Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guest post from artist Josh Alves: Putting Myself in Perspective


Here's a guest post from freelance illustrator and artist, Josh Alves. Josh and i have exchanged a couple of emails here and there after he read Night of the Living Dead Christian. Then he sent me this really cool illustration that he did of characters from the book. Behold! Here it is (click to see it in all its glory):

Intrepid Neighborhood Watchman, Matt Mikalatos, standing beside the Hibbs 3000 and
Dr. Culbetron. In the background, well-meaning zombies and werewolves lurk!

Pretty awesome, huh? I like it! Josh mentioned he would be willing to do a graphic novel adaptation of the book if there were ever demand for such. Good to know! So, let Josh know what you think about his post, and if you're ever looking to hire an illustrator, drop him a note! In the meantime, you can check out his blog, his website, twitter and Facebook.

"And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature." Romans 7:18

2011 was the year I made the jump into self-employment as a freelance illustrator/designer. The year I got my first children's publishing contract, and the year I got to work on projects for companies all over the globe.

It was one of the best years of my life, but for none of the reasons you might think.

If it were named after one of the books of the bible, it would be titled "Revelation". Not because my world ended or I saw pregnant prostitutes and crazy dragons. 2011 is when I feel like God started making Himself known to me. Peeling the scales off my eyes and giving me a touch of understanding about what it means to live a life transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.

And it's a lot different than what I thought.

That's probably the biggest reason why I resonated with the message of Matt's "Night of the Living Dead Christian".

After years of talking about it, my wife and I made the decision to take the plunge into full-time freelance work at the beginning of last year. We had been pursuing self-employment for a while and felt the "go ahead" to take the jump.

When I would talk to friends and family about this unconventional career move (I was leaving a well-paying, management position with a company I had been with for nearly a decade) I would talk about the faith I had that God was in it and that He'd take care of me and my family.

If only I believed that.

It wasn't until Summer when the words of Paul struck me upside the head. "And I know that nothing good lives in me..."

That includes me, and I hadn't quite gotten that yet.

Those that know me describe me as intelligent, creative, and talented - it's all very complimentary. Those are all the things I had placed my faith in as I started working on my own. I had the smarts to know how to earn projects. I was skilled enough to provide for my family. I could do it.

Then that sentiment from the converted Saul got me thinking. Anything in me that I could define as good - wasn't me. Any "talent" gifted to me was exactly that - a gift. I did not wire my own mind to think the way it thinks or to visualize the way it visualizes.

The idea that it could all change instantly - that God could flip my "know how to draw" switch in my head - humbled me. I felt as if I was able to put myself in perspective.

My prayer is that I continue to give credit where credit is due and give glory and honor to His name.

Now please don't misunderstand me, I haven't "arrived" or anything like that. From a professional perspective, there are many things I still need to learn and areas of my work to constantly improve. I now see training and education as stewardship - not something that will help get me recognition and fame. Likewise, I don't have all the answers about what it means to be a follower of Christ - but I'm encouraged by the fact that I KNOW I don't have it figured out and am actively pursuing Him.

Thanks to Matt for gifting me with this opportunity to share with you! You can learn a little more about what I do at www.joshalves.com.

Also, my treasure of a wife has started an encouraging, motivational blog geared toward Christian women at http://amyswomantics.blogspot.com that you are also invited to check out.