Drawing a WW2 Catholic Mass with Generic Colored Pencils

Hi, I’m Kevin Tracy of KTracy.com. In this week’s video, I’m reviewing a
cheap set of artist-quality colored pencils from Hobby Lobby, speaking a little Chinese,
creating patriotic and religious art based on an old World War 2 photo, discussing theology,
and sharing the results of my research into Jesus’ blood type. If you find yourself enjoying any of this,
hit that like button and consider subscribing for more weird videos. Some of this video might seem a little jumpy
and that’s because I’ve edited out a couple hours worth of footage where all you can see
is the back of my head in front of the camera. But if you buy any of my art from KTracy.com,
I promise it will go to getting a better camera setup. Anyway, let’s get this show on the road! This video got started because one of my awesome
nieces recently recently turned 10. Now that she’s in double digits; which she’s
constantly reminding us about and is apparently a much bigger deal than I remember it being;
she wants to graduate from kids color pencils – like Crayola – to adult color pencils. She also still draws on herself with markers
and lets her dog eat her art supplies, so she clearly isn’t ready for an $80 set of
Faber Castell pencils. However, being the awesome uncle that I am,
I went to Hobby Lobby to see if I could use a 40% off coupon and maybe find a deal for
her. Well, what I did find were these generic artist
quality colored pencils from “The Fine Touch” that were a fraction of the cost of the Prismacolor
and Faber Castell pencils. Whereas the professional name brand colored
pencils were over $2 a piece, these were a mere 27 cents. And at that price, I didn’t really care
if a few of them became dog food. And while these were in the adult art section,
– that sounds bad – YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN – I was a little worried the kid would have taken
one look at the generic packaging and figured I got these from the Dollar Store or Wish.com. So, I bought two sets of these. One for her, and one for me. Despite the fact that they were cheap, I wanted
to prove to her that you could still create awesome art with them. And that’s what I’m going to try to do
in this week’s video. Before I did that though, I needed to find
out whether these pencils were actually any good or not. There are things that simply cannot be done
with crappy colored pencils. And at 27 cents a piece, my expectations were
pretty low. As I began swatching the colors, the first
thing I noticed was that the colors lacked any kind of a name. Now granted, I think the names are usually
pretty stupid. Like “Brick Red” or “Forest Green.” There are a lot of different tones to red
bricks and green forests. It doesn’t really tell you anything. However, having a title for the pencil is
still an important so you know what color you’re using. So, after swatching each color, I took the
time to write a generic color code and number on each pencil. Y for Yellow. O for Orange. R for Red. BR for Brown. P for Purple. B for Blue. And G for Green. The numbers were just nominal, assigned in
the order they were swatched. If I end up liking these, I might go back
and change the number assignments to group hues a bit closer, especially in the greens,
purples, and blues where there is a healthy amount of variation. There was also one cool gray pencil that was
probably supposed to be a silver, a warm gray, and a neutral gray. There was also a white and black; the latter
of which is distinguished with a white “The Fine Touch” logo embedded into the top of
the pencil wood, instead of black. And while we’re talking about color assignments,
I feel I should bring up that while the colors are not identified by name, the color painted
onto the wood is generally fairly accurate. It seems like they switched the paint on two
pairs of pencils. The ones I marked as B2 and B3 seemed reversed
as well as the ones I marked as B4 and B5. [speaking broken Chinese] 如果你在製造這些鉛筆的工廠工作並且想要解決這個問題,我將這些數字從左到右排成第一行,然後從左到右排成行。 NAILED IT! Can you believe that was my first time trying
to speak Chinese? I know, “probably not,” but I promise
it’s true! Okay, after swatching and labeling all the
pencils, I next decided to test them out by blending and layering… and you know what? They actually did a really good job. I was pretty impressed. Blending similar hues, like light blue to
dark blue, worked wonderfully, and the pencils layered wonderfully over contrasting colors,
too, like red and blue. These do feel a little bit waxy, but not as
much as kids colored pencils and I felt like these layered and blended about as well as
any pencil I’ve tried. In fact, blending within hues here was easier
than some of the cheaper alcohol based markers I’ve used in the past. I was actually pretty impressed with the quality
of this dog food from “The Fine Touch” I bought for my niece. I wanted to draw something easy, and this
was July 2nd, so I was thinking something patriotic. I started looking for ideas online when I
stumbled across this photograph of a priest saying Mass aboard a Naval warship during
World War 2. It wouldn’t be easy, but this appealed to
me for a couple of reasons. First was the challenge. As you may have noticed in my pixel art, I
tend to get lost in the details of my work. I spent two days drawing the stained glass
window in the background of my Ghostbusters print. The same is true of what I call my analog
art, and it’s not a good thing. Especially with machinery and faces, I have
a terrible tendency to focus too much on the details and not enough on the structure. This photo featured details too small to be
accurately drawn by pencil on this 9 by 12 inch page, both of the warship and the men
aboard it. The second reason was that when I draw, my
mind enters a kind of meditative state. My art is influenced by what I’m meditating
on and my meditation is influenced by what I’m creating. Anyway, this was a rare chance for me to spend
several hours meditating on the Holy Mass, the Eucharist, the beauty of these gifts,
our relationship to them, and their relationship to us. Now, I’m not trying to get all religious
on you here. I know some people get offended by this stuff,
and I’m sorry if you do. However, as a Catholic, these are really important
topics to me, and it should be expected that my art is, from time to time, going to be
influenced by things that are important and meaningful to me. So, to understand some of my artistic choices
and motivations here, I feel I should first explain just the very basics of the Eucharist
and the Catholic Mass to clear up any misconceptions that may exist for non-Catholics or, as was
my case until several years ago, Catholics who were just Catechized very poorly. I promise, it will be fast. As Catholics, we believe that when Jesus said,
“Take, eat, this is my body.” and “Take, drink, this is my blood.” That he literally meant, “This IS my body.”
