Drew Pocza | kidlitart
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Stock

Over the years I have been doing LOTS of faith-based illustrations. It started when I was asked to illustrate a book for Mars Hill Church. The series became part of their kids ministry decorations as well as coloring books. With that giant push, I was asked by other churches like New Spring Church to populate their kids ministry curriculums. Having gone to Bible College, it was pretty fun to take that knowledge and apply it to my illustrations creating fun, and hopefully accurate depictions.

My best friend was a pastor of a small church with no budget for kids ministry. I agreed to help him out with a weekly sermon illustration and a matching coloring page. That’s what best pals do. Slowly, but surely the series grew. My intention was to crate really fun art that kids and parents will enjoy. The full color version for for the large screen slide, and the black and white outline version for the kids to color during the sermon. Another pastoral pal, was using them for his weekly sermon break down as well. It was fun to how different people used the art. I eventually came up with a name for the series, Drawn By Faith.

The catalog kept growing and I just kept them on my hard drive doing nothing. I knew there are other pastors who couldn’t afford custom art to be done and I started to think about licensing/stock illustration. After a year of trying to get stock art out there, I realized it is very hard to do by myself. As much as I loved doing the Drawn By Faith series, I almost called it done. I admit, I couldn’t get the traction I was hoping for in doing stock art on my own. So I was happy when I was recently, invited to start posting my work on a large, faith-based stock art site. I finally found a home for my work. They have the robust site already built, all I needed to do was upload!

This is the largest body of work I’ve created and it is exciting to see the artistic growth from the first few renderings the most recent. The art is great for Sunday School curriculum, bulletins, Bible Flash cards and more. You can see the work here at Drawn By Faith, and if you would like to purchase any of the stock, you can visit Lightstock.com.

kill fee

samples

All jobs have good days and bad days. There also lots of pros and cons to working full time. freelance. As a commercial artist, I try to have a thick skin. creating “art” is something personal at times, but I am in the business of making art for advertising. My work may not be the right art for the project. That’s one thing I am very aware of.

Over the years I have been able to take notice of when I feel the potential client has something else in mind. Communication is king and I try to do my best to let them know that what they see on my website is what I do. I don’t do realistic work. I don’t do highly detailed work. My strong skills are humors illustration. There are many, many talented artists out there that can do several styles on demand. I admit, I am NOT one of them. I have taken my “No style as style” approach and applied to to editorial, packaging, animation, games. From kid friendly fun to boring office work. But it is me, and that’s what I do.

I recently worked on a large project for a publisher of kids educational material. I was excited. I have worked with them in the past and they know my skill set. I confirmed what my expectations were to make sure they are on board. Moving forward I produced lots of spot illustrations. I got frantic emails saying we don’t have time for sketches, go straight to finals! WHAT? I have never done that. The other emails form others involved saying, “STOP, we need sketches”. Needless to say, the miscommunication, and eventually lack of communication was causing havoc. I resorted to simply going with my gut and sometimes I was right, others not so much. But one thing for sure, the project was going south and FAST.

I have never been so excited to get a kill fee for a project. It’s never happened under bad terms, but we simply couldn’t agree on anything. We both didn’t work well together and the project was actually taking a physical toll on me. The stress was driving in my back like a dagger I could remove. So when we reached a end game scenario, I felt relieved. The stress left and took the dagger with it.

I’m writing this not to rip the client a new one, but to say, it’s OK for a project to not work out. It’s just another reason I make sure people know what I do. I don’t try to mimic other artists and I access when a client lets me be me! All the little stuff I pack into an illustration to give it personality shows when I am happy doing my own thing. The project will turn out great now that they found an artist who meets there vision more clearly than I could. These are a few of the samples I liked and wanted to share. The others, they get tucked away deep down in folders on a external hard drive.

Illustrations of Biblical Proportions

 

I just wrapped up a good sized project for New Spring Church. And let me tell ya, it was fun. It was a lot of work, but fun. This project met my creative goals I have had for a while now, and helped me see it through. 
 
