The Visual Word

Sunday, July 06, 2008

"Benevolence" by Justin Lewis

Watch this short film "Benevolence" by Justin Lewis. There is something gospel about this...

Friday, May 23, 2008

Short Video Clips for Teaching

Here is a really nice site which provides short movie clips which you can use for teaching purposes.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Line Drawing Source

Here's a nice site where you can download line drawings. Actually, what is amazing is that you can create line drawings out of actual photos which you upload

Here's one I created - the identity of the person I used is secret!URL:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Comic Resources

Comic resources are great for conversational starters or for catching attention in a lecture because they reflect human interests and life situation so well.

A wonderful one stop comic resource you can visit for comic strips is Go Comics. There are many strips you can view for a week after which they go into a pay to view archive.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Holy Lands Photos

This is a really nice site which provides free high quality pictures of Bible Lands taken by Dr Carl Rasmussen. Those of you who are familiar with the Zondervan NIV Bible Atlas know that Dr Rasmussen was the author of that volume.

The site allows you to browse in three ways: a) Daily Life and Artifacts, b) People and c) By Region. What is nice is some of these images are ready sized available for use in Powerpoint teaching.

Here's a research question: In the Bible, there are passages which describe the Tabernacle. Where are these passages to be found and how would you describe the tabernacle?

OK, here's the answer. To the question, "Where are these passages to be found?", go to Clue: Check "Exodus".

To the second question, visit Go on the top right corner and click on Daily Life and Artifacts>Religion>Tabernacle.
Here's one of the sacrificial altar outside the Tabernacle but within the curtained area of the Tabernacle structure.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bible Lands Dot Com

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Emerging church cartoon

I just couldn't resist sharing this cartoon from

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Colouring pages for Sunday School

Sometimes, Sunday school teachers wish they could find instant resources for their kids to colour.

Here are links to some sites.

a) Sermon for Kids Colouring Pages
John the Baptist


b) Touch of Fire Site
Scroll down to the bottom third of the webpage where it reads:
"Free! Our Bible A-Z coloring book is ready for download. All the stories from our book are available for easy download and print. This is free (all our downloads are). There are about 120 high-quality A4 size pages with lovely pictures and text."

There you can get nice pdf files of Bible stories, each of which contain a few pictures from a story. Here's one of Balaam and the donkey!

c) Christian (Bible) Coloring Pages
Ruth gathering her sheaths


d) TeacherHelp Coloring Pages
This is a great resource because it has compiled many links to different sites which offer free coloring pages. No lack of choices here! The first link, which is the link to Calvary Chapel provides a very comprehensive curriculum for teaching bible to kids. That is to say, its not just coloring pages, its a whole curriculum plus ideas to help promote learning which accompany the pictures.
A page from the story of Hagar and Ishmael

Friday, April 06, 2007

More Asian face pictures in Flash Face

Here's a face created with changes in hair style and lip shapes in I then created 4 powerpoint slides, inserted the images and the text, saved the slides as gif images, and then made an animated gif of the 4 gif images.

Recognize the potential of creating such images for learning? What if I created an animated gif which was a dialogue between bible characters? What if I created an animated gif of ordinary people talking about issues in the Bible which invited discussion/study?
Botak_AnimatedGrowing bald!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

An experiment with Asian faces on Flash Face

Guess what? The Flash Face site can create great Asian faces. Here's my sketch of an Asian male.

I love this site. Go discover the really nice features! I think I will only focus on creating Asian faces as well as imaginary Biblical characters.


Oh, remember that by manipulating just the eyes and mouth (and occasionally the nose), you can get so many different possible facial expressions.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Flash Face

Flash Face is similar to the Face Game. Here is a picture that was sketched in a few minutes. The site is great!

This one is entitled "OT Prophet...or emo guy?" Suddenly, any one can be a sketch artiste....


Monday, April 02, 2007

National Geographic's Face Game

The Face Game is a image generator that allows you to create "realistic", photofit type pictures by chosing different face shapes, hairdo, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc.

This is Jane...



Monday, March 19, 2007

Caricature Generator Site

Here's a nice site which allows you to be a "talented caricature artist."
Why so sad?


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Tombstone Generator Site

Here's a site you may want to use to get people to reflect on lives and how they live it. Tombstone Generator allows you to write your epitaph. What would you want people to remember you by? What, on the other hand, would someone else who really knew you write on it?


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

An iCard Generator

Here's a site you'll like. You can create free e-cards (here called i-cards) and send them to friends or even yourself. I send them to myself all the time to use as visuals in powerpoint/blogs.

Here's one I created to promote the idea of developing the discipline of listening to the Word of God for the ipod/postliterate generation.

URL: (then click on the iCard tab)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mr. PicassoHead

Bring out the artist in you. Here's a unique site which allows you to create different artistic expressions on a canvas (presumably in the style of Picasso, but in the manner of Mr Potato Head where you stick together the different parts of the body.