and “This IS my blood.” He also told us to do this in remembrance
of him, and hence the Mass. We also believe this is hugely significant
because Jesus went on to say, “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me
and I in them. Just as the Father sent me and I live because
of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.” I know a lot of people take who take every
word in the bible literally… except for these. And to be honest, I can’t blame them. I mean, at face value, it really is kind of
creepy… [skit about girl tricking dog to eat her hair] … kind of REALLY CREEPY. I mean, this is the God who told his chosen
people to circumcise themselves, so there’s kind of a track record here, but ritual cannibalism? That’s a whole other level of creepy! And that’s pretty much what I thought as
an 8-year-old kid when this was first explained to me. So, eventually, I was confirmed in the Church
through the religious education program, always believing that this was just a figurative
thing that people made a really big deal of. Anyway, several years later in 2007, Pope
Benedict authorized the use of the Latin rites for Mass and a church a few parishes away
from my home in Virginia was one of the first in the country to offer it. I was curious what all the hubbub was about,
so I went. Three things really stuck with me about this
Mass. First, was that my grandfather, who had died
a few months earlier, from the moment I walked in this church, felt like he was there with
me. I actually looked next to me a few times just
to check because the feeling was just so strong. I had been to services before this, and was
thinking a lot about him, but this was just different somehow. The second thing I remember was that even
though the Mass was said in Latin, I knew exactly what was going on because I knew the
Mass in English. Finally, there was the priest’s sermon about
the Eucharist; which was in English. He not only emphasized the literal meaning
of the scripture passages I mentioned before, but he also talked about the implications
of us literally eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the living and divine Jesus Christ. He explained that because God, and therefore
Jesus, exists beyond the limits of space and time, when we eat His flesh and abide in Him
and Him in us, we are entering a sort of vortex of space and time, and becoming not just united
with Christ, but with those other souls who are also united in Christ at this moment of
sacrifice throughout the past, present, and future. It’s a literal union of the community of
believers in a single instance spread throughout the ongoing history of the Church. And I know I’m not doing this idea or even
the priest’s sermon justice in my explanation of it, but the moment he said the word “vortex,”
everything just clicked. I instantly understood why it felt like my
grandfather was there with me in that church. This was the first time I really understood
what this Eucharist was, and my grandfather – who was at my first communion as a child
when I had no idea what was going on – was at this; which may more correctly be described
as my first real communion. Okay, I’m sorry. That took a bit longer than expected. The reason I went into all of that though
is because it directly influenced this art. The photo wasn’t detailed enough for me
to make out the uniforms of everyone onboard, but I decided to draw them with a mixture
of Army, Navy, and Marine dress and combat uniforms. I felt like the black and white photo gave
me liberty to make my own decisions about colors, and the idea of servicemen from different
branches in a wide variety of uniforms, if factually inaccurate, made sense in a rendering
of the Mass, bringing together men with drastically different rolls in this vortex of space and
time created by them eating the flesh of Jesus Christ. I also liked how the idea of this happening
on the deck of a Naval warship implied that soldiers and Marines were about to stage an
amphibious landing. Here these men were, coming together before
some – perhaps many – of them were about to die, finding solace and peace in the comfort
of their God. There’s also the purely military message
of this art piece, showing men with differing uniforms, highlighting the different roles
men took on in military service, all united in the single goal of achieving victory on
the battlefield; which is just moments away, perhaps. I actually thought about adding a couple Airmen
on this ship, or soldiers with more modern combat uniforms. However, I felt that would have been too distracting
from the messages I wanted to convey with this rendering, it may have even been a bit
garish. I also worried it may have been a bit self-serving
since I served in the Air Force. I might do something in the future more focused
on this vortex thing and the Eucharist. But for this piece, it didn’t feel quite
appropriate. I think it would have subtracted too harshly
from the subtlety of the message. I also wanted people to appreciate the use
of color here. At the center of the Mass, there’s an invisible
but brilliant warm, golden light. Around the ship, cold dreary clouds made beautiful
through the presence of Christ. And the warship itself, a machine of death
and destruction, constructed of cold steel and iron, reflecting the warmth of those Christians
aboard and the damp cool sky. Though it towers over the men, it is at the
same time faint and somewhat faded into the background, for it is ultimately only a tool,
neither good nor evil by itself. Hence, the contrasting light sources. I made an exception for the deck of the ship
though. Using a variety of colors, I wanted to give
the impression of the deck being like a red carpet for the soldiers, sailors, and marines
at this Mass. A few years ago, I began wondering what blood
type Jesus was. I think it had something to do with my sister
needing a kidney donation. In that process, the doctors explained that
