The Beginning

Artwork used on the cover of a worship folder. The vector file (EPS) of the art was used to add the red coloring in Adobe Illustrator.

Artwork used on the cover of a worship folder. The vector file (EPS) of the art was used to add the red coloring in Adobe Illustrator.

This is a project that was a long time in the making. Three years to be exact. So why did it take so long to get to this point? Well, it basically comes down to three things: Research, Focus, and Simplicity.


Over the past few years I've studied and researched different sets of liturgical art. Most notable are the works of Martin Erspamer, Nicholas Markell, and Sadao Watanabe to name only a few. I also looked back further to the works of Albrecht Dürer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Gérard Jollain. Not only was it important for me to understand what they were making, but how they were making it. 

One of the greatest pleasures for me is hearing stories of how someone actually creates the things that they love to make. This was very important to me throughout this process. Before I even started putting my pencil onto paper, I wanted to know how they made their art. Perhaps this was more of a motivator for me, rather than a way of deciding how I wanted to make my art.


All of the artists mentioned above had a common goal: To clearly express spiritual truths. They use their art as a teaching tool, and this is most certainly what I wish to accomplish with my own art. The hardest part was deciding on a certain style for my artwork. 

I am greatly influenced by the icons of Eastern Christianity and the wood cuts of Albrecht Dürer. I am taken in by their clarity and symbolism, and wish to marry the two art forms into my own. But I needed to set limitations for myself. I needed a window into which to view these amazing stories, otherwise my canvas would be infinite and my focus would be lost.

This window ultimately found its dimensions in a 4" x 6" frame. By limiting the frame of view, I now could focus on creating these illustrations. I could then take elements from this canvas and create new sizes based on the original. Focus means saying 'no'. By limiting this initial canvas and saying no to an infinite amount of canvas sizes, I can now move forward in making the greatest art that I can possibly make.


Many understand simplicity or minimalism as taking something that is simple and leaving it at its core essence. This is not at all true. Simplicity comes from taking something that is complex and then making it simple. The spiritual truths in Scripture are not overly complex to grasp. Even a child can cling to God's promises by faith. The message is simple: God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. The Bible tells Old and New Testament stories in great detail. What is complex, perhaps to some, is visualizing these amazing stories and miracles of Jesus.

My goal is to clearly express the spiritual truths of God's Word by creating simple pieces of art that may help people visualize what is written and spoken. I hope my art can help churches and schools teach these truths and I look forward to making these for years to come.


Ian Welch