Jac Sailor, Dad
—From One Artist to Another!
—Jac tells how it was, working with Dad on Heaven!
GBY! ILY! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE LETTER you sent to me a week ago in which you're mainly asking on some info on airbrushing & how I worked with Dad on the Heaven project. I'm really glad that you liked the pictures you have already seen of the poster, I'm really encouraged by your comments.—It's gotten this far only because of Dad's encouragement & faith & how he had the courage to see it through.
THIS PROJECT COULDN'T HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT HIM!—Because at first I completely felt incapable of doing something like this! When he first mentioned the idea of a poster I just felt like, "Oh no! Wait a minute, what's this going to be?"—My little routine at the time was mostly doing the covers & I could manage pretty well with those. So when the idea of a big colour poster came around‚ I just felt like,
"OH BOY! THAT'S GOING TO BE SOMETHING! That's a big order & a real long term project!" (It was!—6 mos.!) I was wondering how I was going to do the colour on it because I wanted to have a special colouring for the theme of Heaven‚ so that's why I eventually chose the airbrush because it's a method of colouring where you don't see the stroke of your felt-tip or brush, so it wouldn't distract from the scene you're looking at.
SO AT FIRST, I JUST FELT COMPLETELY HELPLESS! Even to begin the first few sketches, I didn't know exactly how to go about it, but it's Dad's instruction & guidance that really helped me draw the illustrations.—And step by step, we just did it together & it was real easy to work like this. And it's certainly only because of him that I pulled through. Otherwise, I wouldn't have seen it through by myself! Thank the Lord for his vision & courage & encouragement to really see it through!
AT FIRST DAD SENT FOUR LITTLE ROUGH SKETCHES with some notes describing everything & having all the actual measurements of the Heavenly mansion & everything was just there‚ I just had to redraw it & finalise it & make it a little bit prettier. So that was quite a burden off my shoulders & I felt like, "Thank the Lord that Dad drew the rough sketches because I wouldn't have had any idea how to do the mansions." And this was the start of the four illustrations (Front View, Side View, Top View & First-Floor Plan) plus there was another one, the Wall Corner that we had done before, which we revised with the pearl on the corner.
WE STARTED TOGETHER ON THE MANSION ITSELF—the Front View, Side View, Top View & First-Floor plan—& first did the line work & then the colour on it. The reason it went a little bit slow was that for each picture we were sending it back & forth & studying it together to see how we could change things or Dad would have a suggestion or correction that needed to be made. (Also, I was still doing all the front covers for the GN as well as the Art Class, the Maria poster, finding 150 pix of existing art for Quotebook, training someone else to do the LIN & other needed art work.)
REALLY, I FELT LIKE THE POSTER WAS HIS BABY & his whole idea, so I just completely depended on him for nearly every idea & how to position everything in the picture. So I felt completely helpless at first, I had no idea how we were going to do pictures of Heaven—something I had never seen!—so I depended completely on him & the Lord for the guidance I needed to do it. So this might explain in a way why it went a little bit slower than usual, but it came out a lot better in the end, because I assure you, I couldn't have done this project by myself, because it just took his faith & his vision to make this possible.
WHEN WE STARTED THE PICTURE, I made sure to sketch the picture lightly as I knew changes would come‚ there would be some changes, corrections‚ additions, moving things around & so I made sure I wouldn't do a too dark a rough sketch that I wouldn't be able to erase & change things.
I WAS WORKING ON A SMALL FORMAT AT FIRST‚ as these pics were planned for the GN at first. When we were ready for the inking, we blew up the picture to the size they were going to be in the poster & then I did my final inking over a light table. I had a blow-up print of my rough sketch & I did the final inking there. So that's one way to work at it. Because at first we had no idea how big the picture would be, we were just doing it for the GN. But then we decided to make a poster, so knowing how big the poster was, I wanted to get the picture 100% & as big as possible. So I did my final inking 100% size of each picture in the final printed poster, which was 26 cm. x 39 cm. approximately.
THEN‚ HAVING A BIG PICTURE LIKE THAT, WE REALISED HOW MUCH MORE WE COULD PUT IN THE PICTURE, so we added & kept changing things around & we had lots of people looking at it & making suggestions on what they would like to see in the picture, what they would like to see changed & corrected & added, so that when I had the changes or additions made‚ I would send it back & then it would then come back with more additions, changes‚ etc.‚ etc., until the picture was completely done. Maybe I should have kept the final inking at the last minute—do it last—because I didn't expect that the picture would go through so many changes & transformations!