My picture here ( created in just 3 minutes) illustrates James 1:19 where we are called to be slow to anger and slow to speak, but quick to listen. After all, didn't God give us one mouth and two ears?


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Creating your own comic characters

Here is a great site for create your own comic character. The site allows many variations on the same character which is great for illustrating plot development and characterization.


Monday, February 26, 2007

Garfield Comic Strip Creation site

Here is a site for creating Garfield comic strips.
OK, I am not a great fan of Garfield, but it might work for some of you.

(Click here)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Comic Creation websites (i)

Here are a couple of sites which can be used for creating cartoons/comic strips. I find these resources useful because most of the time we use other people's cartoons and hope they communicate in our contexts.

How you can create very context specific strips.

The first site i wish to highlight is the Strip Generator. It is really easy to use. Just choose from over a hundred characters and objects, drag the items into the panels, add your captions and dialogue/thought bubbles and voila! Done!

I dare say if you already have the idea, you can do most comics in under 3 minutes.

Here's one I did for my Visual Communications Special Interest Group website (if you click on the image, you will see a bigger image).

Oh, one more thing, the question of how to download the comic strip after you have created it needs to be answered.

For Apple users, you have a built in software called Grab. Using Grab, you can take a "snapshot" or a "screengrab" of any webpage (or any part of a webpage, an image, etc). Note however that Grab only allows you to save the image as a .tiff file. .tiff files can be inserted into Powerpoint/Word, but cannot be upload in Blogger. How did I manage to get around the problem for this picture? Yes, its true, I did use Grab to cut the image as a .tiff file, but I also used a free program called Toy Viewer to convert the .tiff file to a .jpg file. Toy Viewer is one of the Internet's best gifts (read F-R-E-E!!!) for Mac Users.

For PC users, you need to download a free software called ScreenGrabPro. For that you need to visit

Friday, February 23, 2007

Web Generators

I want to move on to online sites which allow you to generate images which you can use for visual communication purposes. Some of these generators include comic strip generators, digital characters (or avatars) generator, cross word puzzle generator, book cover generator, etc.

Here is my first installment: A "Dummies" book cover generator.

(OK, for those who haven't got it, the real book doesn't exist!)

You could try "Genesis for Newbies" "Church History for Dummies" etc.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

BibleMap.Org - an interactive map site

Here is a really interesting site which uses the interactive features of the Internet to promote learning.

When you first access the site, you are greeted by a satellite map plus a text box on the Left Hand of the screen. Type in the Bible passage, and when text comes up, you want to click on the highlighted place name. Clicking on the place name calls up a map.

I typed in Ruth chap 2 and got the satellite image of Bethelehem which I have posted below:

Screenshot of the Satellite image of Bethlehem

If you notice up on the right hand side, instead of a satellite image, you can click on the "Map" option. The screenshot below is what I got when I clicked on "Map" as well as "Hide This Window" for the text book:

Screenshot of the Map of Bethlehem without the text in the way

URL: Maps

Here is a website where you can find free high and ultra hight resolution maps in black and white.
Map of Abraham's Journey in the Ancient Near East

Map of Jerusalem


Jonathan HipKiss's Scanned Old Maps site

Here is an interesting site which features scanned old maps. This is a project by Jonathan Hipkiss.
Journey of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan

Palestine in the Time of Jesus


Friday, February 09, 2007

The Net Bible

The Net Bible site has a small collection of beautiful satellite maps of the Bible lands. The maps are there to support the great work of the NET Bible, a project of
Galilee and the North

In addition to the satellite maps, there is also a very good collection of black and white maps which you can use for classroom map work.
Paul's First Missionary Journey


Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Manna Bible Maps/Bible History Online Maps

This is a site which does beautiful online maps which are not intended to be downloaded, but viewed online.

Hmm...just checked out the site and they don't do free views anymore. You have to pay for the maps, but they are worth purchasing for their beauty.

But wait,here's a really nice site - Bible History Online. Check out especially the color maps which are closer to the bottom of the webpage.


Friday, January 19, 2007

Bible Maps from StudyLight.Org

This site offers scanned pages of a complete Bible Atlas with colour maps. The headings in the table of contents will give you an idea of the scope of this online resource:


Chapter 1 The Face of the Ancient Near East
The Ancient Near East 001
Biblical Regions 001a
Modern States and the Ancient Near East 002
Mesopotamia: Homeland of Abraham 003
Egypt: Land of Bondage 004
Syria and Lebanon 005
International Routes, The King's Highway 006
Geography and Trade Routes of the Middle East 006a

