Artwork: Choose This Day…

christian, luke 23, Jesus, Salvation, folk art, art, illustration, My Soul Among Lions, Psalm 1, John 14:6

The above artwork I illustrated about five or six years ago, and is based around Luke 23:38-43, John 14:6 and Psalm 1. It’s designed to have more of a folk art appearance, and incorporates a number of themes from the scripture it’s based around. It portrays Christ on the Cross (Luke 23:38-43), but the Cross is also stylistically part of a tree (as referenced in Psalm 1), and is the source of light and life (as referenced in John 14:6). Of course, each side has those of humanity who have chosen how to respond to the message of salvation, with those on one side having chosen a path that leads to destruction (also referenced in Psalm 1) or those who have chosen to follow Christ, and have become a part of His Kingdom (Psalm 1, John 14:6 and Luke 23:38-43). It prominently asks the viewer to “Choose This Day”, as life is fleeting and there’s no time like the present to decide how you personally would respond to the salvation, hope, peace and purpose in life (and in the life to come) that only Christ offers! (Check out Axiom’s Peace in our Lifetime Flyer or What in the World Brochure!)

I’ve also really been encouraged over the last couple of months by the music of My Soul Among Lions (which I wrote about recently at Modern Christian Music: Advancing God’s Kingdom). They have such a fantastic bluegrass/folk music sound, with inspiring lyrics from Psalm 1-10, that I thought this artwork would be something they might appreciate. As a result, “Choose This Day” is dedicated in thanks to this talented group, and their future work in helping many others stand for Him!

Thoughts? Let me know in the comments section! Also be sure to subscribe to this blog (so you don’t miss any future posts) and check out my Artwork tab for great christian cartoons, illustrations and resources available to help share His Truth!

Christianity When Held at Gun-Point

christian, artwork, optimism, optimism for the future, pessimism, pessimisticNote: I received the following write-up from someone in regards to a discussion on how we might work more effectively in sharing the Light of Christ to a broken world. It’s a very heartfelt letter on what our response should be in the face of difficult or tragic circumstances, which I now share with their permission. I hope you find it a blessing as much as I do!

I was wanting to write a few thoughts regarding a difficult incident I experienced one night a number of years ago. It was then that I was robbed at gunpoint with my young son nearby. After being held captive by this individual for several minutes, I was able to grab my boy and run across a four lane highway to safety – all while wondering if we’d be chased down as we ran. Thankfully, during the encounter, I was clear-headed enough to understand that the wisest course of action for this particular incident (out of concern for my son) would be to offer no resistance to the attacker.

During the time I had a gun in my back, I really did think about the possibility of being shot in the next few moments, and what this would be like for my son to witness. I prayed to the Lord, knowing that it – as all things in life are – was ultimately in His hands. Since then, I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy whenever I recall those feelings or the face of the attacker. But it did gradually get better, which I owe to the many prayers of my friends and family, and to the watch-care of our Father.

A couple of verses I have found encouraging are Proverbs 18:10 (which was sent to me by a friend) and reads, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” I also found Genesis 3:4 to be of interest, and how the serpent said to Eve that if she ate of the fruit, she would know good and evil. As I look at the devastation and chaos of sin all around us – “knowing” evil has indeed wrought an unimaginably horrific toll upon this world. Sometimes it seems like it can be pretty easy to become calloused or dismissive of evil when there is so much in the news and in the newspaper. But then, like what happened when we were robbed, it became very personal for us. Thinking of the person who threatened me and my son – while I hope for justice, and safety for others who might encounter this dangerous individual and his cohorts – I also pray that he will come to know the Lord some day. Because let’s be honest. Reforming bad behavior starts with the heart. And the only way to truly change the heart is through Christ.

