Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Sketches From My Moleskin While Traveling

     Here are a few scans from my moleskin sketchpad. I use it for writing, drawing, collecting ideas, sermon notes, planning and numerous other things.  I have filled three moleskins already and now I am on my fourth.  All but the last picture I drew during our trip to Italy.  Some inspired by things we saw, others direct from my imagination.  The last image (friendly scarecrow) was the initial concept for our church's Fall Fun Fest sign artwork. I hope you enjoy and look forward to your comments!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall Fun Fest Scarecrow

For our annual Fall Fun Fest offered by our church as a community outreach, I was part of the signage team that designed signs for directing traffic.  I made a scarecrow to put on each sign.  Here he is.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Magazine Artwork - Emerald Hills

Here's an illustrated version of Emerald Hills in Louisville, Kentucky where our headquarters are located for Team Expansion.  I made this using CorelDraw X5 for possible use in our organization's magazing coming out this autumn called, Tell.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Piggyback Curriculum - Exodus Kid's Series - Egyptian Dog

Here is another design from our Exodus Kid's series that we're working on.  I had fun with this one! I had the reference photo in one of my books on the Egyptian life called, The Hidden Life Of Ancient Egypt.

Magazine Artwork - Revolution

Here's some initial graphics for an article in the magazine for Team Expansion that I mentioned in my previous post.  This article is about needing a revolution in worldwide missions by the church.  Not sure what the final product will look like, but these are my initial attempts.

Magazine Artwork - Expulsion

I have been working on a few possible magazine article illustrations for one Team Expansion publications.  It's called the TELL and will be out before the National Missionary Convention.  Here's a couple versions of the first article I worked on, with a larger version of the more final look.  The article will go on two pages and the text will be in the black space.  The title will go in the arm/hand silhouette.

The article is of somber content.  It is about the reality of missionaries when "kicked out" or expelled from a country.  What is the church's responsibility when they return to the states?  How do we care for them?  How do we minister to them?

I actually used inspiration from an unlikely source.  During  WWII, the major cartoon studios in America made their own propaganda films.  This included Disney in a short called, "Education for Death - The Making of the Nazi".  I had seen them before and remembered the use of the silhouette and thought it fitting.  Above you can see a snapshot from the aforementioned short.  You can find it on Youtube, if you really want to see it.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Rainy, Warm and Drowsy

This is a illustration I did as a result of a challenge from a friend.  His challenge was "rainy, warm and drowsy" in reference to today's weather in Tulsa.  The rain is obviously from the cloud, yet implicitly coming from the cloud's tears.  The warm comes from the music that is playing which is prompting the tears.  The drowsy is the sleepy melody that is playing as the rain drip drops on the ground. 

Art notes: made in CorelDraw X5.  I designed the cloud from scratch and used a reference photo to create the violin.  The background is a photo I took of a cloudy day in Ancona, Italy from our old balcony.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Student Ministry Logo

Here's a new logo I made in my free time for a friend who is a Student Minister.  I took the word Reinvent (which he came up with) and used two different fonts for.  The front four letters are one font, and the back four letters are another.  That makes the word itself show the idea of reinventing or transforming.

Piggyback Curriculum - Exodus Kid's Series - Egyptian Woman

Here is another pic in the initial creative process of creating the new Exodus curriculum.  This is a try at a generic egyptian woman.  I didn't want the egyptian princess that we might first think of (ie Cleopatra, etc...), but went for a more normal average egyptian in her surroundings.  To do this, I have to do much study, biblical and historical.  Questions, I have to ask include: What kind of dress did they wear? What color fabrics did they have? Was there a rich, poor and middle class or just rich and poor? How did having the Jews as slaves impact the economic stature of the egyptians? What materials did they make their pots out of? Lamps out of oil, candles or what exactly?

Some might think that I just throw a drawing together, but I put much more into it than that.  What do you think of this and the other concept art?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Piggyback Curriculum - Exodus Kid's Series - Egyptian Man

Here's another image from the new Exodus Curriculum series that I am working on.  I was very happy with how this egyptian man turned out.  I will be working on several "characters" that will be throughout the Exodus series, such as Moses (baby to old man), Aaron (young to old), Pharaoh, generic Israetite man and woman, as well as generic Egyptian man and woman.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Piggyback Curriculum - Exodus Kid's Series

So, I just posted a picture of a camel that I made for the latest kids' curriculum that I am working on, Exodus.  It is going to be the first curriculum under the umbrella of Piggyback Curriculum.  I chose the name Piggyback Curriculum for several reasons.  First, we want this curriculum to "piggyback" onto whatever Team Expansion missionaries, churches and parents are already doing in teaching their kids.  Second, the idea of giving someone a piggyback ride, would be us giving a lift or boost to those same people and groups.  It's the idea of helping each other, help each other.  Does that make sense?  Well, here is a potential cover for the Exodus Curriculum pack which will include, weekly lessons (that will be made available to translate into any language that our missionaries are using), worksheets, color sheets, activities and some videos. 

Camel Work for Exodus Curriculum

Here's my first camel for the new curriculum series I'm working on.
Here's the reference photo that I used in making the camel.
Working on a new curriculum package for Team Expansion missionaries to use.  This will be a study of the book of Exodus.  Here is the first images from the new study.  As usual, I used CorelDraw, now on version 15. Not sure how many weeks the study will include.  That is one of the details that I have to hammer out.  As a general rule, I do at least one per chapter, and then add in additional weeks when a chapter is packed.  Probably for instance, each of the plagues will get their own study, even if there are multiple in a chapter.  Our church has been studying Exodus and it has given me many ideas to think about that could be used in a kids' curriculum.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Caricature for Newsletter - Doug Lucas

As we send out monthly newsletters, we include a note from the president of Team Expansion, Doug Lucas.  He shares from a big picture perspective about missions as a whole within our organization.  Since I had just reformated our entire newsletter design, I thought it only fitting that I "reformat" the image that I used for Doug's note.  See the original pic and the new stylized caricature to fit in with the rest of our newsletter design.

