Bound for Glory: The Creative Process

Award-winning author Patricia Raybon interviews world-reknown calligrapher Timothy R. Botts about their collaboration, Bound for Glory. Bound for Glory releases November 1, 2011 from Tyndale. HEAR INTERVIEW AT

Patricia: Well, let's talk a little bit about the creative process involved in creating the amazing artwork that is showcased in this book, Bound for Glory. You mentioned earlier that there are 52 songs featured, along with the lyrics and a reflection and scripture, but that doesn't mean it was easy to get this project finished. In the song, there is a Balm in Gilead for example in the book. You write about how difficult it was for you to create the right image for that some because you don’t typically use human figures in your calligraphy. So you have to come up with some other way to reflect the wounds and the envy healing expressed in the song. There is a Balm in Gilead. Would you talk about that creative process that you use and the image that you finally chose to illustrate that song. Timothy: Yes, that is definitely true that I tend to avoid human imagery in my work just because I’m better at drawing letters than I am drawing people. It seems like in this case, I just have to bring the human element in because it’s all about, it’s all about the wounds of the human being and it just cried out to be illustrated. So I did paint this very naive figure which is bent over and almost like. I tried to show a gesture of arms enveloping their head as if they were just in terrible pain but then I brought in surrounding that figure of leaves which represent the **** represent the healing power of God’s spirit. So it is, it is something that I have learned as a calligrapher to the years that even though you can do beautiful letters, if you can also add images even if they are naive, that has the power to draw people in. So there you have it. Patricia: So it’s interesting to me that some of the designs in the book offer features on places on each spread, each page, a photograph and some photographs from the era of slavery but other are contemporary and there are some pictures of children and I wanted to know are those your African – American children and grand children in those pictures? Timothy: Yes, that’s right and the book is dedicated to 3 African – American grandchildren: Naomi, Miriam and Moses. That’s one of the privileges of being an author, you get to do things like that. Patricia: I think is special as a special touch to the overall presentation of the book occasionally to encounter one of those very special images of a child and African America child and in fact many of the spirituals make reference to children, the babies because as we know, so may African – American families were torn apart and children lost in internal way. So it’s special, that a special decision that works so well in the book. Timothy: Thank you. For those who are familiar with my previous books, there are a couple of things that are different from them and one is that I did have a fellow art director at Tim Dale designed my book for me. So while the book has my own calligraphy, the way the pages are arranged and the addition of the images, that was a collaboration with my friend Darius Smith and I just want to acknowledge that. It is an example where when you collaborate especially with someone younger, you get I like to say that it’s a breath of fresh air brought to my work.

Patricia: Yes, I agree. His design works in this book is breathtaking. It really is a breath of fresh air. I’m excited for other people to see it.

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