I can draw a stegosaurus really well. My Tyrannosaurus skills are on par but nothing special. And that’s it. I can’t draw anything else worth a squat. And I’m told squats are not worth as much as you might think. Therefore, when I finished the manuscript for Healing Hereafter—proofreading and all—and saw the uninterrupted sea of text, I knew the book needed an illustrative oomph!
But how? Even by the widest stretch of the imagination, stegosauruses don’t have tons in common with the biblical afterlife. And I needed 9 pictures, which would have required a larger repertoire of reptiles than I had the talent for. I tried my hand at a few stick figure sketches, but quite frankly, my hand sucked. It was looking bleak. But I knew just where to look for help.
You see, for the previous 11 years, I have been working with high-school and college students in several different venues. This demographic is exceptionally visual and loves to express themselves, often through drawing. And they’re good. Really good. Not five minutes from our house is an after-school art program for students run by a professor at Hope College, so I asked her if she knew of any outstanding new artists I could hire for illustrations. She gave me three: Emily, Brooke, and Harrison. I gave them all a good laugh with my stick figure drawings of what I needed, then let them produce their own versions.
They were fantastic and survived virtually unchanged in the published book! Not only did they capture and summarize large swaths of text in a single image, they each offered its own artistic diversity that gives the book some pizzazz. I mean, who doesn’t prefer a book with pictures, right? Emily, Brooke, and Harrison got to share their talents with the world and get paid well to do it, and I got the privilege of working with three great artists who brought life to my literature! Learn more about them and their work here.