• Creating The Discovery Illustrated Family Bible

    by  • 25 August 2023 • Books, The Christian Community • 1 Comment

    In 2018 the Floris Books team embarked on a project to create The Discovery Illustrated Family Bible. It’s been a mammoth project for the team and one we are incredibly proud to have completed.

    Here, we speak to the creatives and members of the Floris team about the process of bringing it all together, what makes it distinctive and how it feels to finally see The Discovery Illustrated Family Bible in print!

    • Christian Maclean (Storyteller)
    • David Newbatt (Illustrator)
    • Leah McDowell (Art and Production Director)
    • Sally Polson (Editorial Director)

    What inspired Floris to create the DIFB? 

    This was a real passion project. Both for us, and for the many people who asked us to create a children’s Bible. We recognised how important it was to bring a family Bible into the world and so we set to work! [Christian]

    When did the illustration work begin on this project and how long has it taken to complete?  

    We first approached David Newbatt with the project in June 2020 and the final artwork was delivered two years later in August 2022. Then a lot of work went into photographing the physical paintings, preparing them for print and designing the layout before the book was ready to go to print in May 2023. [Leah]

    How did you decide which stories to include? 

    That was the most difficult part! It was often a case of deciding which stories to leave out. Some were too gruesome, some too puzzling as the meaning was not always clear. [Christian]

    What makes the DIFB different to other Bibles? 

    I love how Christian’s careful selection and editing brings out the Bible’s overarching storyline, clearly connecting the separate time periods. David’s illustrations are also beautiful – atmospheric and inspiring, while still being clear for the age group. And the Discovery section gives children lots of extra background information, helping them to connect the Bible stories with their historical context. [Sally]

    What was the most challenging element of the process? 

    The Bible contains some enigmatic words and phrases (reflected in the many different translations). Sometimes it was necessary to go back to the original Hebrew or Greek text to try and sense the meaning behind the words. [Christian]

    Balancing the sometimes complex theological ideas with the simplicity we wanted to capture in the artwork. [Leah]

    Adapting so many Bible stories for children was a real challenge, as some of the concepts and content in the original versions are very sophisticated and adult in tone. [Sally]

    What process did you go through to decide on the layout, font style and paper used? 

    The layout template went through a few iterations before the team was happy that it achieved the ‘approachable yet classic’ aims. We chose to print the book on ‘uncoated’ paper, as it has a pleasing, more organic texture to it. We felt that the readership would appreciate this natural/hand-crafted feel. [Leah]

    What is your favourite illustration/why? 

    I don’t have one single favourite illustration. Each one had its own interesting challenges, but the cover picture was a good choice. We are all in a boat finding our way through the ups and downs of our life being helped and helping others to find their way. [David]

    The Creation. It was one of the very first pieces that David finished, and it gave me a clear vision for how the book would look.  [Leah]

    How were the illustrations created?

    The paintings are all done in watercolour building up the picture in layers. There is an element of planning drawing with complicated compositions using very thin watercolour almost secretly. [David]

    What is your favourite story that’s been included/why? 

    I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Joseph’s story – and not only because Any Dream Will Do was running through my head the whole time I was working on it, bringing back fond childhood memories! It’s a great story, set in a fascinating historical period, with excellent characters and a strong message. [Sally]

    How does it feel to finally see the DIFB in real life? 

    Joy and relief it’s all completed! [Christian]

    After a long two years involving a creative and challenging process, I was pleased to see such a good outcome, a book that can be easily used, not too big and heavy and not too small. [David]

    It feels very satisfying to see years of hard work finally come to fruition in such a beautiful book, which I hope will inspire lots of young readers. [Sally]

    Christian Maclean (left) is an Editor at Floris Books and author of Pioneers of Religious Renewal. In the 1970s Christian lived in the Holy Land, at a relatively peaceful time, and got to know every part of the land. He was able to witness some of the customs which had remained unchanged for thousands of years and felt that the locations of where biblical events took place was important. He tried to weave these experiences into the stories. He lives in Edinburgh, Scotland.

    David Newbatt (right) is an artist and teacher. His work has been exhibited throughout Great Britain and Europe. David lives and teaches at a Camphill Community for young adults with special needs in Aberdeen, Scotland.

    Find out more about The Discovery Illustrated Family Bible here and join our Christian Spirituality mailing list to keep up to date on our new books and receive exclusive discounts!


    One Response to Creating The Discovery Illustrated Family Bible

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *