The Divine Poster Story

(Based on my true story)

My journey has been somewhat unusual, but I will start from the beginning so you understand how I got to where I am right now.  But I am going to shorten it for this website and so hopefully you don’t fall asleep reading a lengthy version.

My background and knowledge of art and design have been a part of my life for many years. I have worked in graphic design studios and corporate art departments producing brochures, flyers, annual reports, branding materials and other items related to advertising.

In general my life was OK but with a lot of ups and downs with the downs more often than the ups. I am not saying my life was bad but many times in turmoil from making some not-good family decisions (nothing drug or arrest related) and at time walking away from my responsibilities.

Now to the Point of This Story

I know graphic design and understand how long it can take to design graphics.

First, you have to come up with the idea which is not always easy. Next, you have to write the words and then build the project’s design parts and hopefully you know the client’s business well enough to get it done. In my experience, this can take several days, weeks or longer for a single project.

What do they say, “Ideas don’t grow on trees”? That’s more truth than fiction and wouldn’t it be great to go outside and pick an idea off a tree? OK, back to reality. It usually takes a lot of people and concepts to design any type of creative materials. Some do the design, some the copy and some put it all together. And that was what I started doing…putting it all together. It is kind of like a chef in the kitchen. He gets all the ingredients and others do their part so the meal comes together…hopefully just right and the customer loves the meal.

ODW Poster Sketches
Sketchbook Drawings Page
ODW Poster Sketches 2
Sketchbook Drawings Page

What I Feel is My Incredible Journey

It is December 13, 2017, and I am sitting at my computer working on a design Christmas card project when I get an idea to design a religious poster. I know the date because it is in my sketchbook for that design and others. You know when you are going somewhere, shopping or doing something and an idea pops into your mind and you think “Wow that’s a great idea”? Well, it was kind of like that but to me it didn’t make any sense. I’ll explain.

I am not a religious person. I believe in God (and Jesus) but wasn’t praying on a regular or partial basis, didn’t attend church not because I didn’t want to but hadn’t found one. I did attend church as a child so the idea of attending is not unknown to me. You know when you feel something in your life is missing? That was how I was feeling and still doing a religious poster made no real sense to me.

Why and where did the idea come from and why do it at all? I somehow felt compelled. Kind of like someone speaking to me and explaining what to do as with normal projects but with no real voice. It is a voice inside I think giving me direction.

Sure so you would probably say I am a little wacky and being a designer/artist I might even agree but this was different. I wasn’t doing any preaching or predicting the future; just designing a poster.

Was it my internal voice giving me the ideas? No not in my thinking. I would not have even thought of that type of design – religious I mean.

The First Poster Design

The first religious design process for the poster was very time-consuming but I worked through it in Photoshop. I never thought to record the time it took but I am sure it took several days knowing what was involved. The idea was not real complicated at least in my thinking, but it did involve using some aspects of Photoshop I was not familiar with and had to learn.

It did seem as though there should be more but there wasn’t. No more ideas or anything related to religious design. It was like all this work and now what? Do I sell it? To whom and why and is it even saleable?

The Poster Ideas Stop

I designed several more posters (three in total) that year and then nothing. Absolutely no ideas or designs were coming to mind. What happened? I am not sure but life goes on and so did I.

Time went by and for some reason which I would guess was hearing Jean in the back of my mind speaking about how praying would ease her mind, so I started to pray. Slowly at first because I wasn’t sure what to say or why. It was kind of like learning to drive for the first time where you are excited but nervous because you want to go without an accident.

So What Is My Purpose?

As time went on, I started wondering about my purpose in life. Why am I really here? What should I be doing? I am sure there is a plan but I didn’t know what mine was or how it would unfold.

So I decided to ask God. “Please reveal my purpose and give me the wisdom to pursue it.” Now the answer if you can call it that actually came pretty quickly I think.

I always kept a pen and pad and pen on the nightstand in case I would get ideas for design projects and was able to write the ideas down so I wouldn’t forget by the morning. So this pad became very helpful in recording my ideas even if I had to try writing while half asleep. I am very happy I was able to decipher my scribbling. Ever write something quickly and not be able to read it later? Yeah…like that.

Then a half-year of my life was interrupted by an accident that could have been much worse if not being watched over by God. The recovery time was long but with His help and guidance made it through but not completely unscathed. I was not able to do Photoshop work for quite a while because I use a tablet with my left hand and the mouse with my right hand.

Sketchbook Drawings Page
ODW Poster Sketches 4
Sketchbook Drawings Page

That’s hard using only my left hand, but after a while of physical therapy I managed my right hand with limited use.

A Change in the Speed of Ideas

I have asked God to reveal my purpose again and believe that was the time when the ideas started coming in much faster. Actually faster than I could have come up with the ideas myself. Consider you are in a plane and is goes down the runway at a slow speed and then faster until you are in the air. That is what it was like…very fast it seemed.

The Poster Designs Continue to Come

As of this writing (September 2018), I have completed well over 100 designs with 60 being in the last 2 months. One a day which is extraordinary to me but not because of my design skills but because of His hand helping me through the Holy Spirit.

In case you are wondering about the ideas now – they are still flowing some slowly and others quicker.

So that leads me to truly believe the Holy Spirit is leading me with the ideas, words and most likely designs.

I am not sure where this journey is continuing to take me at this time. The only thing I can add is that if you are a believer – God will help you on your journey if you just ask.

Just ask and keep your faith and if you are not a believer you may want to really reconsider.

H John Johnsen – 2018

Questions? Feel free to contact me at john@ourdividedworld.com

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Our Divided World

This site was built & designed by
H John Johnsen for a place to host his poster designs to help stem the tide of hate, anger, prejudice, deceit, resentment and lies and also to let visitors know the Holy Spirit guided him through the whole process and continues to guide him.

You can visit John’s personal page to learn more about him and his graphic design work. There was purposely no menu link to keep the posters upfront.

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