Thursday, July 09, 2015

Elijah vs the prophets of baal

It's so easy to miss those small details when illustrating a Bible story. The little details that we often skim over in our Bible reading are often the ones essential to the Bible artist. The Bible illustrator is looking for all those little visual details because they have to recreate a particular scene. Does the text mention a table? or a chair? How many people are in the room? What type of room is it? Is it light outside or dark? Is a certain type of tree mentioned? All these snipits of information, that are of less importance in a Bible study, help the artist to recreate the scene accurately.

Back in 2009 I illustrated a 'one off' picture from the life of Elijah for a proposed children's Bible (that didn't materialise). The picture was from the biblical account of Elijah vs the Prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18). Before I started this picture I wanted to get some idea of what Mt Carmel looked like so I went to one of my favourite sites -!
I managed to find this photo (left) which is thought to be the traditional site of the contest in 1 Kings 18. The Bibleplaces website says "This is probably the best view of the area of Elijah's contest, assuming tradition is correct.  The monastery of Muhraqa is at the top of the hill, but tradition places the contest slightly lower near a spring."  You will notice from the photo that there's lots of grass around - so, not thinking, I drew lots of grass! Now, if I had paid more attention to the beginning of the chapter, in 1 Kings 18 I would have noticed that there had been a great drought in the land for a number of years and there was a severe famine! At the beginning of chapter 18, it says that King Ahab sent out Obadiah, his palace administrator to look for grass to keep the horses and mules alive! So, presumably there was little or no grass to be seen! Last week I finished a new set of pictures based on this same biblical account and, needless to say, I made sure that all the backgrounds were dry and dusty - not a blade of grass in sight!

There are 6 pictures in this new set retelling the story of Elijah vs the prophets of Baal. As I was illustrating the picture depicting the 12 jars of water being poured over the sacrificial bull, I realised just how precious this water would have been at the time of a severe drought! So I illustrated the crowd looking on in horror at this apparent waste! I was reminded of the scene in Mark 14:3 of Mary and the alabaster pot of very expensive perfume being broken over the head of Jesus. The disciples looked on in horror and complained that this ointment could have been sold and the money given to the poor. There's also another similarity in these two accounts. Jesus was also being prepared, like the bull in 1 Kings 18, to come under the fiery judgement of God for sins not His own.

The second mistake I made in 2009 was in the way I had depicted Elijah. The problem is, you don't find a physical description of Elijah until 2 Kings ch 1! From this description you can see why some of those in Jesus' day, (who would have been familiar with 2 Kings ch 1), thought that John the Baptist was Elijah! (John 1:21) Both men do sound very much alike in appearance! In fact, Zechariah 13:4, does seem to suggest that there was a certain dress code for prophets - almost like a badge of their profession! In some versions, 2 Kings 1:8 is translated 'He was a hairy man', but most versions translate verse 8 as 'He wore a garment of hair.' Just to play it safe I've depicted Elijah as a hairy man and wearing clothes woven from hair!

Picture 1 shows Elijah confronting Ahab. Picture 2 depicts Elijah explaining the contest to the people. Picture 3, (right), shows Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal and Asherah. The prophets are cutting themselves with swords and spears as was the custom. There is a stone image of Baal and an Asherah pole in the background. Picture 4 shows the people emptying 12 jars of water over the sacrificial bull on the altar set up by Elijah. The water is pouring down the stones and into the trench around the altar, mixing with the blood of the bull. Picture 5 depicts Elijah praying. Those in the background look heavenward in anticipation. Picture 6 shows God answering Elijah's prayer with fire! The fire consumes the sacrifice, wood, stone altar and even the soil! I've shown a lot of steam as the fire licks up the water in the trench. The people are falling down in wonder crying out "The Lord - He is God! The Lord - He is God!"

This Bible picture set, along with many others, is available from

Photo © 2015

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter to all our readers and Best wishes for Passover to our Jewish readers.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Bible Picture sets: Update

For the final day of my week long Blogathon I thought I would give an update on how the picture sets are progressing. As you may remember, we have changed the format to widescreen powerpoint, (16x9 approx), and this is working out well. The set I'm about to finish is the 12 spies spying out Canaan, (Numbers 13), in 5 pictures. The story completed before that was the 'Serpent of brass' (Numbers 21) in 6 pictures, (sample above). Before that was the Tabernacle and it's furniture in 9 pictures.

How am I getting on with the Cintiq?

