Designing windows of the Twelve Apostles for the Cathedral of St. Matthias in Katy, TX, makes me appreciate the miracle of these flawed fishermen becoming stained glass saints. The Apostle of Faith who denied even knowing Jesus; John, the Apostle of Love who wanted God to annihilate a Samaritan village by fire; and James, the Apostle of Hope who couldn't wait to secure a throne next to Jesus. The Apostles have a traditional placement, symbol, representation, and attribute in Christian iconography that helps these stained glass saints tell their story to us.
The first thing I submit to a church is a small color rendering to give them an idea of what a design might look like (figure C.) This is done by marker on vellum to give the sense of the light transmission a window will have. My next step is to create a full sized cartoon (figure D). I redraw the thumbnail sketch of the saint (figure A) to full size (figure B)--an image that will eventually be painted on glass and fired. At this stage, I'm checking my design instincts against the iconographic tradition. My instinct, for instance, was that James represented Hope, attempting to capture that in his face and bearing, and happily this was verified in the traditional manuals. His cloak is green for this reason, and his attributes of Hope are the pilgrim's staff and martyr's sword.
Once I figure out where all the lead lines will fall, I can start cutting glass