New

It’s been a long haul over the last few months. With Christmas and my birthday out of the way, I finally had the time to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time – publish a book. And not just any book, a colouring book!

For Christmas, I like to give gifts that mean something. That usually means home made. All of the women in my family got a copy of a colouring book I’d been working on for the past few months. It was a bit of a trial run, so to speak. Everyone loved it.

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My mom’s beautiful handiwork.

It’s always amazing to see how different people interpret my work. Every page coloured is unique, not only to me, but to the individual who colours it.

 

After doing some research, I decided to self-publish. Not only does this mean that I didn’t have to go through the ordeal of having my book torn apart by an editor, it meant that I could have my book ready to go in a matter of days rather than months.

So now I’m published! You can find my first colouring book on CreateSpace or Amazon.

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The Cost of Salvation

Lately, I’ve been inundated with church brochures and flyers. Whether it be from a church I’ve visited, events I’ve been invited to or samples to look at, there is one resounding similarity. They all suck. Well, maybe not all, but at least 90% of them do. 

This got me thinking. One of the major responses I’ve had from ministries it that proper design is just not something that’s in the budget right now. My question is this: what is one salvation worth to you?

This past weekend my church hosted a one day seminar on Pursuing Your Destiny. This was the graphic we plastered all over the newspaper, church and social media:

Destiny

Aside from making people slightly uncomfortable by having a giant eye staring at them, it drew a lot of attention. For me, it was all worth it when a women who was in attendance came up to me and said that her only reason for being there was because that graphic caught her eye.

How much stock do we in the ministry put into what we’re showing the world? I was recently handed a leaflet for a youth event that looked like something that would have been handed out back in the day when I was still in Sunday school. No young person that I know of would be drawn to an outreach that’s represented like a kids event from the 90’s.

Whether it’s in the budget or not, we need to be aware that people are looking at us. We’re being watched closely and when we get a chance to reach out, what are churches offering? Something whipped up in Word with cheesy clip art and all caps.

Hey church, what is a single salvation worth to you? Personally, I think it’s worth making room in the budget to present something that’s worthwhile that will actually draw people in rather than push them away (and I’m not just saying that because I’m a graphic designer and would be more than willing to help you revamp all your graphics).

Misery

tearsIn speaking of vision and God’s call on your life, I have heard it said that one should embrace their misery and make it their ministry. This doesn’t mean one needs to be horribly sad and depressed all the time. It means to take that certain thing that bothers you, that speaks to your soul, and do something about it.

If you hurt for orphans, maybe you should adopt or consider working at an adoption agency or at an orphanage.

If you can’t stand amateurs who try to run sound in the church, maybe you should learn how to do it yourself, do it well and train others to do it well.

If you’re tired of reading the same old fluff that fills bookstore shelves everywhere, maybe you should write what you’d want to read.

Me, I have a big issue with churches who present themselves as behind-the-times and obviously cheap. As a Christian and a graphic designer, I grieve for those churches who are still letting a little old lady type out the bulletin on a typewriter and, every once in a while, use clip art. (And by clip art, I mean the old school stuff that comes in a book, needs to be photocopied, clipped out, taped onto the page and photocopied again.)

So what am I going to do about my misery? 

Well, I’ve already taken over all of the graphics in my own church, but that doesn’t mean I’m not at all bothered by nearly every other church out there. I’ve recently opened a new section in my Etsy shop for Church Resources. While I’m not holding my breath that people from all over will flock to my shop, the resources will be there, available for download for those who really want to make their church look good.

Click here to visit my shop.

The New Old-Fashioned Way

EscadaIn art and design, old always becomes new. We look back to former styles to gain inspiration for new pieces. This is a universally accepted practice in the creative world. It is okay to look back and see what great designers did before us and borrow from their inspiration and genius.

The images shown here were a part of a History of Art and Design course. Our mandate was to create a new advertisement based on an old style – to make the old new again.

