Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Studio to Street: To England on the morrow

Tomorrow I fly off to England, and will be there for three months. Tonight we are having a little goodbye-party for me at the place I live. 

Bearing myself right

The thought of living at a new place and working with new people has been on my mind a lot. Not so much about who they will be, but mostly who I am going to be for them. Tomorrow at the terminal, I can choose who I am going to be for the people I meet at the other side of the plane-ride.
I am taking the plane to from Oslo to Heathrow. Time spent at the airports usually presses on me the feeling that I am «inbetween» two cultures. As I have gone through customs I have left one country behind, but I am still waiting to arrive in the next. This happens often when I travel between Norway and the Netherlands. Even though I am the same person, people relate to me differently. For example: Norway is the country where I work, and the Netherlands is the country where I spend time with family and friends. But all of London has not met me yet. 

Whoever I am going to be when I come out of the subway station at Willesden Green, I know I will not be able to be a good one without God´s grace to guide and carry me.

A sketcht hat I didn´t get to turn into a proper drawing. I know that God is not a woman, and neither am I.
But I am imagining that He is just as fascinated by the process of making creation, as he is in guiding the creative.

A little video of what previous internships at YWAM London have looked like.

Since I almost filled up my current sketchbook,
I got a new one for the England-trip.
The first page is already christened, to check the paper-quality.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Folkesang: A lullabye-song

At the beginning of the summer, my friend Åsne asked me if I wanted to do illustrations for a Norwegian folksong-website that she wanted to start up. Besides being a mother, Åsne is a professional singer who sings traditional Norwegian folksongs.
The website is still under construction, but three of the video-episodes have already been put on Youtube by the TV-producer.

It is great fun to work with Åsne, and find good illustrations for the different songs. The goal with the website is to pass the folksongs on to a new generation of Norwegian. The text of the songs, and the way the songs are sung, have not been changed. But through a simple presentation and the freshness of the illustrations, we hope to give these old songs a new place in the Norway of today.

The lullabye

The motif for this illustration was taken from Christian Krohg´s painting: «Sleeping mother with child», with the difference that the mother is not sleeping, and that the father present too.
The last line int he song is about God´s angel keeping watch over the baby at night. We wanted to  show that in the picture in too, but without making it look like there was a ghost in the room. The angels ended up as paintings on the sides of the cradle.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Folkesang: The swing-song

I am super happy with this illustration I made for this song. It´s about a young girl who is supposed to watch the cows as the are up in the mountain-pasture. But she gets bored and starts to play on the swing instead. So taken by her own game, she loses them. Later she neither sees or hears them anywhere and starts to cry. Her family comes up to the pasture to comfort her and look for the cows, just when the whole herd comes walking back to them.

These sketches are from this summer. I had followed the most obvious thought in my head, that traditional norwegian folksongs should probably look like idyllic and picturesque landscape paintings. Like Erik Wereskiold´s paintings for example. But I scrapped the idea, the whole family would not fit nicely into the picture, and the illustration would not get the energy of sitting on a swing a warm summer day.

A new way for an old song

Later, I learned that traditional folksingers love their folksongs, but feel often restricted by the culture of folklore that exists around all folk traditions. Folklore knows only one way to express itself, it is the old way. It has the dark-toned colours of old farmhouses, and very few of today´s children go that way by themselves.
And that is why I like this illustration a lot, it tells the old story, but in a fresh and new way. It´s like you can feel the wind in the girl´s hair, and the rustling sound of the leaves overhead. And in the distance, her family is calling.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Freedom of speech is something we stand for together #CharlieHebdo

Freedom of speech is something we stand for together. #CharlieHebdo

It shook me when I heard of the brutal massacre in Paris yesterday. And the shook took extra long because I draw pictures too. Freedom of speech is a right to fight for, not fight against. And so is freedom of religion. It cannot be sold, nor negotiated.
There is a place for satire too, but Charlie has crossed more than one line in my book.

I hope and pray that someone will come that will teach us not to be afraid of each other, and teach us to stand together against the violations of all our freedoms.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

YWAM Norway Staff Conference: Three daily sketches

Happy new year everyone, I hope yo made it well into the new year.

