For the past 5 years I've had the inspiring opportunity to create the Vacation Bible School (VBS) materials for our church, Woodmen Valley Chapel (WVC). This year's theme was extra fun to work on because I grew up loving "Gilligan's Island" and "Swiss Family Robinson", and pulled heavily from those vibrant, lush and whimsical worlds they portrayed. The added bonus this year was being part of the skit for the camp, playing the role of Dr. Jonathan Wyssman (a bit of a know it all chap), so I was actually able to "play" in the artwork! Being able to see the kids (especially my own 3) engage with the theme, skit, games, activities and most importantly the message was a gift I will always cherish on this creative journey!

Let's journey through the material, shall we? Thanks for joining me ... 

I start with the brand, to determine the colors, style and elements of the material. They also request a one color version for shirts, and swag. So i created a tribal/scrawled type version: 

Then I create materials for the booklet/journal (used at the weekend camp for older kids) that they go through with their cabin/crews. I provide a variety of elements and backgrounds for the WVC design team to implement into the book design. I'm always amazed to see how they put all the pieces I provide together. Here is the cover wrap,  a few of the elements, and then how they put them all together in the layout:

The next task is the most demanding, due to the sheer size of the stage art. Creating these behemoth banners always gives me and my computer a right nice work out! Photoshop files for 21 ft. high banners, and 24 ft. long banners means slower processing, lots of patience and each element of the scene being created separately then brought into a larger scene. A tedious, but rewarding task when it all comes together!

Here are a few photos of the stage for scale reference (sorry the lighting/color was not great when I took these):

And here I am playing the role of Dr. Jonathan Wysmann. We had just watched Disney's "Robin Hood" so I was inspired by the clever know it all voice of "Hiss" for this character's voice. It was quite fun to be part of a production again. Triss Curtis, wrote a splendid script for this shipwrecked story. I hadn't been in a production since my middle school days, and never had a leading role. So I had to stretch my memory muscles for all the lines! Fun Acting Fact: I was in a production of "Annie" with Jessica Biel in middle school. She grew up in Colorado, the production was in Salida. I had a major crush on her. She had no idea I existed. My wife still razzes me everytime we see a movie with her in it. 

I had a memorable time with this clever crew of castaways. The kids did too. Which made for one fun filled, laughter laden week of VBS! An honor to be part of it all from start to finish.

dr jonathan.jpg

I'll leave you with a collection of critters. Crafting critters is my favorite type of work, and it was a joy to see the kids finding their favorites among the shipwrecked scenes. I hope you enjoy them too, and thank you again for journeying through this Featured Project!


FEATURED PROJECT  - JON-LOROND SAVES THE DAY (by Hanna Rasco / Brave Books Press)


This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Hanna Rasco on her first children's book, Jon-Lorond Saves The Day. The book began as a Kickstarter funded project that was a great success, and is now available through Amazon and the Brave Books Press store

The passion and vision Hanna brought to this project was a strong wind of inspiration as we set sail for the adventure. Here is a snippet of her story: 

I really love children’s books and I love reading them to my children. When my girls were little we read Fancy Nancy, Ladybug Girl, and Pinkalicious. Eloise, Olivia, Madeline, and Molly Lou Mellon.

Then I had boys. Two of them. While they are both huge Fancy Nancy fans I was discouraged when I tried to find a children’s picture book where the boy was the imaginative, funny, and intelligent protagonist. You know, the hero of the story. A book where my little men could learn that boys knew big words and still had the ability to save the day. A book that celebrated the special qualities that makes a little boy unique.

That is where the idea of Jon-Lorond began. For the last two years I have been writing and re-writing, going to conferences, getting feedback, re-writing, and trying to find a home for my beloved book. After exhausting all my options. I tried again. And again. 

Finally, I decided to try this publishing thing one more time, only this time taking a different route to the finish line. Self-publishing. I am partnering with a very talented artist, Luke Flowers, to bring the world of Jon-Lorond to life.

 After hearing Hanna's story, I was on board for the adventure! So I began sketching ideas for our little hero, Jon-Lorond!


I always love the journey of finding the hero in the character design stage. Concept 3 was an instant winner, but now I needed to create the villainous pirates he would be battling. Any chance to sketch scalawags is a welcomed opportunity!

A few of the crew didn't make the cut and had to walk the plank, as we moved on to developing the style a bit more.

Once we had our crew in order, I set sail for storyboards.

The storyboards were a hit with Hanna and she gave me full creative captain freedom. Here are a few of my favorite scenes from the story. It's hard to choose "favorites", as I truly loved the characters, emotion and adventures that played out on every single page.

I'll leave you hanging there (lil' pun intended, yes). You'll have to buy the book to find out how the adventure ends for Jon-Lorond and the crew of scalawags!

Hanna and I would be blessed to have you support this book and share it with your own little heroes. We hope it will be as inspiring and fun for you, as it was for us to create it! We look forward to seeing where Jon-Lorond's next adventure takes him. You can find out more about the project and  latest updates for Jon-Lorond at Brave Books Press.