Friday, 15 March 2013

Matan's Bar Mitzvah

A lovely lady who has become quite a regular customer of mine asked me to create an image to use on her son's Bar Mitzvah invitations and birkonim (a booklet of prayers based around a particular event, in this case, the Bar Mitzvah). My customer explained to me that it was important to her that I capture the Bar Mitzvah boy's great smile, his lovely blue-green eyes, but that I also show him with his metallic blue walker. They also wanted him to have tefillin (phylacteries) on and were keen for me to show his tzitzit peeking out from under his shirt too.
(Tefillin are cubic black leather boxes with leather straps containing four hand-written texts from the Bible which Orthodox Jewish men wear on their head and their arm during weekday morning prayer. Jewish men start wearing tefillin just before their Bar Mitzvah. Tzitzit are specially knotted fringes worn by observant Jews at the corners of their clothes as a reminder of God's commandments.)
The Bar Mitzvah boy loves swimming, drawing and also working on maths sums. His youth movement group is called Crocodiles and apparently he loves flamingos too! He also loves playing solitaire and using his iPod Touch.
A few sketches later and it was clear that something had to give! Fortunately my customer was a delight to work with and didn't insist on me fitting everything in. She was happy to let me lead the way and we soon agreed on a design showing her son wearing the required religious apparel, and with some pencils and a paper showing some of his (real) maths sums in his left hand (Mum loved that!). His right hand is gripping his blue walker - Mum assured me that he doesn't need both hands on the walker - which gave me the space to include some more of his hobbies. His iPod is in his shirt pocket.
The only real change I made along the way was with the tefillin. My initial sketch showed him wearing them in one direction on his hand, but the Bar Mitzvah boy's Dad noticed that it wasn't the way that he puts them on and asked if I could illustrate them the Chabad way: just one strap instead of the upside down letter ש shape. Fortunately he sent me a photo to explain what he meant!
I finished off the design with the boy's name and the word Bar Mitzvah in both English and Hebrew in big red letters.
When my customer received the artwork in the mail she wrote to tell me that both she and her husband were delighted with how the design turned out. She told me that there was great excitement in the house when they opened it and that they both felt that I had really managed to capture something special.
I was pleased to have worked on such a special piece.


dottycookie said...

Gosh, that does sound complicated. Lovely artwork you've produced though - I'm sure he'll treasure it.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Beautiful work as always Lisa! Great detail on the Jewish straps!

Additionsstyle said...

Wonderful piece! So much detail goes into your work and it is always amazing.
Everyday Inspired