Grimerud has been buzzing with people in the last week. First the New-years festival here with 80 teenagers, and then our annual staff conference with 400+ of our coworkers.
In previous posts, I´ve show you the sketches I make while I sit in with the corporate meetings.
And since I´m doodling in my book anyway, we (of YWAM´s communication team) thought It would be fun if I post one picture or page for every day of the conference.

These are «notes», and not finished images, so they look a bit messy.

Day one: a front row quick sketch of interviews they did from stage.

Day two: During the meetings, a mental picture of a northwind kept showing up.
 Meaning that a «north wind» would come blowing from Norway,
and awaken people´s desire to read the Bible and follow Jesus.
This northward is from George MacDonald´s novel «At the back of the North wind»

Day two: I was sitting at the front row again, but so was a three year old.
So, we drew three and a half tractor with wagons and lights,
and I took notes in-between the scribbles afterwards.

Day three: I had missed one meeting because I had been making lunch for all the 400+ people.
In the afternoon , there was a «marketplace» where all the YWAM schools and courses got presented.
I sat in the back, and drew some of the people that would stand and sit still enough, long enough,

The thing that I liked the best with the staff conference was that all the things were all relevant to the people that work with YWAM in Norway. There was an extensive bit about the Bible To All-project, where we evaluated and were looking forward to handing out bibles to all the houses in the rest of the  country. We are now going to prepare a few more things to go alongside the bible-distribution, things that will make people hungry for the bible.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015: Happy new year

Happy New Year!

Christmas went by quiet and quick, I spent christmas eve with the same family I have celebrated with twice before. Right now, at Grimerud, we are running a new year´s festival, and I´m helping out in the kitchen.
In-between the kitchen-shifts and some night-watches for the festival, I´m finishing all the pencil-drawings for a book for teenagers about love and relationships.

Never a dull moment

Can´t believe that it´s only a few weeks away that I will be going to London for three months. I am really looking forward to all of it, It´s going to be good.
For the last years at Grimerud, I have been working with the same people, doing the same things, doing my best to do what I do best. But this year, much of that is going to change too, because the editor of our magazine, will be finishing her time with YWAM. I have been working with her for four years. This transition will probably happen already in the first months of this year, while I am away to the UK.
In other words, I don´t know who is going to be my «boss» when I come back here in spring.

And on top of that, with all the change happening at the office, I also hope to have one or two exhibitions with my drawings in town in the next year. But I might have to let that wait if things are going to end up too busy.

Happy New Year!
Thank you for having followed me in the last one, God bless you in the next.

Grimerud just kept on getting whiter and whiter after christmas.

Snow-covered everything, and temperatures down to -20.

And that´s how far you can see to the other side of the lake.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mot Målet 04 2014

This is the last issue of Mot Målet for this year, with many stories about the Bible to All campaign we have had in Finnmark this fall.

Here are some of the pages I like the best of this issue:

I thought that the DTS-ad that we came up with on the right-hand side was good.
Most of the DTSes in Norway begin in fall-time, but a few begin in the spring too.
In the advert we listed a number of new-years resolutions,
and then offered that a DTS in Norway might be the solution.

A teaching-article about the parable of the talents, for our theme about stewardship.
We found some nice pictures at Flickr Creative Commons to go with the article.
The pictures stand for four things we have to steward:
Skills, time, relationships and property.

An interview with four of our YWAM staff about the topic of stewardship.
We gave the stewardship-theme a faded forest background,
but swapped that around on the last pages of the theme-section.

The Spirit is in the detail

The design of the magazine is both in the individual pages, and in the magazine in the whole. That´s a nice challenge every time we put the it together. See all of the digital edition here, or go here for a free subscription.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A boy-child is born, it is christmas

Overtaken by joy

The christmas break gives me an opportunity to slow down and have all the time I like to draw and paint.
Of the many joys that christmas brings, I wanted to paint a picture of how christmas became real to us. With the  joy of a newborn life. Today we remember that a little human being has come into the world, bringing  overwhelming joy to the few that have been expecting him.