You can see the whole newsletter design and read it too if you want at  We hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Girl Sock Monkey

So, here's another attempt at a sock monkey.  This time I went more modern with bright girly colors.  I made this one for my niece Taylor.

Toy Story 3 Inspiration!

Here is what provides me artistic inspiration!!!! Can you see the little green army men in the houseplant?

Friday, July 02, 2010

Sock Monkeys

So, growing up my brothers and I loved stuffed animals.  Most of our stuffed animals were monkeys, either sock monkeys or the chimpanzee looking ones, based after Zippy the monkey on the Howdy Doody Show.  Since we played rough with our toys, they would rip them or their seams would burst, so Mom taught us how to repair them.  I remember early in my childhood, doing "surgery" to repair the gaping wounds that my animals came to recieve.  Later as I got older, I made puppets for use in Children's ministry and would just create projects by hand, alongside all the other mediums I would use.  Along the way, I even made a few sock monkeys, getting better each time I made one.  We were at Hobby Lobby last month, and I saw the package of Red Heel socks that you use to make sock monkeys, and I thought I would give it a go.  I was going for the vintage look, these toys have been around since the early 1900's.  I was real happy with how it turned out and a few people have asked me to make them one.  So, meet my latest creation.  Ollie the sock monkey:

Here's what he started as! A pair of socks!

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Books - New Page!

Using Blogger's new tools, I created a page for some of my books listed.  It shows where you can buy them and "like" them on Facebook!  On the blog, you can click the link at the top that says "Books" or follow this link -

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Book: The Wisdom of Pixar

A Reasonable Imagination: It's here! The Wisdom of Pixar

So, I am ordering a new book about the philosophical values found in the films of Pixar. Since Pixar is all about telling stories, what is found in those stories? There are actually many spiritual conotations in the stories of Pixar. Can't wait to read this book and tell you what I think.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Strata Via logo

Here is a logo I have been working on for Team Expansion.  It is program for college students to get experience cross culturally for a year while living in the states! Great step towards overseas missions.

You can read more about it at:

Gone Camping

Here is a background scene that I made.  Click on it to see the full picture, it is apparently too wide to view on the main blog page.  I saw something the other day with a similar scene, so later that day I sketched in my moleskin sketchbook then worked on it CorelDraw.  After I finished it, I thought it might make a good Father's Day card.  So I made it into one, converted that to a pdf and am including that here so that other's can print it out and use it.  If you use cardstock it will even look better.  Let me know if you use it!!

Get your printable Father's Day card version by following this link:

Friday, June 11, 2010

Elderly Woman with Walker

This image came to mind, and I worked on it after a few weeks of thinking of it.  It turned out pretty close to what I was thinking.  Rarely does a piece look exactly like what is in my head.  But this is pretty close.


Here's a new graphic I made recently while I was practicing.....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Team Expansion Pathways 2010 Prayer Card

This is one of the things I worked on this week.  It is one of three prayer cards for college teams going out to do missions for the summer.  It is one of our programs at Team Expansion called Pathways. You can read more about that at the following link:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Website Work: Desklamp

This is the table lamp from the image I posted earlier of my drawing table.  It is a vector based image made in CorelDraw X4.  Most of it was made with various shapes.  The glow of the light was made with a shadow effect that I made yellow.  Then I took the shape tool and shaved the sides of the shadow image, giving it the look I was going for.

Website Work: Vintage Rotary Telephone

This is a vintage rotary telephone that I made using CorelDraw X4.  It is a vector based image and will probably be going on our new website.  It will be part of the contact icon.

Website Work: Barn, Tornado, Cow and Pig

Here's a vector based image made in CorelDraw X4.  This will represent the fact that we live in Oklahoma, the land of tornadoes.  It will probably be going on our new website.

Website Work

So, I am transitioning into a new role with our missions organization, Team Expansion.  I am going to be based stateside in Tulsa, Oklahoma working on all sorts of creative projects for the 320 missionaries around the world.  I will be doing graphic design, website/video editing, continuing to create curriculum, logos, illustration, etc...

That means I have to redesign our website.  So I will post some of the images that I have been working on.  Starting off here's the main image that I am probably going to put on the main page.  Hopefully, you can tell it's an exaggerated self-portrait of me sitting over my drawing table.  I even took one of the ink drawings from my book Fat Baby and put it on the drawing table.  I gave it some perspective in CorelDraw X4.  This image was completely made in CorelDraw X4 as a vector image.

The next several items will be the icons that I am working on to link to various pages on our new site.  The other night I had spent several hours working on the file that included those icons, the above image and several other images.  Then I got a scare.  I clicked to do something and it just sat there.  It didn't look like it was working, yet it wouldn't let me do anything else either.  I waited and waited to see if it was hung up.  It was frozen.  I closed out the program and restarted it.  The file had an error on it.  It wouldn't open.  I spent several minutes wishing I had saved it under multiple names as well as searching for a possible version in the temp folder.  Finally, I noticed that there was a copy of my file in the folder where I was working.  CorelDraw had made a duplicate file when the program had an error.  I opened it with bated breath, praying the entire time.  It opened.  I proceeded to save it several times, under several names.  Now I can rest easy.

Little Big Planet: Return to Titanic Expedition

This is the seventh level that I made for Little Big Planet, a game only available on the Playstation 3.  It is called Return to Titanic Expedition.  It's a sequel to my level called, Titanic Stowaway.  You can find either of them by searching the Little Big Planet community levels or find my PS3 ID mbcross.

Get your Portable ID!