The Lost Art of Handskills

It’s fun to make art. Jumping into Illustrator or Photoshop and moving things around is all it takes, right?

Well, sometimes… but it’s also really rewarding to make something in the real world too. Many times before, we’ve broken out the brush pens, or paint brushes to get the right look… even the best hand on an iPad Pro can’t mimic the texture of a “real” piece.

During this year’s planning for our December events (Christmas services, Christmas Eve, and end of year giving initiatives, etc.), we were looking for inspiration… something unique, sometime we haven’t done before.

Along the way (on Instagram), we came across a technique that caught all of our attention. Quilling. It’s the art of using thin paper strips to create captivating illustrations. We used that inspiration to dive into learning the technique. Lots of paper, glue, trial and errors… and eventually, beautiful art came.

We also took inspiration from quilling to inform our digital design needs… it’s just not always practical to ignore the realities of production needs (in our case, “production images” used for, print work, signage, etc.), but the entire thing started in the real world.

Three things we learned through the process:

  • Reality is beautiful. Aside from having the tools of Pixar animation studios, there’s something about “real” that is really difficult to proximate in the digital realm. Make it. It’s fun.
  • Take inspiration from the 3rd dimension. If you’ve seen any of our Christmas promotion, you’ll see the influence from the quilling, even though we didn’t actually end up using the “real” stuff. Even so, the digital art wouldn’t have been so beautiful if we hadn’t explored the physicality of making the paper versions.
  • Have fun. It’s rewarding to be a maker. God is. You are. Embrace it. Make something… it’s who we all are.

So, as you head into a new year, resolve to learn some thing new, something “real,” something that will stretch you. It’s incredible feeling when you do!

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Greg Vennerholm
Design Director
Venny serves as the Design Director for Church on the Move. He brings his passion for crisp, clear design to everything he works on at COTM, which includes interactive and print projects. His 25 years in the agency world did not, however, prepare him for the ridiculously fast pace of Church on the Move.