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  • Writer's pictureRoger Duffy

Gentle breath to my soul

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Someone once asked me “What kind of mood do you have to be in to do your illustrations?” As I thought about the question much deeper, than the off handed conversation, I thought for me there is a vast difference in being inspired, compared to just work through an illustration. The hardest part by far is the inspiration, because you never know when it will happen and in which way. Creativity is the most important aspect because this is what captivates me in the beginning and prompts me to the completion. It can come in many forms and at any time and many ways, so I must find myself having to be ever sensitive to the breath of creativity in my life. It may be just to conceptualize what the verse in the Bible is saying. This is harder by far than placing it on paper, because this I just can’t do when I want to. Then I must lay out in a rough draft form the concept inside of me onto the paper before me, this takes only a few minutes. Then the techniques and perseverance that are fueled by the creativity is what enables me to complete each illustration.

Many times, it is not only inside, but also inspiration can come from outside as well. The wonders of the environment around me and its majestic beauty seem to cry out, but it is too easy to have deaf ears and blind eyes. The busyness of life seems to distract us from the array of beauty that can be displayed before us.

Most of the time I know what Bible verse I am inspired to depict and I must do my homework in finding the elements of the illustration and then almost piece by piece (like a puzzle) draw them into the layout. Frequently I notice the more homework I do on an illustration the better it comes out. However, it never comes out as the first layout. As the illustration emerges, changes and techniques change with it. With the time it takes to finish an illustration (3 to 6 months), I have grown tired and just want to put it down and start something else, but perseverance takes over and I battle to completion then have the illustration framed. Placing it on a wall is the greatest satisfaction, but always with mixed emotions on how fruitful my labor has been. It is at this point after I have self-evaluated and critique the positive and negative aspects of the work, that I am able to let it go of it and believe the next illustration will be even better, LORD help me.

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