Via Rail

In churches, we often see the old, and we often see the new, but rarely do we see them together. Some churches are stuck in the past with a rich history of art and tradition. They shy away from newfangled things like drums and fancy lights. Other churches run from the past and right into rock bands and arenas.

But is it okay to take a little of both?

To start of 2014, my church – like many others – participated in a fast. The purpose was to seek God in a more fervent way and push into breakthrough and revival. In the pursuit of revival, one can hardly stare ahead without looking back to see what God has done in years, decades and centuries past.

 

Grand Hotel

We look back to see great moves of the Holy Spirit late in the 19th century in New York and the United Kingdom, early in the 20th century in Australia, Wales and Los Angeles (Azuza Street), and even more recent in the mid-1990s in Pensacola, Florida and Toronto, Ontario. What did all of these awakenings have in common? The move of the Holy Spirit. What started the first revival way back in the book of Acts? The move of the Holy Spirit.

So, when we know what the cause of revival is, do so many Christians refuse to look back at the rich heritage of those who have gone before us? 

Let us begin to look back and learn from those who have truly seen God answer their prayers in amazing ways. If God is the same yesterday, today and forever, surely the next revival is bound to be found clinging to the coat tails of a great move of the Holy Spirit. The past is not something to be feared, but to be revered and respected, learned from and brought back into relevance by those bold enough to take their inspiration from it.

Seeds

ImageI have heard it said that there are no original ideas. That what we may consider something new and original is only a theme or variation of another existing idea. We takes seeds from a full blown thought and plant them to begin a new one.

If you plant an apple seed, is it considered the same tree from which the original apple came? or is it a new tree?

Every book hold the seeds of a thousand stories.

~ Jessica Hagy, writer

So here is my question: are we, as creatives, merely harvesting seeds of someone else’s idea, or are we taking those thoughts and recreating them into new, original works?

I choose to believe that there still are original ideas. We were, after all, created in God’s image and he is The Creator. Just because one idea sparks another doesn’t mean it’s not original. It just means it holds the same potential as that apple – an entire orchard full of apple trees that are heavy with more apples all with that same potential.

 

Sometimes you just need to show up.

admit-oneAs a creative person, I know what it is like to live in a moment of brilliant inspiration. When, in a flash of genius a fantastic idea pops into your head and you wonder where the heck it came from, but you are just too glad it arrived to question too much. You take that idea, shape it, guide it and, when it is fully formed, it is a wonder to behold.

I also know what it is like to live in the doldrums of creative block. There is nothing creative about you. Even breathing is boring. You turn to hanging upside down over your chair just to get a different perspective on your boring surroundings.

But what sparks creativity? How do you get that moment of brilliance in the midst of your complete and utter boredom?

Show up.

I am an expert at procrastination. I am so good at it, I wish I could make a career of it. But the problem with procrastination is, though I’m very good at it, there is nothing satisfying or fulfilling about it. You can avoid the blank page as much as you want, but it will always remain blank.

In order to overcome creative block, sometimes all you need is to show up. Try something. Draw something. Bang your head against a table. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

I think the church is often guilty of this same procrastination. We go to church. We read our Bibles. We pray. But are we really there? Do we really show up?

Come near to God, and God will come near to you.

~ James 4:8

Like creatives who never put a pencil to paper to experience creative flow, how can we really expect to experience the flow of the Holy Spirit if we don’t show up? You might not have that overwhelming, bring-you-to-your-knees kind of experience right away if at all. But if you keep showing up, God is sure to come and meet you there. In fact, he promised that he would.

Let me try a bite first.

Elizabeth Jordan PortfolioIn my line of work, there is no shortage of people who just don’t understand the process or what they’re really paying for. Graphic design is not just a product. It is years of training, hours and hours of training the brain to think and react creatively, it’s concept development, hours staring at a blank piece of paper or computer screen (yes, this really is work). The final product is only a fraction of what design really is.