Hope for the future, hopeful, peace on earth, goodwill toward men, christian, christianity, Christian ReconstructionismFurthermore, as that evening clearly demonstrated to me, there are no shades of gray – despite what a world apart from Christ might say. There’s right, and there’s wrong. As such, that night a couple years ago has served to powerfully reinforce that as a Christian, this life is no game. There are eternal stakes here. I’m as guilty as anyone about sometimes not taking on the responsibilities I should as a Christian – looking at a world gone mad on the television or in the papers – and shaking my head wondering why the Lord doesn’t intervene. But then, He already has. He’s intervened in my life, and in the lives of millions of others, through the power of His Spirit. Hope? Change? Purpose? Our world doesn’t know the true meaning. But as Christians, WE DO! May we all endeavor to work for Him in ALL spheres of life, and be ever more effective in sharing His Truth a world so desperately in need of the brighter tomorrow that only He can bring!

Don’t forget to follow this blog or share with a friend! Also be sure to check out Axiom’s Artwork tab (where a lot of awesome christian cartoons, illustrations and resources are available), as well as the Artist Page (where you can find interviews with great Christian artists)! And don’t forget to check out our books and resources tab, as we’ve got some really great ebooks, pdf resources and outreach materials available for you to use for FREE! Until next time, have a great day!

New Artwork: Not of This World!

alien, peace, love, Christ, Jesus, UFO, artwork, illustration, vector

The above piece of vector art was a LOT of fun to create. My goal here was to create a piece that would be fun for kids and adults alike, especially for those who might enjoy more of a sci-fi theme. As such, I went for a retro spacecraft along with a really cheerful looking alien communicating a simple message of “Peace, love and Christ”. If you like it, be sure to leave a comment or let me know via email at axiomillustration (at) outlook (dot) com. I’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to follow this blog or share with a friend! Also be sure to check out my Artwork tab (where a lot of awesome christian cartoons, illustrations and resources are available), as well as the Artist Page (where you can find interviews with great Christian artists)! And don’t forget to check out our books and resources tab, as we’ve got some really great ebooks, pdf resources and outreach materials available for you to use for FREE! Until next time, have a great day!

Artist Interview: The Creator of Kyrie!

Kyrie, artwork, illustration, Matt Crotts

In addition to being the illustrator for the extraordinary KYRIE graphic novel, Matt C. (MC) has a Masters of Science in Medical Illustration, a BFA in illustration and five years full-time professional illustration experience. Some of the programs he uses to create his impressive artwork includes Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop,Illustrator, InDesign, Aftereffects and Flash) , Maxon Cinema 4D and Pixologic ZBrush. In the following artist interview, I was able to speak with Matt about what inspires him – as well as about KYRIE (from Ancient Greek Κύριε, pronounced “Keer-ee-ay”), a graphic novel set in 3rd century Roman North Africa. It follows a curious band of thieves, traitors and cut-throats as they attempt to outsmart the Imperial authorities, while navigating their own dark and competing desires as outlaws of Rome! Enjoy!

Axiom: Thanks for chatting with us! First off, what could you tell our audience about your work? MC: My comic, KYRIE, is a heist adventure story set in 3rd century Roman North Africa. It is my attempt to blend my illustration interests (european comics and euro-manga), my storytelling interests (character-driven travel sagas) and my passion for ancient world history. But my overall investment in the project has been directed towards learning how to convey Christo-centric themes without using Biblical allegory. Allegory is a time-honored approach to storytelling, but is only one of a great many storytelling approaches, and I am attempting to contribute to some of those other approaches, in my own small way.

Matt Crotts, character, artwork, illustration, designAxiom: How did you get started in this area? MC: Like a lot of comic creators, I grew up watching tons of movies. There was a time when I wanted to be a film director. But I didn’t read comics as a kid, particularly because comics as an American storytelling medium didn’t popularly expand beyond superhero subjects or comic strip usage until really the last ten or fifteen years. I wasn’t interested in comics as a medium until I saw their potential for conveying compelling narratives of any genre, and produced in any style – and this wasn’t until I saw Kazu Kabuishi’s Flight anthologies while in art undergraduate school. Flight showed me that comics were limited only to the constraints imposed by their creator – that they were a just a medium like any other. And then I found Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant. From then on, I was hooked.

