Nick’s Blog

Here I will be sharing things such as behind the scenes of my projects, my Orthodox Christian faith, movie or cartoon reviews, and anything else that comes to mind.

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Update – Father Gabriel Children’s Book Sketches

Published: July 22, 2019

Just wanted to give a quick update on the status of my Father Gabriel children’s book I’ve been working on. My apologies for the lack of updates lately, but life has been keeping me really, really busy.

Anyway, regarding my book. I have been working on a Father Gabriel’s children’s book for a long time now. The title will be “Father Gabriel Loves to Pray” and the plan was to self publish the book on Amazon and Apple iBooks. But, if God wills, I may be publishing the book with a well known publisher if all goals well. I don’t want to give too much away right now until I know for sure this is going to happen. Right now I just have to have a finished manuscript. I have the story completed, I am just working on the illustrations, which is the most time consuming part. Below are a few samples of page sketches. The finished pages will be more polished and will also be in color.

Father Gabriel Loves to Pray children's book, pg 12-13

This is from Pages 12-13 of the book. Here, Father Gabriel shows the importance of always praying before your meal. It is God who blesses us with food and when we pray before our meal we are showing our love and appreciation to God for always caring for our needs.

Father Gabriel Loves to Pray children's book, pg 14-15

This is from Pages 14-15 of the book. Here Father Gabriel shows the importance of reading the scripture as often as possible. Not only does God provide us with food for the stomach, but also food for the soul. Scripture, as well as other spiritual readings, nourishes our soul and keeps us closer to God.

Father Gabriel Loves to Pray children's book, pg 17-18

And finally, this is page 17-18. Here, Father Gabriel is walking in the woods while praying the Jesus Prayer. As Orthodox Christians, it is very important to pray the Jesus Prayer. There is much power and peace that comes from this prayer, which come from the use of our Lord’s name.

The Jesus Prayer has two important purposes. The first is worship as with all prayer. The second is a discipline to help our soul gain control our overactive brains and create stillness so the Holy Spirit can work through us and help us live the virtues in union with God. – Source: OrthodoxPrayer.org

For a long time, I have been debating whether I should do my illustrations as hand-drawn (if you consider drawing on my phone hand-drawn), or 3D computer illustrations using a 3D modeling/animation software such as Blender 3D. I still haven’t made a final decision, but I am going to keep on working on the illustrations the way I have been doing them (on my phone) until a change my mind.

Speaking of 3D Animation, I am also working on the third episode of my Father Gabriel animated series. Hard to believe it’s been three years since I completed the second episode. It’s too early to reveal anything about that right now, so I will leave that for a future blog post πŸ™‚

-Nicholas


Prayer Rule

Published: April 10, 2019

I love reading Orthodox Christian books! They are such a nourishing food for the soul! There isn’t a time when I am not in the middle of reading a particular Orthodox book. In fact, my character Father Gabriel wouldn’t be with us today if it wasn’t for these books!

As of this writing, I am reading a book about one of the Optina Fathers: “Elder Nektary of Optina” by I.M Kontzevitch. This is such an amazing and beautiful book about a very loving and holy monk that lived in the Optina Monastery in Russia. This is my second book that I am reading about an Optina Elder, and each book leaves me in tears sometimes when I read about the amazing lives that these holy monks lived.

While reading about Elder Nektary, I came upon page 315 of the book. Here, Elder Nektary is teaching a young man named Oleg (a future Bishop) how to pray. Here is an excerpt from page 315:

Once Elder Nektary, when giving a cell rule to Oleg, explained to him how to pray using the prayer rope. He told him about the “Optina Five-Hundred” prayer rule, consisting of three-hundred Jesus Prayers (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”), one hundred prayers to the Mother of God (“Most Holy Mother of God, save us”), fifty prayers to one’s Guardian Angel (“Holy Angel of the Lord, my Guardan, pray to God for me”), and fifty prayers to All Saints (“All ye Saints, pray to God for us”). In order to make the last prayer more understandable to Oleg, the Elder told him, “Just think! What a great thing it is to pray to All Saints. When you only say, ‘All ye Saints, pray to God for us,’ then at this very moment in the Heavenly Kingdom, all, all, all the Saints standing before the Throne of God will simultaneously bow down low before the Lord and all together will say, ‘Lord, have mercy.'”

