Angels are beautiful beings that I feature on many of my custom memorials. And the angel on Kevin’s custom memorial is absolutely beautiful. This young man is dearly missed by his family and they wanted something special for him.

The pain Kevin’s mom carries is nearly unbearable. Although she does not feel like getting up and facing the day, she puts on a brave face and forces herself out the door. Her kind, beautiful eyes are fresh with tears and I know there is nothing I can say or do that will help ease her pain.

While family surrounds her and supports her, the pain prevents her from telling me what she has in mind for her son. Her family members wrap their arms around her and tell me that they all love the idea of an angel standing in his honor. In fact, they want a lovely angel to watch over and protect him every day.

While some may envision a watchful or protective angel as being masculine or warrior-like, they prefer one who looks peaceful and prayerful. In fact, they have seen one in the cemetery that has inspired them.


One of the best places to get inspiration for a memorial is the cemetery. After all, cemeteries are full of beautiful headstone and memorial ideas! Below is the inspiration that Kevin’s family initially found in the cemetery. It is a beautiful, fully carved angel memorial we recently made and installed. Isn’t it pretty?!

Fully hand-carved angel memorial we recently made and installed in the cemetery. This memorial served as inspiration.
Inspiration for Aleman Memorial

Aside from walking the cemetery, another great way to get memorial inspiration is to check out my Memorial Creation Journal. This journal is designed to guide you through the information we need while also sparking ideas for your memorial. It is totally free and you can click here to get your downloadable copy.

Narrowing Down Ideas

After visiting with the family, I learn there are many things about the inspiration piece that they love but don’t think are right for Kevin. Of course every individual is different and their memorials should be too! My goal is always to create a memorial that reflects the individual it is honoring. And the best way to do that is to “get to know” the person who has passed away.

One thing I love about this part of the process is getting to learn about the individual’s talents, passions, hobbies, skills and memories they leave behind. Visiting with family and friends of the deceased allows me to gain a clear vision of what the memorial should look like.

Angel Design Process

Collaborating with my designer is always fun. First we visit through the family’s vison and then we work through any design challenges. While working with stone there are always design challenges. However, we expect those challenges and are always up to the task.

This is the first conceptual drawing of Kevin’s angel that we put together. Isn’t it beautiful?!

Our hand-sketched initial conceptual drawing based on the family's inspiration.
Concept Drawing #1

Of course, the first concept isn’t always exactly what the family has in mind. And that is okay! We continue to visit and sketch until the perfect design is drawn. Sometimes a family needs several revisions while other times they only need a small change or two.

You will notice how the final concept below features changes to the tilt of the angel’s head and the position of her hands. Not only is she watching over him, but she is praying over him too. Such beautiful changes!

Final conceptual drawing of our fully hand-carved, custom angel memorial. She is going to be beautiful!
Final Concept Drawing

Digital Design

After we finish the conceptual drawing we use the special software to digitize it. Doing this allows the family to get clear idea of what the completed memorial is going to look like with the engraved text.

Choosing a font can be an important part of the memorial creation process. Because not all fonts work for monument engraving, we need to be careful in our selection. This is why it is so important to work with a Certified Memorialist who knows what will and will not work on the memorial materials.

Digitally designed from a hand sketch, this fully carved angel memorial is going to be gorgeous!
Final Digital Drawing

Adding Photos to a Headstone

I love adding photos to headstones. You will notice on Kevin’s memorial that not all photos are of Kevin. In fact, for Kevin’s memorial we utilize both his photo and an artistic image of Christ shepherding a flock.

Our photos are made of enameled steel and carry a phenomenal manufacturer’s warranty. Knowing the photo is warrantied against cracking, chipping and fading truly gives the family peace of mind.

Carving the Angel

Having the stone carved is such an important step in the process. First we communicate every measurement to the carvers and then we communicate the textures.

Textures are important because they create visual interest. For example, the black polished area of the stone contrasts nicely against the more muted tones of the hand carvings.

You may recall these angels, and wonder where the clay models are for Kevin’s angel. While clay models are phenomenal tools that I love, they aren’t necessary for this particular memorial.

This beautiful angel memorial was carved by hand and is now ready to be engraved.
Fully carved custom angel memorial

Isn’t she beautiful?! Now that she is carved, the next step is to engrave the text.

The text this family chose is delicate and small, which makes it difficult to sandblast. Because we want to ensure the text is readable, we utilize our precision-etching process.

Nearly complete, this fully carved, custom angel memorial features precision-etched text and detailed photo surround.
Fully Carved Custom Angel Memorial

Photos for the Final Touch

Next we add the photos. Our photos are made of high quality, enameled steel and are designed for outdoor use. The manufacturer of our enameled steel photos has a wonderful warranty against cracking, chipping fading, etc. In fact, the warranty is so amazing that we focus on attaching them in a manner that allows us to perform any necessary future warranty work.

You will notice the bold, vibrant colors in the photos and how they just “pop” against the solid black granite. They are special, finishing touches to this gorgeous memorial.

An Angel To Watch & Protect

Kevin’s memorial is absolutely beautiful. It is everything the family desires it to be and something they are truly proud of. It is such an honor to have worked with them.

To discover more about Kevin’s memorial, or to begin the memorial design process, please click here.

This fully carved, custom angel memorial featuring enameled steel photos, was installed in the cemetery.
Aleman Angel Memorial


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