I think comic writing and illustrating is my way of ‘directing’ a visual story, in a way that isn’t dependent on the technical and budget challenges of film. I just need to keep up with the motivation to turn off the TV and work on KYRIE instead.

Axiom: Do you have any favorite books, movies, artwork or games that you find inspiring? MC: The art that I get excited about mostly comes out of Europe. The comic artists from there seem to my American eyes to enjoy a smorgasbord of Eastern and Western influences, much broader and freer than those in the States. Steven Universe is just one example of the sort of blended style that I enjoy (though the story I don’t really get excited about). Anime from the 60s through the 80s, Belgian ligne claire comics, and many other bits of influences are regularly on my mind. Oh, and Japanese wood-block printing – can’t get enough of their flowing folds of fabric!

Kyrie, artwork, illustrationAxiom: Do you have any interesting stories regarding the work you’ve already done in this area? MC: I have always wanted to find a character drama wrapped in an adventure story, set in an ancient historical setting. A big reason I’m making KYRIE is because I think it’s still very much an underserved market. There are some contemporary graphic novels set in historical time periods, and many are excellently crafted and very successful for what they’re meant to be – neat character pieces, with a plot for backdrop. But mostly the historical setting is presented superficially, and lacks the research that, in my opinion makes a setting truly immersive. And there are many fantasy stories that have plot satisfyingly serve the arcs of the characters. But very, very few recently created, historically set comics where the setting is a character in itself, or rather a rich and believable extension of the protagonist – something like a Lawrence of Arabia or Indiana Jones of comics. And even fewer (only Asterix comes to mind) set in the Roman era. Or, if they are out there, they’re still only published by Belgian publishers, and my French is pretty limited.

Axiom: What’s some of your goals for the future while working in this area? MC: I am finding that producing a comic like KYRIE takes so much time that finishing it is about the best goal I can have at the moment. I design the pages with an eye to what they look like on 8″ x 10″ paper, with the distant goal of self publishing, or possibly seeing if one of the many credible small press publishers out there would want to pick it up. I’m in no hurry, though – I’ve put so much of what I want in a story into KYRIE, that I think I’m completely fine if this is the only comic I get done in this brief life. I just want to be able to put it into my kids’ or grandkids’ hands, and have it demonstrate a standard of quality that’ll keep them interested for 200 pages or so, and also hopefully encourage them to meditate a bit more on the Good, True and Beautiful.

Axiom: Do you have any recommendations or thoughts on how Christian creatives can get involved in their community? MC: This is a very good question. Doing work that is meant as direct investment into your community (anything from graphic design to installation and liturgical work for your local church, for example), is a great thing to do. But I’ve also discovered that having a personal project that you work on pretty much by yourself can in turn help the community – it can be a means of introduction to others, which can start conversations that you might not otherwise get the chance to have if you’re only working on commissioned work. Commissions largely show how you can help others with ideas they already have – personal projects help to spark conversations and ideas that have yet to be thought of by your community.

Axiom: Where can readers find out more about your work? MC: I have lately been using ComicFury for hosting KYRIE. They are a nifty little community and the hosting is free, so I suggest it. My comic can be found at www.kyrie.thecomicseries.com. The comic won’t be published in print until it’s completed, but a hi-res PDF for reading on digital devices can be purchased for just $1. If you go to the ‘store’ tab on the KYRIE site, you will find the link to the Gumroad store site. I’ll soon be putting a ‘making of’ PDF up there too, where you’ll be able to see how I do the research, make the reference, design the characters and construct the story’s pages.

