures of life without considering the more sober, but necessary elements. We come upon Joseph, the former, speaking sincerely upon the matter of death.

4cc8c8d67e88a5f9e1c04bc07325f876“The voice of a dying man seems to be more readily hearkened to than that of his lusty neighbours. Perhaps this is on account that death strips away vanity from his thoughts, and he is given new eyes to shun that which is of no account in the ever-approaching light of the world to come. Death! How it banishes the thoughts of vain pleasures and the care for esteem of men. For who so foolish as  to seek the acclaim of masses when his soul is quickly departing to the Presence of the One before whom the opinions and esteem of men hold no weight?”

Joseph paused his elaborations. Charles rested a firm chin in his hand and gazed across the fielded meadows and hills below. “But,” he answered, “I have known men to die in very different states than such as you have described. Why, John Cosper not a year ago, with the knowledge of his impending death, spent his last days carousing and drinking until he was laid so low that he was unable to rise from his bed, and even then kept up his profane speech.”

“This,” said Joseph with a smile mingled with sadness, “is too often a manifestation of the effects of death upon the unconverted soul. They cannot bear the agony of their spirits which should surely attend them should they allow themselves one moment’s solemn reflection. So, to quench such uncomfortable thoughts from their minds, they throw themselves into as much distraction and gratification as they can. Indeed, I have known men who are not faced with death to behave so. It is not uncommon— no, for it is the very nature of every man to have a void in his soul which clamours to be filled. And only one thing can fill it!”
Joseph rose to his feet and walked about excitedly. “only one thing can satisfy the deepest want that lies in the bosom of every man since Adam. And that thing is the Lord Jesus.”

“I knew it would come back to that,” said Charley whimsically. “You always manage to cram a great deal of religion into your lectures, Joseph.”
Joseph was not swayed by the carelessness of his companion. “Death is said to be man’s enemy, but I cannot help but think that the Lord has also given him the touch of a friend. For, though many men reject his calling, he bids them to take a close inspection of their lives and see whether they will pass muster on the final day. Death sometimes merely passes the door of a man, giving him a good shaking-up before passing on, which gives a renewed view of life, its brevity, and the importance of seeking those things which hold eternal value.”

“It’s all very well for you to speak so,” returned Charley, “but I have no thoughts so morbid as those which you seem to find pleasant companions. The way you talk, one would think that you derive pleasure from an evening at the grave-yard, among the foreboding stones.”

“As well I do, after a fashion,” replied Joseph, smiling. “I have often improved an idle hour by taking my books to the quiet solitude of gravesides to reflect upon the brevity of life and to prepare my soul for the life to come. It is not an unwholesome practice as it might seem, Charley. Oh, it could be rendered so by such modern thinkers as regard death with a sort of worship, considering those things that are manifestations of the Fall and sin as worthy of much contemplation and study. They are lacking the very element that makes such reflections profitable- and that is looking always upward to the Cross of our Savior and King. All studies must ultimately point there. If they do not, no matter how highly regarded, they are worthless and destructive. The light of the Cross alone gives wisdom, and no scholar or university can profess to know anything apart from it.”


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