Type A can only donate to Type A or AB. Type B to Type B or AB. Type AB can accept a donation from anyone,
but can only donate to itself. And type O can donate to anyone, but can only
accept a donation from another Type O. Anyway, I figured if there was any coincidental
religious message to be inferred from Jesus’ blood type, it would be Type O because He
gave Himself universally for all of us. I figured someone had to do this test on the
Shroud of Turin; which many people claim is the burial cloth of Jesus and is stained with
His dried blood. Well, this actually turned into a whole research
project on my part. They did the test and it was Type AB. But it turned out that there was more evidence
than this supporting AB. They did a similar test on a separate burial
cloth used with the Shroud of Turin and it too featured AB blood. As my research continued, I ended up learning
about what the Church calls, “Eucharistic Miracles,” where the communion wafer, having
been consecrated and transformed into the physical flesh of Christ and then spoiled
in one way or another – actually transforms either partially or entirely into a small
bloody mass of tissue. The Catholic Church will commonly nowadays
send these to secular, or non-religious, forensic laboratories to confirm whether or not they
are a legitimate miracle. And in each case that’s not a hoax, the
tissue turns out to be part of a human heart and the blood type is AB. The cool thing about this is that some of
the samples sent for testing, including the Shroud, date back to times before anyone knew
what blood types were, so if there was a conspiracy over several centuries to manufacture these
things, the organizers of it must have had some divine help making it happen. Especially since AB is present in only about
5% of the human population. But as silly and inconsequential as researching
Jesus’ blood type may be in the grand scheme of our salvation, I couldn’t help but think
that perhaps AB- is more fitting in a way than Type O. Type AB is the universal receiver. I’m reminded of that old painting of Jesus
outside some house and knocking on its wooden door. However, the wooden door doesn’t have a
handle on the outside, implying it can only be opened by whoever is on the inside. In other words, Jesus invites us all to join
him, but it’s up to us to accept that invitation, or to put it another way, to be received by
him. And it is silly, because blood plasma donations
appear to work exactly the opposite way as organ donations, but I didn’t know that
until about 10 minutes ago. I’m really good at tangents today. Anyway, I wanted the deck of the ship to look
almost like red carpets running out to the men aboard and the viewer of the piece, welcoming
them to the Mass, and inviting them to be received by Jesus. I mentioned before that this piece would challenge
me not to get wrapped up in the technical details of what I was drawing, and that was
certainly true. There were a lot of details, including the
rivets on the ship, that I really wanted to add, but I knew they would distract from the
mass; which I wanted to be the main focus of this piece. Another challenge was deciding whether or
not I wanted to use the black color pencil to add contrast. When I started and really up until I started
using it, my gut reaction was to avoid it. I have been experimenting using different
hues for shadows lately and using the dark blues, purples, browns, and dark green were
creating some really cool effects when layered together. However, as the work continued, it began to
feel like it was getting too washed out and the Mass was almost blending into the background
a bit. By adding black, it made the highlights of
the invisible golden light source really pop a lot more. It was a good decision. I used it sparingly in the background of the
warship they were on in only the darkest areas, like inside the gun turrets and in some really
dark shadows. I also used it lightly to add some dimension
to the bottom of the turret. I think the final challenge of any art work,
at least for me, is knowing when to stop. For this piece, it was pretty simple. According to my phone, I spent about 14 hours
drawing this, meditating about the beauty of the Eucharist, its importance, and what
it means to me. After 14 hours, it just felt like my meditation
was over. And when I looked down at it, the art looked
finished to me. I signed my name at the bottom and that was
it. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the video. I’m sorry if the theology stuff was off
putting at all. I wasn’t trying to convince you of anything
as much as I was trying to help you understand the inspirations and motivations of my creation
process, specifically for this piece. If you do want to learn more about Catholicism
or have major critiques about the faith, there are about 2,000 years worth of resources created
by people far smarter than me who can help you. Many of them are alive today and putting content
online for free. Let me know what you think. Is it a miracle that I got this quality out
of a generic set of 48 colored pencils from Hobby Lobby? Personally, I’m kind of thinking these are
just a shockingly good deal. Should I never try to speak a foreign language
again? Would you prefer if I just shut up and played
the same royalty free music over a timelapsed video? Leave a comment telling me what you liked
or didn’t like, smash that like button, and if you want to see more content like this,
I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel. I try to post one new video every week and
I’d love if you joined our growing community. Hey! Before you go, the video on the left is a
timelapse of me drawing my Irish-Wheaton terrier mix using a generic set of water-based brush
markers from Hobby Lobby. And on the right is a video YouTube thinks
you’ll like based on their nerdy computer science stuff. Anyways folks, thanks again for watching!

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