Too many times, I’ve seen people looking to hire, but refusing to even consider a designer who does not provide samples before any decision or payment is made.

“Please send mock ups.” 

“I will not hire people who can’t provide me with at least 3 ideas first.”

“Don’t bother applying if you want to be paid for the first round of work.”

To me, that’s like going to a fine restaurant and asking to sample half of the menu, but refusing to pay for it until you’ve made a solid decision on what you want. Or going to the grocery store and peeling every banana to check for bruises under the skin before you head to the checkout. Or going to a museum asking to see some of the exhibits to see if you’ll really like it before paying the entrance fee.

In most cases, people don’t expect something for nothing. So why do people expect it of designers?

Why do we expect it of God?

Do we ask God to prove himself in a certain task before we trust him completely? Or do we trust him implicitly based on his previous track record because we can see that he has proven himself over and over in his portfolio of previous work?

Open for Business

Image

When something good happens in your life, what’s the first thing you do? Do you act as though everything is normal? Like nothing has happened at all? Or do you call or text the first person who comes to your mind to share the good news?

On December 31, 2013, I opened up shop on Esty. For fear that people would think I’m just yet another to try and make a few extra bucks, I didn’t tell anyone. And you know what happened? Nothing. I didn’t have a single visitor to my new little shop.

I’ll admit that, many times, I’ve also done this with my faith. Jesus is the best thing in my life, but who am I telling about him? Am I keeping him to myself hoping something will miraculously happen or am I shouting it from the rooftop? I’ve been saved! I’ve been set free! I am loved! How will anyone ever know about this amazing person in our lives if we refuse to let anyone know.

Like my little shop, I made no difference to a single person until I told someone about it.

Go ahead. Make a difference. Tell someone.

For printable scriptures and original art, please visit my shop here.

I lost my permission slip.

ImageRemember those little slips of paper you used to cram in your backpack and painstakingly smooth out for your parents to sign just to you could go with your classmates to the skating rink? Someone needed to sign off so that you could do something you wanted to do.

How often do we go through our lives waiting for permission from the people around us to do the things we really want to do? I know I spent years waiting for something that has yet to happen. My life was on hold. I was in limbo – afraid to take a giant leap and do what I really wanted to do because someone may or may not agree with me. When I finally took that step, it wasn’t even of my own choice. It was more of a shove from behind from my parents (and I was long past the age that my parents should have had to be pushing me, but I am so grateful that they did). Now I have a diploma in a field of study that I love. Only that’s not the end of it.

A fancy piece of paper a gold seal, my name and a few unreadable signatures does not a new life make. There are still many areas in which I need to lose that permission slip and stop waiting for the approval of the people around me to do what needs to be done to get where I need to be. I need to stop worrying that I might have the same idea as someone else and if I do it, too, I’ll look like I’m a copycat, that my ideas aren’t good enough, that my skills and knowledge aren’t up to par. I need to start believing in the One who gave me my ideas, skills and the ability to learn.

You answer us in amazing ways, God our Savior ~ Psalm 65:5

It’s time that we all give up those old, wrinkled permissions slips and stop waiting for the people around us to qualify us to do what we already know God has called us to and allow Him to answer is in amazing ways.

Do you know who you are?

i know who i amSo many people are on a quest of self-discovery. They want to know who they are. They want to know what their purpose is. Why are we here?

Going into this new year is a great time to remind ourselves of who we really are and what our purpose is. The graphic above contains only a small portion of scriptures that state exactly who we are in Christ. There are no questions, it’s all there in black and white. This is who I am and my purpose is to walk in it. It’s that simple. You don’t need to go on a great journey and shuffle through a stack of self-help books that will only leave you more confused than when you started.

There is only one book you need. The Bible. Everything you ever wanted to know about who you are and what you are capable of is there. Start with some of the verses here. Save the picture to your desktop. Look at it every day and be encouraged that you can be confident in knowing exactly who you were made to be.