AND THAT'S ONE THING I'M THANKFUL FOR, THAT I HAD ALL THE NEEDED COUNSEL AS WELL AS LOTS OF SUGGESTIONS from all the people here. They looked over the picture & suggested things & we did xeroxes of the picture & we passed them out to everyone so they could comment on it & make their suggestions & we really got very good suggestions & additions this way. Some people thought of things that we didn't think of, so it was really a blessing to have their comments on the pictures.
ALSO, SINCE I LISTENED WITH ANOTHER PERSON TO DAD'S ART TAPES, we were able to work together on the picture. Every time I would do something, I'd check with that person‚ making sure that I got it right, what Dad wanted (apart from some good lessons learned when I didn't get counsel on things, LHM!), & it's always been like that with my work & I have always checked with that person about if the work has been done right & if the other person thought that Dad meant something different from what I did, etc. So it's very good & helpful to have somebody like that to always double-check my work with & make sure that I'm sending an illustration that's correct. Also, they catch things that I might have missed, so it's a real blessing this way.
--SO IT'S REALLY A BLESSING TO HAVE SOMEBODY WHO CAN BE YOUR ART CRITIC & CAN COMMENT ON YOUR WORK. I guess the thing I had to learn about it was not to be offended or not to feel bad that somebody would comment or criticize it before even sending it to him. And every time I would send something to him I would certainly expect corrections & changes on the picture because I knew that I was working with the idea that that was his poster & his illustrations & what he wanted done, so I was just completely waiting on his tapes to know what to do & how to do it! So this was a real blessing!
I DIDN'T KNOW THAT DAD WAS GOING TO GET SO MUCH INTO EVERY DETAIL. At first I thought I would have all the leeway that I usually used to have when working on a TK—you know how it is, you just do a TK & you do it the way you feel inspired—but this project was completely different & I was working very close to him, so things needed to be the way he wanted! So this is one of the requirements, I guess, that was needed, to be completely yielded. I think that's the first time I had so many critics on my art. And it broke my bottle a couple of times, someone would say, "Hey, don't you think she could be a little prettier?" or "Don't you think her hand is a little ugly?" or "Don't you think that could be improved?"
SO IT'S REALLY THE FIRST TIME IN MY MINISTRY THAT I SPENT SO MUCH TIME ON DIFFERENT PICTURES TRYING TO GET THEM JUST RIGHT! I know that normally we don't spend as much time as that on a picture for a GN cover, but on this project, it was important to have it right & try to get it as pretty as possible! So you know me, my art is not that great, so I had to come back to it & try to touch it up again. So it was very often just coming back to the drawing board & trying to get things better.
IT'S REALLY FUNNY, THE FEELING I HAD AT THE END OF THE POSTER, so many of the suggestions had been made by other people & so many ideas had come from different sources—mostly from Dad himself—that at the end I was just looking at the picture & I felt like it was not my picture, almost like it was somebody else's‚ which it was. So all I had to do with it was just to trace a few lines & do what I was told to do & then everything was taken care of this way. So I didn't have to worry about doing it myself but just depend on Dad & the Lord. This was a real good lesson on depending on Him & trusting Him that it will come true!
--SO I JUST HOPE THIS ENCOURAGES YOU because I know what you have now is a real big order & a real big project & I really pray for you that you'll be able to picture what Dad is trying to envision for us. I know that you can make it & I believe you can make this story one of the most thrilling ones in the whole World with your beautiful art!—I'm just waiting to see this story get started & get rolling! So I believe it's going to really inspire everyone & it's going to be a tremendous blessing to millions of people!
SO I'M REALLY THANKFUL FOR YOU‚ EMAN, & ALL THAT YOU DO & THE BEAUTIFUL ILLUSTRATIONS THAT YOU HAVE DONE ON THE "SPACE STORY". They were really some of the best pictures you have done & your art has really improved & you're doing so well & making such beautiful illustrations. It's wonderful‚ the gift the Lord has given you! I really pray for you now that you can do this one too‚ because it's a long-term project & going to take a long time & take a lot of patience & vision & a lot of dependence on Him & being able to change your sketches & correct them‚ because I know how you must feel when you have to change something, it's not always easy to correct things when you think they are just the way you want'm to be!—But it's just the thing about it‚ like what I learned about the poster, that it was Dad's poster & it needed to be the way he wanted it to be because he knew best!
