Creativity Magazine

Dr. Armstrong Operates, Performs Extraction, Saves The Day (Again)

By Mrstrongest @mrstrongarm

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ve probably thought to yourself: “This guy is a genius!! His work is so perfect! Doesn’t he ever make a mistake??”  Yup, you’ve probably thought that… : )BlankVertSpace.8pixels

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Mistakes are a specialty of mine. Fortunately, correcting mistakes is also a specialty, which allows me to rescue myself.

All of my line drawings contain “the usual” mistakes: a crooked line, somebody’s head is too big, objects are too close together, etc. Occasionally, there’s a truly ludicrous mistake, because somebody got careless (guess who?).

I’m in the middle of an assignment where my line drawing contained both kinds of mistakes. I thought a quick look at the correction process would make an amusing and instructive blog post.


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My client is the Pontifical Mission Societies, and my illustration features a World Mission Rosary and a world globe.

The 5 decades of the World Mission Rosary are 5 different colors, each representing a different continent. Each decade consists of 11 beads which represent familiar prayers: an Our Father, followed by 10 Hail Mary’s.


If you study my original line drawing (below), you’ll get the feeling that something is “off.” You’re right: the right-hand side of the elliptical globe is squashed in a bit, and needs to be pushed out and made rounder.

And if you count the beads, you’ll notice that some idiot put in 12 red beads, instead of only 11. Hm. Who do we know who could make a dumb mistake like that? (Don’t answer that.)

Note: The small arrows below indicate the “Our Father” bead for each decade. You also get to see my note to myself (circled in red) that one of the red beads has gotta go.

Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents misshapen too many red beads

I don’t have a neat and tidy solution to these kinds of problems. It’s usually messy and labor-intensive.

In this case, I could see I’d need to move both the red and yellow beads, pushing them outward to the right. I used the Pen tool to cut the strands into pieces, copying and pasting them onto new layers. Since I’m removing a bead and lengthening the right-hand side of the rosary, I clearly need more of the chain which links the beads together. So I simply copied and pasted in bits of chain as needed.

Here’s the result, with Mr. Big Purple Arrow indicating the naughty 12th bead removed by the surgeon.

If you scroll up and look at the original, you’ll see that Africa is now much further away from South America. When mighty illustrators expand the world, they have to realign the continents, too.

Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents right edge rounded extra bead extracted

In the following image, I overlaid the corrected drawing with the original red and yellow bead lines. You can see how the right-side realignment gives the globe a more pleasing, symmetric shape.

Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents overlay compare of original and revised globe right-side arc

How’s the assignment coming along? Here’s the illustration with some flat color laid in. I’ve also added Pope Francis who’s releasing a dove filled with kids’ faces. The illustration’s for the Missionary Childhood Association, which seeks to instill a spirit of mission in Catholic school kids in the United States (“children helping children”).

Catholic mission rosary with colored beads crucifix forming outline of globe with major continents Pope Francis releasing dove children participating in missionary work

Ever been involved in mission work, either firsthand or as a financial supporter?

Ever performed any surgery? (Dicing a carrot, peeling potatoes, cutting a piece of cake, etc.)

If illustrators are performing surgery, should they be required to carry malpractice insurance in case they decide to sue themselves??

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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