I love this! The last sentence brought tears to my eyes. Can you imagine!? When you say this prayer to the Saints, all the Saints before the throne of God bow down to the Lord and pray for you! This is so comforting that the Holy people of God, who have spent their lives on Earth fighting the good fight, are now before the throne of God praying for us!


Why I draw with my phone

Published: March 21, 2019

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Artists usually draw with pencils, pens or brushes. In this wonderful modern age of technology, many artists draw using their computers (using a Wacom Tablet) or on their iPad (using an Apple Pencil). While I have drawn with the Wacom Tablets and the iPad in the past, most of the time I draw using my smartphone, specifically my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Why? Simple answer: convenience.

Not too long ago, I had to go to the dentist, and we all know how fun it is going to the dentist right? πŸ˜… Do you ever find it interesting that when you’re late to your dental or doctor’s appointment they give you a hard time for being late but never give the doctor a hard time when they’re late? Lol. Well my dentist was late. I ended up waiting an hour for him to finish with his current patient and finally be ready for me. But during that hour, I was actually busy working on a sketch for my Father Gabriel children’s book. I usually do this when I’m waiting for something or relaxing during my lunch break. I just pull out my phone (and stylus) and start working on one of my Father Gabriel projects, whether it is the children’s book or the web comics. I love the convenience and flexibility! 😎

I use a drawing app called Artflow Studio. It’s really an awesome app for drawing and painting, and I’ve used it for my Father Gabriel web comics, comic strips and other art.

Does this mean I will never pick up a real pencil or brush again? Or does this mean I will never use a Wacom tablet again? Of course not. I love those tools as well, and will continue using them from time to time. But for the most part, I will stick to my smartphone. It’s just the smart thing to do πŸ˜‰


Think about the future (03-13-2019)

Published: March 13, 2019

“Think about the future!” Some of you may remember this line that was uttered by Jack Nicholson in 1989’s Batman. I remember 1989, it was the year of the Batman. Unlike today when superhero movies are everywhere, back then they appeared once a decade…if you were lucky. But Batman was huge and it took the world by storm, and Jack Nicholson’s Joker was the highlight of that movie. One thing I will always love about this movie is the amazing score by Danny Elfman. Next to John William’s wonderful and unforgettable Superman theme, Danny Elfman’s Batman theme is one of the most memorable superhero themes of all time. With so many superhero movies today, it’s sad to me that none of them have memorable themes as these two.

Well anyway, let’s get back on track. Think about the future is going to be the title of a series of posts that will give you an idea of what I have planned for the future of IKONiMATION. My plans will include projects such as web comics, animations, and anything else that may come to mind.

As of now, I am working on a short animation. I’ve been working on this animation for the past month now and is almost done. Not to give away too much, it’s a two minute animation on the Jesus Prayer. I will post this on the website soon so stay tuned.

As soon as the Jesus Prayer animation is complete, I will continue working on my Father Gabriel childrens book, Father Gabriel Loves to Pray. Last month I completed the script, now I need to start working on sketching out the cover and the interior pages. I will be posting some of my sketches soon.

And lastly, I have a couple of ideas for future Father Gabriel webcomics. One I will reveal later, but this one I am pretty excited about. The tentative title is Father Gabriel and the Prisoner. The story is focused on a person who is sentenced to life in prison. As the years go by, his experience in prison makes him more angry and dangerous, until he is put in solitary confinement. Eventually, he is abandoned by all, even by his close relatives. But one day, he starts getting visits by a mysterious priest and his life begins to change.

I’m really excited about this story, but this will come after my childrens book is published.

Oh and one more thing. For those wondering if I will ever do another Father Gabriel animated episode, the answer is definitely yes. Right now I am just focused on the book and webcomics. The animated episode will come eventually. Thank you for your patience πŸ™‚

-Nicholas


My First Blog Post. Yay!

Published: March 11, 2019

I will be posting to this blog every now and then to share my work in progress, my Orthodox Christian faith, movie or cartoon reviews, and anything else that comes to mind. So stay tuned! πŸ™‚
-Nicholas