I'm still happy digitally colouring on the Wacom Cintiq although I've gone back to using brush and ink for my line work as I've still not found a programme that replicates a good brush line. Another peculiarity of the Cintiq is what someone has called 'Cintiq Jitter'. Take a look at the example on the left - the lines (top right) have been drawn quickly. As the lines progress to the bottom left the pen is traveling slowly over the cintiq's surface. See how the line goes wobbly? Even if you draw a line slowly with a rular, the line will be wavy! This can be annoying if you are trying to follow a pencil rough - your pen goes one way and the line goes the other! I was told by the Wacom helpline that this is caused by there being another computer close by - I tried shutting everything else down but it didn't help.

When I originally set up the Cintiq the main problem I had was trying to match the pen tip to the actual drawn line. I didn't think that I could get used to drawing if they didn't match up. When you ink in with a brush you are watching the very trip of the brush. Now, it's not so much of a problem as you soon get used to watching the cursor rather that the pen tip. Don't worry about getting them to line up - they won't!

One final problem that I hear about is Lag. You draw a line and a couple of seconds later it appears! I've not had that problem much, (only occasionally), and I think it's probably down to how powerful your computer is. On the good side, it does speed up your workflow (eventually), and it's much more natural drawing with a pen than a mouse. This brief review, (Cintiq 24HD), probably won't make it onto the Wacom website but these are points here that are important to artists and these are the observations of someone who has never used a tablet before.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Keith Neely KickStarter Bible Project

You may remember reading the interview with Bible artist Keith Neely back in 2007. If not, check it out! Keith emailed me last week about a Kickstarter project he's started - Click above or read the details below:

At last there is a good possibility I’ll be able to go to press and print the very first NASB illustrated Bible.  The project is the complete Bible and is Word for Word NASB text. (New American Standard Bible) I say  “a good possibility” because it is a “Kickstarter” project. (An Internet Site that funds creative projects.) If I FAIL to reach my goal amount within 30 days, I receive nothing. The minimal donation pledge is $65 and is not processed unless the goal amount is reached. The gift that you will receive, for your donation, is a copy of the book with your name printed in it as a contributor. (Note: The price of the complete NASB illustrated Bible on 2 CDs is $69.90 and the cost of the complete ICB illustrated Bible in 10 paperbacks is $99.50) So actually, you will simply be buying it in advance of the printing at a small discount. I don’t think I have to tell you the importance of this FIRST edition being available to countless children all over this country who would never read a Bible on their own, let alone follow, understand, enjoy and remember what they read. Remember, ALL the other “comic book” Bibles are re-written “Stories” from the Bible. Ours is an actual and accurate Translation in graphic novel form. If you don’t know of any children to give this Bible to yourself, please email this letter to everyone you can. Here is the fastest way to see my project: Go to “” (Official site or Discover projects.) and in the Search Projects box type “NASB” , click in the picture that pops up and there you are. There are thousands of projects so mine could get lost unless I get some activity and move up. If you have any questions, go to “Kickstarter Help Center” Thank you so much for any involvement, Keith Neely

There's about 12 days left to raise the cash needed, so if you like the sound of this project head on over to I would be interested to know of any other kickstarter projects relating to children's illustrated Bibles.

Friday, January 30, 2015

The Missing Blog!

One of the main reasons that I've not been blogging for a while is that I'd been feeling a little despondent after losing my old Blog. I've had a few emails from readers asking "why the blog has changed?" and "where had all the great links gone?" This is how it happened - Unfortunately, I was tempted by Google to try out one of their new templates. It said in the blurb that if I didn't like it, then I could click a button and 'Hey Presto' my old blog would return. Well, I tried a new template, didn't like it, clicked the button to return to my old template and a notice came up saying that I couldn't have my old blog back as the html coding was up-the-creek! Not in those exact words but words to that effect.

For anyone who didn't see the old blog - there were links to other Bible picture resource sites, links to many Christian and Jewish Bible Artists, links to Bible artist resource sites covering everything from buildings, clothing, customs etc etc. The were easy to find links to the most interesting posts including Bible artist interviews. And on top of all that everything was colour coded - which is the reason why my photo is green! All the links had been gathered over the last 8 years and were all neatly displayed in lists down the side of the page. I have saved all the html coding in the hope that I might meet someone who knows about html coding and could fix any errors that I've done. But, I'm still not sure that Google would let me go back to an old template even if I did that - It looked so much better though.