SO I JUST FOLLOWED DAD & TRIED TO FOLLOW EVERY SUGGESTION as best as I could (though I did make mistakes along the way, but I sure learned!!) & tried to please him by doing exactly what he wanted! PTL! So I know that if you're having as close guidance as I had on the Heaven poster, I know that you'll do a really good job! Also, if you have lots of help like I did—counsellors & people to criticise it (they also were very sweet & full of praise‚ too!) & make suggestions, I believe it's going to be one of the best things that we have ever published!—It's going to be a beautiful story & beautifully illustrated. (Amen! TYJ!)
SO THIS IS MAINLY THE THING I WANTED TO TELL YOU TODAY, IN MY FIRST LETTER TO YOU. I'll write you some more about other details like airbrushing, paper & other tips I've learned that I'm sure you're already somewhat familiar with, but I'll share them with you in case they might help you. So this is really the main thing I could tell you for today, & that's to keep your sketch light for now—well, I mean dark enough so they can be picked up by the xerox, but not finalised (unless Dad told you something else), just keep it rough so that you can change'm if needed, when Dad looks at it, so it's not too difficult to change things.
I BELIEVE THAT IF, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU DRAW HER FACE & then need to change her a little bit, if you finalise your sketch too much, it's too hard to go back & erase things & there's already some indentation in the paper itself. So it's a little hard to work over a sketch that's completely finalised where you have pressed on your paper so much that it makes indentations & it's difficult to erase. So it's best to go very lightly at first & stay open for changes, & this way it's going to work real easy. I think HB lead is fine but don't press too hard. Also your Bristol paper is great. (Where did you get it?)
SO THAT'S ABOUT IT, THAT'S THE MAIN POINT I WANTED TO BRING OUT TODAY‚ TO REALLY STAY OPEN FOR CHANGES. This is really what has characterised the Heaven poster is all the many, many changes that we went through!—We went through hundreds of changes, additions & improvements, & the pictures went back & forth & we kept adding the new additions & improving it & moving things around. We were just like scientists trying to find the best thing, & I guess we found something that was pleasing everyone & good looking enough to be printed. (Amen! GBH! Gorgeous!)
I GUESS THAT WILL BE THE SAME THING FOR YOU AS YOU WORK ON THIS HEAVEN'S GIRL project, to really keep this in mind all the time, that your sketch will come with corrections & things to change. Don't look at it like it's perfect, because if corrections come, then you're disappointed, but work on it with the idea that it's not perfect & it needs changes & needs corrections & needs improvement, & then it is going to go a lot easier—& it's a lot easier to make the changes that are required also.
SO I'M REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO SEE THE PICTURES & TO SEE THE PROGRESS ON HEAVEN'S GIRL! I'll be sure to stay in close touch with you & sharing more about airbrushing & some of these technical points! I'm sending you some info on airbrushing that I xeroxed out of some books & brochures that I have gathered over the past months, so maybe you'll want to take a look at it & get familiar with it, & if you have any questions, just let me know & I'll help you with it.—I guess for the colouring, I can talk about it in my next letter, so this is about all I have to say now because time is short & this has to get off to you!
SO I REALLY HOPE THAT YOU WILL ENJOY WORKING ON THIS PROJECT & I REALLY PRAY FOR YOU & keep you in my prayers, & hope & know that as you follow Jesus & Dad that He will use you greatly & continue to anoint you in this project! So TTL for this inspiration that Dad has & how the Lord chose you for this project! It sure will be a blessing for so many people, so keep going for God & keep drawing & we're really looking forward to more of your pretty illustrations! Just think, you're really helping Dad draw the picture, that's the thing about it, that's the lesson I've learned about the poster, was that Dad was drawing them & all I was doing was being like the pencil in his hand, as much as possible! So that's the whole idea of it & the lessons I've learned. (GBH!)
I'll write you again soon & stay in touch with you! Write again, too, if you need any help! ILY!
(Eman—PTL! Isn't this Letter SWEET!—So precious!—I just HAD to edit it for the GN! GBH!—So I'm sending you the 1ST RD to save time—his original with my marks all over it!—Ha! Sorry.—But I LOVE it! He never told ME all this!—Ha! GBY! ILY!—D.)