Meet Jason, our illustrator for ‘Dear Theo’
Posted by Laura Nelson, 08 November 2018
It gives us great pleasure to introduce you to Jason Ramasami, our amazing illustrator for ‘Dear Theo’. If you google Jason, you will see an array of illustrative projects he has been involved in. When we came up with the idea of producing ‘Dear Theo’, we immediately thought that Jason’s drawings would be perfect for the project. In the words of Jason himself, “I like drawing stuff that helps other people get their ideas across.”
So with that, we introduce you to Jason…
Hi Jason, tell us a bit about your journey as an illustrator
My style has come out of teaching in many classroom situations. When I am trying to explain something quickly, I will often resort to representing my ideas in an economical cut–down way. You often don’t get that much anymore, and I think it can have a powerful immediacy as a result. When I was starting out in illustration, I would often overthink things and get myself tied in knots – there is a certain skill in reaching that sweet spot that hasn’t been over–egged.
Why get involved in Dear Theo?
The combined narrative of Luke and Acts is something I have fondness for. I haven’t seen many people illustrate Luke and Acts, so it was exciting to come on board. I think my style gives a different take on the events that Dr Luke wrote, and I hope that my work will assist this essential material to find a new audience.
Do you think illustrations are important for a younger generation?
Nothing can replace the experience of reading the Bible text for yourself. However, not everyone is at that stage – for all sorts of reasons. I find that when illustrations work well, they stand behind and support discussion and reflection of the text – not replace it. In educational circles this is known as ‘dual – coding’ – it is the gap between two ways of representing ideas and can be highly effective in bringing fruitful engagement with important ideas.
So how did you come up with the characters for Dear Theo?
After completing a former project, someone prompted me to work my way through the narrative in the Acts of the Apostles. So, I took a blank sketchbook, printed out the entire text and pasted each of the 28 chapters onto doubles pages with lots of space for scribbling as I went. I worked through each section intensively for several weeks. In the end I had a lot of unrefined drawings, it was provisionally named ‘TAOTA’ (The Acts of the Apostles) and then stored away for a couple of years.
I was then signed up with Biblica in 2016, to produce a 100+ images to accompany a volume of Luke/Acts combined. I was able to take a lot of my prior thinking and adapt it to something useful. The process at this stage was typical of my work at the time – working with an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I used Notability to draft quick roughs on a multi–page PDF before completing the finals in Procreate.
They are playful figures in ‘Dear Theo’ – sometimes I have embedded something like an initial (see Mary and Elizabeth) in the costume, and at other times I have just had some fun making things that just looked interesting. When you create these kinds of figures you can be really playful, and the audience is more forgiving, I think.
We hope you love Dear Theo as much as we do. For more information on ‘Dear Theo’ and how to order yours now please go to our website.