Thursday, July 24, 2008

Micro Loans

In our community a few of us have been talking about setting up a system to provide micro loans to people who might want to start a business. There are plenty of people in our neighborhood who have a craft or skill-set, but there aren't enough opportunities them to acquire or create jobs for themselves. We've also noticed an increasing number of pay-day loan establishments and department stores that essentially exploit their customer's lack of knowledge in how loans or credit works.
We thought it would be great to provide micro loans and also set up an accountability system with our clients that will not only educate them on loans, but will also invest in community. Each client could be assigned to meet with a small group of other clients each week, and everyone's approval of their next loan will depend on if they've all made their payments or not. This isn't a new idea. The Grameen Bank is not only a great model for this, but their founder, Professor Muhammad Yunus, won a Nobel Peace Prize for the success of this concept.
A few of us talked to a group of businessmen about our ideas, and one of them informed us of We can pretty much set up the system that we need through this amazing website in the event that we become one of their field partners. allows you to create an account on their website and then find impoverished entrepreneurs across the globe. You can then lend small amounts towards their individual goals helping them start or continue their business. I'm pretty excited about this idea, and will be looking into it further. If anyone has any other ideas please leave comments.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

BUMP Trip to NY

My church, First EV Free of Los Angeles, is organizing a missions trip to New York with our youth. The Evangelical Free Church has a program called BUMP where EV Free churches across America bring their youth to an urban EV Free church for service projects and ministry. In our case, we will be one urban church visiting another urban church on the opposite side of the country.
We will live in and serve in the Second EV Free Church of Brooklyn from July 27th to Aug 3rd. A big part of our mission is to organize a summer vacation Bible school (VBS) for the neighborhood kids in Brooklyn. It's our responsibility to perform a skit every day, and to lead the kids in worship. The theme for the VBS is "The Pirates of Pizazz" which I'm sure is a spin-off from the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean.
For the past few months we've been gathering our team of students together every Sunday to practice the songs and skits. You can view some pictures of last Sunday's meeting at the Nehemiah House below.

(Thank you John Freiberg for letting me steal these off of your Facebook without you knowing it)

Edberg translating for John Freiberg as he speaks to the parents

Making sure we're all on the same page

Nehemiah and I going over the script

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kool DJ Herc Tribute part 1

After completing my illustrated tribute to Gil Scott Heron I wanted to pay homage to another godfather of Hip Hop. I found the picture below on the net of Kool Herc messing around with an old record player. This picture is a great gem of Hip Hop history so I wanted to incorporate it into my piece.

I took the picture into Art Rage and started painting Herc. As I was painting, I decided that I wanted the graininess of the old picture to show through, so I put the picture behind my painting and finished the remainder on top of the photo. I was careful to leave some parts unpainted so the photo could show through. I also set my painted layer to multiply so the painting had some transparency.

I continued painting Herc in selective places over the photo until I was satisfied with the texture and the rendering. The piece was supposed to feel like a quick loose sketch/painting so I incorporated some over-lapping brush strokes, and some sketchy pencil work.
At this point I was looking for a sweeping design element to add in the background leading upward. I was thinking of the B-boys wearing Adidas and Puma track suits and shoes back in the day. I added three stripes, but I later abandoned this idea once I took the piece into Photoshop. I'll cover that process in the next posting.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Shooting Of Dan McGrew

Another UPA animation that I love is called "The Shooting Of Dan McGrew." This is another UPA production based on a poem. Again, the bold designs are intriguing. An interesting element to this piece is the fact that their character design is so interesting that they can get away with painting some of the background characters one color and still focus on them for reaction shots.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Tell-Tale Heart

Old UPA cartoons have been growing on me lately. I love their bold design, and quirky animation. Below is a UPA production of The Tell-Tale Heart by: Edgar Allen Poe. Note the composition throughout this animation. They did a beautiful job of incorporating shapes that will remind your subconscious of the old man's eye.