Looking Back & Looking Forward

When I first started Paramentics back in October 2012 I had one main goal in mind: Create a series of art for each festival of the church year that focuses on the gospel reading or the theme for that service. Since then, I've made over 600 (!) individual pieces of art. I'm not one to think back on the work that I've done, but I do recognize this as a huge accomplishment that, at times over the past 3 years, I thought would not happen. It certainly wouldn't have happened without the massive support Paramentics has gotten over the years. Thank you.

There's a lot I've learned from running a business like Paramentics—both what to do and what not to do. Customer service emails were something I didn't really prepare myself for, even for a person who has dealt with client emails almost on a daily basis. Wrestling with how transparent I should be with future plans is another. Fixing technical glitches and issues, as well as how to effectively communicate items on the website are yet more things that I've had to learn over the years. Needless to say, there's lots of room for improvement. I'm grateful to have parents who have supported me on this endeavor and whose insights into running a business on my own have been invaluable.

Some of these learning experiences I hope to share on my personal website in the future. It'll also be good to continue writing about my insights and thoughts on the Christian arts. At the very least, I hope to become a better writer in the process. Anyway, here are some plans I have for Paramentics over the coming year.

The 3-Year Lectionary

The 3 year series is almost completed as it currently stands. Only 4 more sets to go for Epiphany this coming church year—even though we won't get to use them until 2019. Once those sets are done I'll package them together by year. A basic summary PDF will be included in the package that lists the numbers, festival names, and Scripture references for each set. I'll also provide this as a free download on the website.

My immediate goal was to produce a 3-year series that follows the lectionary in the Christian Worship hymnal of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. But I also wanted my art to serve many different church bodies. Looking forward, I've planned out how I will organize my art and what art will be added to the current series. In order to better serve other church bodies like The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The United Methodist Church, The Church of England, and others who also use Paramentics, my art will fall closer to the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) and its adapted versions. I've been working on an early draft of how this will be structured. 

This means that the art packaged together by year will remain as is when it's done in the next couple weeks. I might eventually label it as the “WELS 3-Year Series” or something along those lines. Individual sets and seasonal collections will change according to the linked document above. You'll notice in that document that most of the changes occur in the last 4-5 weeks of the church year. Some festivals will also have additional art that caters to church bodies who have changed a few of the RCL's readings. When I finish the new sets of art, I will then package those by season and year.

New 3-Year Series

As I am finishing up the current series of art, I will be preparing a new 3-year series that will feature a different style of art. I hope to release these by season starting in Summer 2016. The art will follow the new order as outlined above and will include much more art. The Holy Gospel will still be the main focus, but each set will also include art for the first reading, second reading, and the psalm. I haven't landed on a style yet, but I'm getting close.

More Symbols

Making Christian symbols for Paramentics is one of the most enjoyable things for me to do. I already have over 200 new symbols done that I hope to release over the next few months. The symbols packages will be renamed according to their theme (eg, “Apostles & Evangelists 1”, “Apostles & Evangelists 2”, etc.). This will help make it clear what is contained in each symbol pack.

Minor Festivals & Elements

The lesser festivals celebrated over the church year will be completed in 2016. They will then be packaged together so that they may be purchased as one item. I'll also put together a PDF that summarizes the entire set of these festivals for quick reference.

Elements will change slightly over the course of the year and you may see them temporarily removed for a short time. Each set will be expanded to include even more graphics, and different sets will be made that focus on different elements.

Other Stuff

Besides the items mentioned above, I am also working on certificates for confirmation and baptisms. Some of the details are still being worked out and I'll have more to share on these as their release approaches.

You may have noticed some small changes with the website. These are in preparation for more products and to make the buying experience better. The shopping cart now has a dedicated place in the menu bar and can also be quickly accessed on your phone if you choose to buy things that way.

Thank you so much for supporting me and the work I do here at Paramentics. There's lots of releases that will come in the next few months that I'm very excited about. I'll be writing more and keeping you updated through the monthly newsletter. Any updates on the website will also be posted to Facebook and Twitter.

— Ian Welch

Ian Welch
Art Correction: The Word Incarnate

I've made a change to the artwork for Christmas Day, Series B that had been released last month. A couple of you have rightly pointed out a concerning portion of that artwork. In the previous version, Jesus' hair had three curls which could easily be misunderstood as being '666'. That was completely unintentional on my part and I will do better in catching those types of things in the future. The corrected version has been posted to the website, but anyone may download the set completely free from the link below. The link will be available until February 1. I will also be posting free artwork for the festival of St Timothy, Pastor and Confessor later this week. The set will be on sale until January 24.

Ian Welch
Symbol 23: Alpha & Omega

Like the Chi Rho, the Alpha and Omega symbol is a very ancient monogram of our Lord Jesus Christ. Based on several scripture passages in Revelation, it means that Jesus is the beginning and end of all things—the one who is, and who is to come. Alpha (Α) and Omega (Ω) are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It is often used in connection with other symbols to give adding meaning, as is the case with many other sacred monograms.

Free SymbolsIan Welch
Symbol 22: Dove & Flame

While a white dove by itself is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the addition of a flame represents the Day of Pentecost—and by extension, the Christian Church. Sometimes the dove is pictured with wings and tail aflame. In other instances, merely a flame is used to symbolize the tongues of fire, which appeared above the heads of those present on Pentecost.

Free SymbolsIan Welch
New Microsoft Publisher Templates

I'm pleased to announce the release of a new template theme made exclusively for Microsoft Publisher. The new Festival theme retains many of the features from the Microsoft Word and Apple Pages templates, and also includes some new additions.

One of the first things you'll notice is the new layout. The outside margins are made slightly wider to give ample room for people's thumbs. The page layouts use a similar style to that of the Royal theme that bring back a centuries-old, yet practical approach to how text is presented on a page. For thousands of years, designers and typographers have used certain proportions in their work that are pleasing to the eye, and make holding a book, letter, or brochure comfortable to a person's hand. Likewise, the margins of the Festival theme make a worship folder pleasant to hold and visually appealing to a member or visitor.

Another addition is the option of two different fonts for response abbreviations. These fonts mimic the two main fonts used in the templates and are therefore offered in both serif and sans serif variations.

The sans serif font, Candara, is used for titling, headers, captions, and rubrics. The serif font, Constantia, is primarily used for body text and page numbers. These fonts were specifically chosen to match in style and be readable at smaller sizes. They are both system fonts that come on computers with Windows Vista installed or newer.

There is also a brand new template formatted for Ledger paper that is folded in half (8.5" x 11" final size). This larger size is great for special services throughout the year. The font sizes are slightly larger, so you could also use it for visually impaired visitors and members.

The Festival theme is ultimately based on the worship folders that I create for Risen Savior, Chula Vista, CA. You can see two recent examples below that I made for two Reformation Festival services. The fonts used are Cronos Pro and Adobe Jenson Pro. Thank you for supporting Paramentics. It's hard to believe I've been doing this for 2 years now. It's been a wonderful experience and I could not have continued doing it without you.  

— Ian M. Welch

Ian Welch