Have a good christmas-time everyone!

Another joyful thing is that we´ve got a very white christmas in our corner of Norway this year. Here are some pictures from where I live.

A white Christmas: The lean-to in the kindergarten across my front door.

A white Christmas:  The view over towards the lake.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A puzzle as big as a house

The puzzle: listen to what all the neighbours are saying to find out what has happened.
The goal: Find out who were not at home when the YWAM-teams came knocking on the door to offer a free bible.

Some young readers of our magazine let us know that they missed the children´s pages in the back. So, for the latest issue of our magazine, I´ve made this really difficult and detailed puzzle-page. Even though it´s fun, it´s also a rather difficult puzzle, this one is for the kids with sharp brains. It´s the kind of puzzle that I most loved to solve when I was a teenager.

The backstory of the puzzle is the Bible to All-campaign that YWAM Norway has had in September and October this year. In small groups, we have gone from door to door in the whole of the northernmost province of Norway to knock on every door and offer people a free bible.
In the puzzle, you are standing in front of an apartment block in the north, to re-visit the people that were not at home when the teams came by the door with their bibles.
All the teams wrote down the responses they have gotten at each address, but unfortunately, the notes for this apartment block got lost. Now, you have to learn who was not at home by listening to what all the neighbours have to say about each other.

Here is how I put the puzzle-page together:

First, a grid for the whole apartment block, drawn on A3-paper,
you also have to plan beforehand where the answers are going to be.

Secondly, add all the people that live int he apartment block,
with speech bubbles for the hints that you had to follow.

Thirdly: Put the drawing of the house and of the people together in photoshop,
print it, and colour it (I was not happy with this look).

So, print the drawing again,
but with some parts of the house already coloured.
This way, it did not look so messy, and a bit less for me to colour by hand.

Lastly: the final drawing on an A3-sheet of paper,
Coloured with inks, watercolour and coloured pencils.
The text for the speech bubbles and house numbers have been added later.

The answers for the puzzle will be revealed on YWAM Norway´s website in the 27th.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

After forty years, we bought Grimerud.

Sorry for not posting last week, lots of things to do, and no time to draw a bit about it.
The magazine we finished a few weeks ago should be in the postman´s mail trucks by now and in people´s homes just before christmas. I´ll put a link to the online version on my blog before the year is over.

This drawing has nothing to do with the post. This is «Girl child» chasing «Kettlepig».
They are two characters from a children´s series that is running on the Norwegian TV right now.
The series is mixing all kinds of ideals and values, but mostly based on old Norwegian folklore.

You should be able to see all the episodes here.


Grimerud is the name of the farm where YWAM Norway has it´s main office. We have been renting the place since 1975, and in 1987 we bought a part of the property. But on Monday we signed the contract to purchase the remainder of the property that we have been renting for forty years now.
It is the part south of the driveway that we already own, and now we have come to an agreement with the owner to buy the part north of the driveway also. 45 acres of farmland are part of the property too.
You can check the map here.

For those who have read though the bible, you might know that the number forty is often connected with times of testing and transition. The people of Israel were in the desert for forty years, Moses was on the mountain for forty days when he got the law. We are looking forward to see what God has for us in the coming years on the farm. Now that we own the place, we have the freedom to use it the way we like to. We are expanding, and making space for more missions-work, more schools and more of God.

This is an exciting time to be with YWAM in Norway.

And there was a big cake, to celebrate the purchase.


On my basement-corner of Grimerud, there is a bit of fun news too. I´ve gotten a new computer to work with, a fancy new Macbook Pro with retina-display. It is very good to have something faster and stronger than the stationary Mac that I have been working on for four years now. We decided to get a laptop, so I could have the chance to be more mobile when I use it. Now we have the chance to move the production of the magazine to one of the other YWAM locations, and give others a chance to be involved in the production.
This laptop will travel with me to London in the spring of next year. This way I can still help out with some design-work when they really need me. The next two issues of our magazine are going to be produced while I am gone. This is going to be an challenge, but with new times we will find new solutions.

My new office-setup. You can see what my favourite animal is.