Illustrated Children's Ministry | Project Spotlight | Cushing

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Illustrated Children’s Ministry

Illustrated Children’s Ministry encourages customers to add some color to their faith resources.

Machines used for architectural prints are given an inventive new purpose at Cushing.

Printing Consultant: Erik Reczek
Writer & Photos: Catie Duffy

Coloring Outside the Lines

Illustrated Children’s Ministry provides illustrated faith resources for churches and families across the country (and around the world). Owner and Illustrator Adam Walker Cleaveland started out by creating digital illustrations for people to use in church services.

One day, a friend suggested he “blow up” the drawings (increase the size) and see if anyone was interested in purchasing them. The rest is history. Although Illustrated Children’s Ministry does much more than create large coloring posters, including occasional custom orders, that is what they are best known for.

Not Just for Kids

The new business venture coincides with a recent trend: adult coloring. Churches purchase posters to bring people of all ages together to color and have conversations.

“We resource churches and families and now schools and retirement homes with coloring posters and other products. People take what we do and just get so creative with it,” Walker Cleaveland said.
Given the Green Light
This is the third coloring poster project that Illustrated Children’s Ministry printed with Cushing. These latest posters are Stations of the Cross themed, developed for customers to color during Lent.

“We did a curriculum last spring called an Illustrated Earth, which included 12 posters about this same size, and illustrated different bible stories,” Walker Cleaveland said. “And then we did the Christmas set, which were giant posters that come together to form one big image.”

The Answer to Our Prayers

Before starting Illustrated Children’s Ministry, Walker Cleaveland spent fifteen years in youth ministry. His background is beneficial in this new business endeavor because he knows what is available for religious institutions in the publishing world.

“There’s not really anybody else making these types of things. There’s just not really something like this,” said Walker Cleaveland.
Showing Our True Colors

Illustrated Children’s Ministry originally printed coloring posters at an office supply chain.  When Walker Cleaveland saw how cost-effective and customer-focused Cushing was, he knew it was time for a change.

“Pinterest is filled with people who do all these things with engineering prints [at this office supply store], and that’s kind of all I knew,” he said. “I had run into some issues, and was talking with two other parents at my son’s school. They recommended Cushing and we made the switch.”

In this last round of prints, Cushing produced 1,000 sets of posters, collated them, stuffed them in tubes, taped the tubes, and delivered them. For the same price at his previous vendor, Walker Cleaveland received just under half the amount of print sets Cushing produced –

and packaging and collating was up to him!

“When choosing a new printer, price was a huge factor, but I think working with Erik and just knowing that this was a local Chicago business made me like Cushing even better.”
Golden Opportunity

Walker Cleaveland says social media is partly to thank for the company’s success. Clients come from Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, but it’s Facebook where they see the most traffic, referrals, and colorful end results!

Below are some photos shared with Illustrated Children’s Ministry over email and social media. What beautiful work!
With Flying Colors

Since Illustrated Children’s Ministry operates out of Walker Cleaveland’s garage, turn time was one of the biggest challenges for such a large run of posters. Cushing printed in batches of 250 sets over a three-week period.

“It was a little crazy, but it all ended up working out. We started out with a date in mind to have everything shipped, and by that date UPS was coming to pick up the last set of boxes. It was great,” said Walker Cleaveland.

God is in the Details

This story had a happy ending, but with a few small bumps along the way. Clients noticed coated paper used to print the last set was difficult to color. Sales Representative Erik Reczek did some research and found a better-suited paper.

“Each time that something has come up, Erik has just been right on top of it. Any issues were very quickly resolved and figured out. We always have made the deadline and it’s always worked out,” Walker Cleaveland said.
Creative People. Creative Solutions.

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