The only other thing to do is to find a template that allows you to make lists down the side and start again! If anyone out there can advise me I would greatly appreciate it. I wanted to include a picture of my old blog on this post but I couldn't even find one!!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

NTM Bible Pictures

Today is day 4 of my week long 'Blogathon' and I'm still on track - but only just!

Today I wanted to give an update on the set of 209 pictures that were completed a while ago for New Tribes Mission. All 209 pictures are available now to buy on DVD for $59.95 click here for more info. The pictures are being used in some of the remotest places on the planet by NTM missionaries.

Mike Henderson from New Tribes Mission has, very kindly, been keeping me up-to-date by sending me photos, (and the odd movie), of the pictures in use - they are wonderful and humbling to see. (Thanks Mike!) Also thanks to Robin and Rosemary Griffiths.

I thought it might be nice to share some of these pictures below. hope you like them. Click on the pictures for a better view!

lbaloi Church leaders see the pictures for the first time:
A display of the pictures in Santani town, Indonesia.:
Working with the Pwo Karen tribe, Thailand:
The Mwinika tribe hear the Gospel in Mozambique, PTL!:
Below are some screen shots from a short subtitled clip where four of the men, (Aziana tribe), who are helping with translation discuss the pictures from the Tower of Babel set. (Papua New Guinea).
Photos ©NTM 2015

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

New Website!

Last week saw the launch of our New Website! Most of the pages are up and running apart from the 'STORE' that will eventually be selling all our latest Bible picture sets. Hopefully this will be live soon but with over a thousand pictures to put up it might take a while!!

Joni Hudson has taken some amazing photos of the camp site and YOU MUST check out his film clips on our Foundation Matters Facebook page - they are stunning!

The Camp and training centre are now up and running too and many successful children's camps have already taken place and more bookings are coming in for 2015.

Please take a moment and browse our website - your prayers and support are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Kuzmino Chronicles

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day here in the UK. A few weeks ago I was sent a book written by my good friend Dr Nathan Moskowitz. KUZMINO CHRONICLES: Memoirs of Teenage Holocaust Survival documents the turbulent Holocaust saga of Leib and Gittel Moskowitz, (Nathan's parents), in their own words.

Leib and Gittel Moskowitz were both born and raised in Kuzmino, a small town in Transcarpathia, in what was then Czechoslovakia. As children they hardly knew each other. In May 1944 when they were both 15 years old, they and their families were herded off to Auschwitz in cattle cars... Both miraculously survived their ordeals and after liberation spent many years waiting to go to the USA. Lieb spent this time in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany while Gittel spent these same years in the UK, (Manchester and Burnley!) Their separate life trajectories re-converged when they both settled in New York where they became reaquainted, married and raised a family.

The book contains many corroboratory historical documents and photos juxtaposed alongside their memoirs. It's an incredibly stirring account - I highly recommend it. I'm going to make sure that the Manchester Jewish Museum gets a copy!


Dr Bat Ami-Zucker, Department of History, Bar-Ilan University

Monday, January 26, 2015

Good News Bible interview

My sincere apologies for the long delay since the last post! To make up for it, I'm going to try and publish one blog every day for a week! (I did say try). Here we go with the first one!
The interview with Annie Vallotton, first published on this blog back in September 2008, has been reprinted in the latest editions of the Good News Bible! There are three editions - 'Rainbow' for children, 'New Life' for teens to young adults and 'Sunrise' for the rest of us! All three editions include the interview and some of Annie Vallotton's pictures that have never been published before! Last summer there was an exhibition of Annie's pictures on display at St
Martin in the Fields, Trafalgar Square, London. (I know, I know, I should have blogged about it then!) I had the wonderful opportunity of seeing Annie's pictures in the flesh! This was the first time the pictures have ever been on display! It was a very grand event complete with Cellist - top marks to HarperCollins! Paula Taquet-Woolfolk came over from Paris especially for the event so it was wonderful to finally meet her. (Picture right). Paula originally interviewed Annie in Paris for the Bible illustration blog. Paula gave a little speech and shared a few memories of her meetings with Annie.
Many of the pictures were framed with the original acetate overlay complete with the red block. (see left). This was the old way of adding a tint to a picture. Some of you older artists reading this will remember using these overlays. (I certainly do!) The hand written text along the bottom of the picture says "WHILE DAVID AND ALL THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL DANCED..." The interview is easy to find - they couldn't have printed it any closer to the back - it's on the very last page! It's also an edited version of the interview! But don't worry, you can still read the full one here!