At Bespoke we don’t only create art and design, but we teach you about it too and show you how to make your own projects. In our visual, user friendly style we aim to give you inspiration and starting points to initiate a desire in you to try out our techniques and tips.


Postured in Expectancy: A Bookmark Project

Making a personalised bookmark is always fun to do. It can be for yourself or you can make it for someone else. Our design is inspired by The Parable of the Ten Virgins, found in Matthew chapter 25 verses 1-13. We focussed on the 5 ladies who kept awake, alert, and their lamps lit in expectation of the anticipated bridegroom’s arrival. The bible’s use of the word “virgin” is to signify the bride of Christ which is the church, you & I, being ready, and being made spotless- pure, by the Jesus’s sacrifice for our sin on the cross. The bridegroom is a metaphor for Jesus. Jesus according to the Word of God is going to return one day. As believers and followers of Jesus Christ it is up to us to be ready for his return. The anticipation of Jesus’s return is not meant to be ominous in nature, but something to look forward to in eager expectation.

So, the idea of creating a bookmark to illustrate this parable is also about communicating the idea of being excited and not wanting to miss out on the next chapter of what Jesus is doing.


Step 1: Here is a pencil drawing with 2 stylised figures to represent 2 out of the 5 ladies who were ready and waiting with their lamps lit. In the case of our illustration we have drawn the ladies holding candles, but they themselves are standing in an arch way that was intentionally drawn to look like it could be the outline of a lantern. the back ground is meant to be a night time sky. The drawing started out on A4 size white card. Pencil lines were drawn to indicate where the bookmarks would eventually be cut out from. The width across each book mark is 7.5.cm.


Step 2: As you can see the background of bookmark number 1 is filled in. We used inks similar to watercolour and applied the colour in layers gradually to build up an even and rich appearance all over. The paint was applied using a small size round tip watercolour brush. Using a small brush enabled better control of where the paint went- for neatness. Colours were tested on a scrap piece of card first to make sure they were the right shades. This project- especially with using inks or water-paints could be done on watercolour paper instead of white card. 


Step 3: Once all the background colour was done, the next step was to apply the paint to the smaller more detailed areas. For this we used an even smaller brush and very carefully applied the colour. Don’t worry if some of the colour is stronger or more patchy than you would ideally like. The next step will show how you can apply some effective finishing touches.


Step 4: Bespoke is all about the gold and the jewels! We love adding these details to our work. It makes it extra special. We like to use gold and jewelled Indian ribbon to emphasise God’s sovereignty over human history, and communicate that we worship Him, acknowledging His splendour. Gold designers gouache was applied on top of the painted areas and blended into it. Watered down white acrylic paint was used to carefully go over the pencil lines. The white outline brings the whole painted piece to life.


Step 5: Finally the bookmark was now ready to be cut out from the sheet of A4 white card. Sections of Indian ribbon were cut out, glued onto just a few areas of the bookmark so as not to overpower it, but add effective décor. We used a white craft glue, and then edged the glued on ribbon with gold paint followed by an outline of white acrylic paint. Once dry, we chose some craft gems to match the colours of the bookmark, and we glued them on top of the ribbon flowers. A tassel was added to go at the top of the bookmark. The tassel was attached to the bookmark by threading it onto thin gold cord. The thin gold cord was sandwiched between the back of the painted bookmark and another piece of white card cut the same size. A craft glue was used to glue the back of the bookmark, gold cord, and extra card backing piece together.