Chapter 2 Natural Regions of Palestine
National Regions of Ancient Palestine 007
Physical Geography of Palestine 007a
Topography of Palestine 007b*
Cross Sectional Views of Longitudinal Zones 008
Northern Coastal Plains 009
Plain of Dor, Plain of Sharon, Samaria, et al. 010
Philistine Plain, Shephelah, Judah, and the Dead Sea 011
Arabah, Negeb, Wildernesses of Zin and Paran 012
The Old City of Jerusalem Today 012a
Modern Political Divisions of Ancient Palestine 013
Climate Patterns of Ancient Palestine 014
etc (there are 173 high quality maps available in this site - see below for examples)
Topographical Map of Northern Costal Plain, the Jezreel Valley, Galillee and Bashan

Expansion of Christianity in the 2nd to 3rd Century AD


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shifting our emphasis onto Bible maps/Smith Bible Atlas (1915, London)

I will be shifting our emphasis from visuals which tell the Bible story to Maps which help us develop better understanding of Biblical history and geography. You will be able to find beautiful collections which you can use for teaching purposes.

I tell the story of how I gave my precious Moody Bible Atlas transparency set to my Cambodian student. Years ago, I bought this set of transparencies for a lot of money. The reason why I gave it away? I can get all the maps resources I need online!

The first collection I will feature is a rather old collection - the Smith Bible Atlas


Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Brick Testament and the Rev Brendon Powell Smith

The Brick Testament is an interesting site which tells many of the narratives which are not found in the Sunday School Curriculum. The scope of stories found in this site reminds us that the package of stories offered to to our kids through the "canned curricula" offered by publishing houses often selectively edit out important narratives. That being the case, how do our children understand the full counsel of the Lord (Acts 20)?

On the other hand, the way the stories are told lend themselves to criticism. First of all the use of Lego Brick characters can be problematic. You see, Jesus is really ObiWan Kenobi in the Star Wars series and John the Baptist, Hagrid in the Harry Potter series. The narrative associations made by kids distract and thus add "noise" to the Biblical story.

Second, if you notice, this site provides ratings. N = nudity, S = sexuality, C = cursing and V = violence. While I would be the first to agree that Biblical narratives (esp from the Old Testament) have a certain degree of sex and violence, the specific portrayal in the Brick Testament often leaves nothing to the imagination. What? How nude, sexual, violent, curse filled can the site be? Well, you check it out for yourself and come to your own conclusion. For that reason, I find this site more useful for clarifying points in the Biblical narrative rather than for use as illustration.
Scene from Judges 9


Medieval Woodcuts

Here is a very small collection of Medieval woodcuts by various artists/craftsmen.

The one above depicts the beheading of John the Baptist at the request of Salome.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Microsoft Clipart Online

If you wish Microsoft's online resource center and look under their Clipart section, you will be able to find some really nice Bible Cliparts for use.

If you do a search and type in "Biblical Scenes," you will find some nice Biblical Scenery.
Moses and the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (Exodus 14)

Samson and the Philistine woman, Delilah


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Flaming Fire Illustrated Bible

What if someone had a vision to illustrate all the verses of the Bible? Instead of trying to do it by him or herself, the person enlists the help of artists from all over the world and gets them to do the job. All the person needs to do is to provide the space and be the point person to organize and arrange the work sent to him.

Well, that's what The Flaming Fire Illustrated Bible project is all about.
Our goal is to illustrate the entire bible verse–by–verse— one illustration per verse. We plan to enlist artists and illustrators from all over the world— including you!— to help us bring each of the 36,665 verses in our database to life....

Here's the Genesis 2:3 illustration.

My favourite artist? Brian Dewan

Dewan illustrating Leviticus 4:3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.

Note: Not all illustrations are of equal quality. I really don't like many of the illustrations at all. In a sense, the very pluralistic vision of this site makes it interesting, yet it is the very diversity which makes me appreciate some of the collections where you can see a style and a coherence repeated throughout.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Matt Stone's Blog

Here is a really interesting blog site which if you were attentive enough earlier, you would have visited already (there was an innocuous link in the Dec 14 '06 entry). Matt Stone has a blog exploring religious pluralism, secular spirituality, and emerging expressions of Christianity. The "non traditional visual expressions of Christian faith" make for fascinating discussion.

If you scroll down the blog, you will find toward the right hand side of the page, links to several image collections including Aboriginal images Jesus, African images Jesus, ancient images of Jesus, Anglo images of Jesus, Asian images of Jesus, Esoteric images of Jesus, and Native American images of Jesus.
Life in Nazareth (from the Asian Jesus Images Collection)

Interesting question raised through viewing all the images: When does contextualization of Christian faith end and syncretism or even blasphemy begin?


