Behind the Scenes: Advent Storybook Sketches

Ian Dale has finished the first round of sketches for The Advent Storybook (releasing on October 1, 2018)! We wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at Ian’s creative process and share three of his sketches as a sneak-preview.

First, Ian creates a lot of thumbnail sketches to work out the overall composition.


He chooses the best then creates a more refined digital version, sometimes including rough shading and coloring.


The final step is adding the color.

We’re sharing a few sketches here, and then Ian will be adding color to these over the next few weeks!

This is the sketch for the story titled “A Promise Kept.” Abraham and Sarah, after years of waiting, miraculously received the son God had promised them! The first time I saw this illustration, it almost made me cry, because everyone is so happy!

A Promise Kept

This is the sketch for the story titled “Abram and God’s Promise,” which happens right before the sketch shown above. It depicts Abram hoping and longing for God’s promises to be fulfilled. God promised Abram that his family would be a great nation and bless all the other families of the world. He promised Abram that his family would be as large as the number of stars in the sky. But the promise seemed impossible.

Abram and God’s Promise

And this sketch depicts the prophet Jonah, who decided that he didn’t want God to show mercy to his hated enemies, the Ninevites. He tried to run away from God and His plan…but it didn’t work out so well. Ian added some intial, rough color to this but will be completing it in the coming weeks.


Ian is so gifted! I love how well he portrays the emotions of a scene through the faces and relationships of his characters. His illustrations seem so real because of his skill and his creative use of lighting.

I’m so excited to watch these illustrations (and all the others!) develop over the coming weeks and months!

This book is going to be amazing–I can’t wait to read it with my kids this December! And I’m thrilled that it will be widely available, thanks to both David C Cook and our Kickstarter supporters, for so many other children and families! Each year, it will take us all on an unforgettable journey through the history behind the coming of Jesus, our Rescuer!

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