Introduction:

Reggie Joiner is the founder and CEO of the reThink Group, a nonprofit organization providing resources and training to help churches maximize their influence on the spiritual growth of the next generation. The reThink Group is also the architect and primary sponsor of the Orange Conference and the Orange Tour which provide national training opportunities for senior pastors, church leaders, and ministry volunteers.

 

In preparation for the 2016 Orange Conference in Atlanta, Reggie and his co-author Kristen Ivy wrote a short parenting book that paralleled the content discussed during the event. The book would be for sale alongside other resources at the event and later online. The reThink Group creative team approached me for the project after seeing an illustrated Christmas card I had sent to author Jon Acuff.

Process:

The reThink Group’s project manager made introductions over email, and I scheduled phone meetings with the Creative Director from there. In our initial call we discussed their vision for the book illustrations, scope, and the project timeline. After this conversation I forwarded the contract. The client returned the contract along with all materials necessary to project completion and the work began right away.

 

In order to make sure the client and I were on the same page as far as the illustration style, I sent a select few of the concepts in pencil. The client provided helpful direction and revisions after this first round, and the style was set from there. The second round of drafts included all illustrations completed in pencil, and I awaited approval or changes before finalizing in pen and digitizing. The client responded with changes for a few of the concepts, which were resent again in pencil. The client also requested that I incorporate existing imagery already in their curriculum (tricycle, bike, skateboard, car, etc.) into a few of the illustrations to help reinforce some of the phases of childhood. The changes were made, and all pencil drafts were resent in a third round of drafts.

 

Once approval was given on all illustrations, I inked them, scanned them in, and digitized them. Final digital versions were sent to the client for final approval and to pass on to the book designer to lay out.

Goals:

The book’s goal is to equip and empower parents to be more intentional with their time with their children. The goal for the project was to complete condensed, memorable/shareable illustrations on every other page in time for the book printing deadline.

Challenges:

  • The content and amount of information for each illustration varied greatly, so creating a unified look and feel of the book depended heavily on the style.
  • The book was smaller, being about 6x8 inches. Each illustration would need to fill a page appropriately and the text would need to be legible even though amount of text varied.
  • At the time, I did not have capabilities to do the illustrations in a digital format. The pencil/ink/scan/digitize process took longer than a digital-only process might.

 

Reception:

The book was very popular, selling out all copies in the 3 day span of the conference. The book is now on sale at orangebooks.com and continues to be shared on social media. Readers love taking pictures of the illustrations and sharing with their audience, expanding the reach of the book even further!

What I learned:

  • The biggest takeaway for me was that I needed to have the tools to do projects like this digitally. I researched and purchased an iPad pro for future projects, which has been an asset and help to my workflow.
  • Illustration style can be difficult to communicate. There is nothing wrong with asking a lot of questions, clarifying, and sending samples to ensure everyone is on the same page and the client gets what they need. It is better to ask questions than to assume. Looking back, I see where I made a few assumptions that could have been eliminated with a question.
  • I loved this book project! I enjoyed determining an illustration that would fit well with the content, and then finally seeing it all paired together in a bound book was rewarding.

 

Photography by Ryan Kanaly