To enable Relaxing into Meditation to fall within a reasonable price bracket for that type of book, the illustrations could not add expense to production of the book – so they had to be in black and white, or greyscale. Most of the illustrations are of people so black and white photography was an option I considered. I feel that photographs in a work of reference need to be of exceptional quality. Poor quality photographs reduce the sense of value of the whole work. I did not have skill to produce photographs of the necessary quality and paying to have so many photographs created would be expensive – so I rejected this as a possibility.
Aro Buddhism Encyclopædia website and an example is shown here of Guru Rinpoche. Although I would not claim to have the consumate skill of a thangka painter, I do hold a degree in design and felt that I could produce reasonable line images. I rarely have time to be creative with pencil or paint nowadays but have produced an occasional nice piece in days past. Some of my artwork can be viewed on Zazzle.
Gimp (GNU Image Manipulation Programme). I used bezier curves to create drawings from the photographs. The simplicity of the lines is deliberate. I felt that the addition of shading would only complicate the images and obfuscate their message. I feel the line drawings successfully do the job they are meant to do. I also like that there is a uniformity of style of drawings throughout the book so that even when I use Khandro Déchen's drawing of Yeshé Tsogyel, and Ngak'chang Rinpoche's calligraphies there is a similar feel to the images.
I believe the line drawing illustrations in Relaxing into Meditation do their job and are fit for their purpose. Friends can recognise the members of my family who posed for the original photographs from which the images were created – so I feel this reflects an accuracy of their depiction. I am pleased with them and like their crispness and cleanness. I hope you like them as well.