Friday, January 05, 2007

HolyBible Sketchpad by Deborah A. Reed

There is a really nice site which hosts a really creative collection of sketches inspired by the Bible. The artist is Deborah Reeder. There is no additional information about her in the website, but you do want to visit the site to view her great sketches. Some of them have very contemporary interpretation and special cultural applications embedded in the sketches. All in all, this is a great collection of 152 sketches.
Abasalom's Hair (2 Sam 18:9)

King Joash - he started off a good king, go read about the rest of his life (2 Chron 24)


Thursday, January 04, 2007

Shlomo Katz (1937 - 1992)

There is another very stylized collection of biblical lithographs found in the Shlomo Katz Gallery. This is a commercial artist who portrays his characters with slender, angular forms. Let's put it this way, it's not quite Botero!

The 10 commandments Exodus 20

Here's a mnemonic: Exodus comprises 40 chapters. Divide that by 2 gives you 20. That's the chapter where you will find the (20 divided by 2) 10 commandments

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

John August Swanson (1938-)

A contemporary collection which you can view is at the gallery of John August Swanson. I just love this collection. Its beautiful! The information below is from his website:

JOHN AUGUST SWANSON makes his home in Los Angeles, California, where he was born in 1938. He paints in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, and is an independent printmaker of limited edition serigraphs, lithographs and etchings.

His art reflects the strong heritage of storytelling he inherited from his Mexican mother and Swedish father. John Swanson’s narrative is direct and easily understood. He addresses himself to human values, cultural roots, and his quest for self-discovery through visual images. These include Bible stories and social celebrations such as attending the circus, the concert, and the opera. He also tells of everyday existence, of city and country walks, of visits to the library, the train station or the schoolroom. All his parables optimistically embrace life and one’s spiritual transformation.
( more on his website)


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Sadao Watanabe (1913-1996)

Another interesting Asian collection is by the Japanese artist Sadao Watanabe. Watanabe's work is very stylized, but he uses very strong and vibrant images. This picture has its reference, the encounter between Abraham, Sarah and the three angels, and is found in the book of Genesis in the Old Testament. The picture is entitled Sarah, Abraham, and the 3 visitors. You can visit the rest of his collection at The Scriptum, a gallery which specializes in 19th and 20th century contemporary Japanese prints in woodblock, etchings, engraving, stencil and mixed media. More information about him can be accessed here.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Asian Christian Art Association (ii)

While you are at the Asian Christian Art Association site, visit the galleries of two other Asian artists:

Hanna Varghese, a Malaysian artist who began painting religious/biblical themes after she was inspired by artworks of Asian Christians in the early issues of IMAGE magazine. The spritual images made by other Asian Christian artists prompted her to explore the possibilities of making tangible her own understanding of her Christian sprituality and faith - for the first time.
Who will roll away the stone...? (in Batik) Mark 16:3

Li Wei San, a Christian artist from China, was an engineer. After retiring, he painted nearly 1000 Christian art works for calendars, cards, slides, book covers, and illustrations. Published works include a 300 picture "Pictorial of Jesus' story", 70 picture "Pictorial of Salvation", 110 picture "Pictorial of Revelation". Some of his Chinese traditional painting was included in several joint exhibitions in Beijing, Nanjing, Singapore, Vienna, Toronto and New York.
Nail marks (John 20:24-30)


Sunday, December 31, 2006

Asian Christian Art Association

There is a really interesting website hosted by the Asian Christan Art Association which features various Asian artists. The featured artists include i) Ni Ketut Sri Wardani (Indonesia), ii) Kim Jae Im (Korea), iii) Hari Santosa (Indonesia), iv) Hanna Cheriyan Varghese (Malaysia), v) Geoff Todd (Australia), vi) He Qi (China), vii) Li Wei San (China), viii) Dr. P. Solomon RAJ (India), ix) Kang Joon-Ho (Korea), x) Shim Hyun-Joo (Korea), and xi) Wisnu Sasongko (Indonesia).

I like the work of two artists and have reproduced information about them taken from the website:

Hari Santosa (Indonesia) is an Indonesian Christian artist and ACAA member live in Yogyakarta. In 1979 he established and organized 'Sanggar Melati', children art studio, which has accomplished various achievements in both national and international scopes. He seriously started painting in 1998. The pictures displayed on this gallery are some of his new paintings in 2001 and 2002.
Note the elephant in the nativity scene above Matthew 2 (not in the original text, but drawn in to achieve cultural relevance)

He Qi (China)is a professor at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary and a tutor for master candidate students in the Philosophy Department of Nanjing University. He is also a member of the China Art Association and a council member of the Asian Christian Art Association. He has been committed to the artistic creation of modern Chinese Christian Art for more then twelve years. He hopes to help change the "foreign image" of Christianity in China by using artistic language, and at the same time, to supplement Chinese Art the way Buddhist art did in ancient times.
Saul and David 1 (1Sam 18:10)

Pilate washes his hands Matthew 27:11-26
He Qi also has his own website where a lot of his works (including his most recent works) are featured. If you click on that link, you really won't be disappointed. He is my favourite artist for now!