Kids love cartoon characters and the idea of using them to teach kids is not new with One Mission Kids. Charles M. Schultz, creator of Peanuts, once said, “Cartooning is preaching. And I think we have a right to do some preaching.”
Since the days of the quarterly Missions to the Max newsletter, One Mission Kids (OMK) has used cartoon characters to teach kids mission concepts. From simple conversations between Mira Mefirst and Otto, to Kimmi Kindheart sharing ideas for kids to try missions, OMK understands that cartoons speak to kids (and kids at heart). In fact, we even created an entire VBS-type missions program around the character of Max the Dog, entitled Making Trax with Max!
OMK also designed boy and girl characters wearing traditional clothing for the many countries where OMS ministers. The international characters introduce kids to worldwide destinations on the One Mission Kids website.
The original characters were hand drawn by Susie Howard based upon sketches created by her sister. When Amy Nelson joined OMK she brought the characters into the computer age. Then, OMS friend and Sonny Solar artist David Oldham was contracted to complete the remaining international characters.
In 2016, OMKI worked with illustrator Brian Rees to update the existing stick figure characters to help prepare them for future animation. The original characters had black hair, black eyes, and many were missing noses. By simply adding a nose, and giving each character their own eye and hair color, OMK can better reach an international audience, and more specifically the iGeneration (those born after 1996.)
The OMK animation project will take considerable time and close to $3,000 to purchase the necessary animation software, cartoon backgrounds, and the money to hire artists. More than 65 characters need to be redesigned in multiple formats so they will be ready for future animation. More than 42 international characters will be redrawn to include many new countries of OMS ministry from Thailand to Venezuela, and even Israel.
The original 7 main characters will welcome some fresh faces, including Grammy Rose (married to Globe Trotting Gramps), a boy in a wheelchair, an adopted girl from Asia, and even a cat.
These dynamic changes, along with updating the OMK website to be more device friendly, are all ways for One Mission Kids to effectively continue to help grow missionary hearts.