The style is something I have been playing with for some time, but in black and white. A loose inky look. And prior to that, it was a solid, hard outline style. So I created a comic strip to exercise my creative muscles and see what else I could do. It felt good to work in a very loose brush look. I loved the contrast. And I started to get requests from clients that wanted that look, so I pushed it. 
 
Mars Hill Church had gave me the opportunity to use the inky look. It was faster and  and enjoyable to work in. And I could see it going to the next level. If only it was in color. Through that work, and posting samples on dribbble, New Spring Church hired me to work on a series of Biblical work for their kids ministry. Yes please!  The art director was great about letting artists explore the space and do what we what we want. So inky outlines, color and texture it is! 
 
This project wasn’t only exciting on a personal level, but artistically as well. With just over 20 illustrations, it was interesting to see the growth of the style. While I really like each illustration, some I adore. I jumped from chapter to chapter, not working in order. Attempting to put off the more difficult concepts till later. The easy pages I was working on let me iron out the style more and more. But since I had to go back and do the hard illustrations, it helped stagger the growth. You can see the style get more polished as it went. But since the page order was mixed, it worked as a visual buffer. If I started with illustration “one”, and worked in order till the end, you would see that growth chronologically. I did had to go back over some to make sure they were consistent with the look and feel, even though there was that growth. 
 
Working on this project, I also new that it would give me the chance to play with backgrounds. I am a freak for character development. But all my characters exist in white space. Now I had to put Jesus, Moses and Noah all in backgrounds!  I didn’t realize it till I was done, but that was another element that helped me take this body of work to the next level. Lots of art directors in publishing look for art that has something going on, not just a mascot. So, all in all, I am very happy with the results. Got a very kind worded letter of recommendation as well. And to top it off, I realized even more my desire to kid related work. My original artistic goal was to do work for an older audience. I shy away from saying adult as not to give the wrong impression. But I wanted to make art that I thought was more mature and business oriented. My style lends itself to a kid friendly look, even when I apply it to boring Human Resources related work. If you are looking for a fun style for your next project, I would love to help out. For more samples of my work, check out portfolio!

Mars Hill Kids vol2 book illustrations

I know roughly how many illustrations I am doing, but am afraid to take an actual count. LOTS. But this project is exciting, as I am pushing this new inky style a bit more. The previous book was almost all head shots. But this time around, I get to do body and group shots. Very fun, and I am trying to take the work to the next level. They will run in black and white only, but I may take one or two and color and run some texture through. My ultimate illustration goal is to do kid literature. This is the next step towards that goal, and I can’t thank the art staff at Mars Hill Church enough for letting me  explore the space!

I’m a huge fan of the absurd. Wonky noses and noodle limbs kill me. Attempting two in one styles. The old timey Bible days art has one feel, while the modern day has another. Yet, the feel.

More Mars Hill Kids stuff!

This weekend was the launch of the Mars Hill Kids new curriculum. I’m VERY happy to have been a part of it. Both as a Christian and as an illustrator. Seeing stuff “live” still blows me away. Many of my projects get sent off and all I can do is hope they turn out well. Attending Mars Hill I get to see it first hand. 


A while ago, I created a bunch of art including the MHK logo. It was developed as a coloring book. And as MH started to decorate the kids rooms with giant versions of my art, I was in awe. Standing next to them was very exciting as I eye balled every line to see if I made any mistakes. That big, it would show! And the contrast of a fat, old tattooed guy with cute art still cracks me up. 


Recently, the AD in the art department asked me to help with the first curriculum book illos. It was a tight turn around, and they let me play with a new style that helped meet the deadline. I really like the majority of the work I cranked out over those few days, but could nit pick it all to no end. I wanted every little line to work perfect and could have spent many hours on each one. However, there is something special about having a deadline. That something I love in the sketch stage that often gets lost. The rawness of the art. Sketches have soul. The finals themselves can be great, but there is that “something” factor that I tried hard to keep that in this series. And I feel it’s there.


This project was another step in the right direction for me. I want to get into Kid lit art. As much as I like business editorial, I love, LOVE, LOVE kid art.