Noah’s Ark

illustration, artwork, noah's ark, ark, cartoon, christian, christianity, genesis 6

This is an illustration based on the Bible story of Noah’s Ark (Genesis 6-7) that I sketched out a couple years ago for a children’s mural. At that time, it existed only as a very rough black and white pencil sketch, which I then used as a reference in painting the much larger piece of artwork. However, as I recently looked through my pile of drawings that I’ve done over the last several years, I thought it was much too nice of an image not to finish off noahs ark, illustration, gift, present, baby gift, nursery, children, kids, christian, christianitywith a little ink and digital color. So here it is – hope you like it! I’ll likely print it off on color photo paper and use for gifts, or maybe print for postcards – or whatever else I think would be fun. Of course, if you happen to really like it – let me know and I can very affordably print it or make a high res digital file available for you as well! Just contact me at axiomillustration (at) outlook (dot) com or check out my Gifts page!

Thoughts? Please leave a comment! And don’t forget to follow this blog or share with a friend! Also be sure to check out my Artwork tab (where a lot of awesome christian cartoons, illustrations and resources are available), as well as the Artist Page (where you can find interviews with great Christian artists)! Until next time, have a great day!

Sanctity of Human Life Day

sanctity of human life day, graphic, illustration, prolife, meme, psalm 139, choose life, abortion, christian, christianity, baby, wombFor Sanctity of Human Life Day, I wanted to create a piece of artwork that would be great for sharing on social media, and convey a positive pro-life feel. The end result (as seen at left) is a hand-illustrated graphic of a baby inside a heart-shaped womb. I also did an alternate version (as seen here) that is appropriate for any time of year. Feel free to share! Simply download the graphic to your desktop or mobile device, and reshare on social media or wherever else you find appropriate. And of course, feel free to let us know how you’ve put it to positive use! I also am posting a cartoon and animated gif entitled “Abortion Kills” that I created four or five years ago (see below, or on my Artwork tab). Both deal with the topic of abortion, and continue to be effective. The cartoon of course draws a correlation between abortion, Planned Parenthood and solicitation by the government (crony capitalism) in America and the practice of human sacrifice in ancient Mayan society. Please feel free to share these as well (when viewing graphic, either “right click” or “control click” for the option to download graphic and repost).

As always, don’t forget to follow our blog (so you don’t miss out on anything) or share with a friend! And be sure to check out our Artwork tab, where a lot of our awesome christian cartoons, illustrations and resources are available! Have a great day!

Remembering Christmas of 1987

christmas, illustration, 1987, christian, christianity, art, illustration, calendarMerry Christmas! I thought it would be fun to share the above picture, which I created back in 1987 at a pretty young age. I guess my parents must have really liked it, because it became a decoration that came out every year – and once again made an appearance this year at their home. You know what they say about time flying.

This Christmas I’ve thought a lot about how I looked at Christmas as a kid. Sure, like most kids, I was really excited about the presents and various traditions we did each year. Like putting up the Christmas decorations, Christmas school programs and parties, Christmas specials on TV (like the Claymation Christmas), local community events, and that feeling of excitement on Christmas Eve, and feeling like I would NEVER fall asleep. But I also really remember how excited I was for spending time with family (many of whom have now passed on), and how I loved that people genuinely seemed happy – and that for a little while at least, it really did seem like things were a little more peaceful in our world.

Hope for the future, hopeful, peace on earth, goodwill toward men, christian, christianityAs an adult, sometimes I think I’ve lost that child-like wonder. I’m also sad to say that at times, I’ve become unfortunately a little more hardened by reality – and even to the hope and power of Christ in changing our lives and our world for the better. Sometimes I think as christians, we become so distracted by newspaper headlines or the “crisis of the week”, that we forget that Christ ALONE has already powerfully changed billions of lives, and changed our world for the better in countless ways. And He will continue to do so now and in the days and years to come! Wow, such great hope for the future! How exciting, encouraging and motivating should that be for christians to get out there and be an unashamed and unapologetic light in the darkness? As I illustrated in the picture above years ago, Jesus truly is the Reason for the Season!

And in despair I bowed my head; “There is no peace on earth,” I said; “For hate is strong, and mocks the song of peace on earth, good-will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men.” – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Luke 2:14)

Don’t forget to follow our blog, and be sure to check out our Artwork tab for awesome christian illustrations and more!