Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Drawing the Devil!

One of the Bible stories I will be illustrating soon is the 'Temptation of Christ', This will be a difficult one to illustrate as I will need to interpret the Devil in some way. When you look through different children's Bibles at the story of 'The Temptation of Christ', you realize that few Bible artists agree on what the Devil looks like.

The example shown above is just one interpretation from a children's Bible that I have.
Frank Hampson, in 'The Road of Courage' depicted Satan as a simple shepherd. Some show the devil in a female form, as did Mel Gibson in 'The Passion'. and others still as an Angel.
No doubt Satan could take on any of the above forms and more! But, I can't see any good reason why Satan would appear in any other than his natural form, when standing before Christ. After all, there was no way he was going to deceive Christ as to 'who he was!' The question is, what is the natural form of Satan?

It's safe to say that the usual images we see of Satan, like the one above, are inaccurate. The red, hoofed, fork carrying, figure with horns resembles more the mythological creature Pan.
We do know that Lucifer was a fallen Angelic being, a spirit being who was beautiful in appearance and powerful. There's a lot of debate going on as to whether Satan was a covering cherub or not, according to Ezekiel 28. Any comments on that debate might be helpful.

Because we know that Satan was an angelic being I should point readers to the 'Drawing Angels' post, as I have gone into more detail on the subject of angels there.

Norman de la Cruz had been commissioned to work on a new children's Bible for the Philippine Bible Society. Like me, Mr De la Cruz came from an animation background and so was normally able to rough out many pictures a day.
Everything was going well until he came to illustrate the book of Job! An extract follows from an interview with Mr De la Cruz on the 'Asia Pacific' website.

“And things went fairly well until I got to the Book of Job. Then I ran into trouble. I came to the part where Satan asks God to curse Job. I knew I had to illustrate this somehow, but I became stuck. I realized that for most of my life I had been illustrating evil, violence, but here, faced with the originator of all evil, I was powerless to come up with anything. I just sat and stared at my pencils.
I can draft up to 100 illustrations in a day, but I was truly stuck here, unable to lift a pencil. I wondered if I would ever be able to draw again. That was when it came to me that I needed prayer".

I would be interested to know what his final interpretation looked like. If I'm able to get a copy of this Bible from the PBS, I'll let you know! I would be interested to receive any comments on this subject before I begin work on the story.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

My favorite Bible artists #3

Clive Uptton 1911-2006
Clive Uptton was a Wartime political cartoonist for the Daily Sketch between 1940-1942. He was a left handed artist like myself, but wrote with his right hand!
You can actually tell he was left handed from his Bible pictures! (left handed artists draw the shine in peoples eyes on the left hand side! Right handed artists draw it on the right.)
As well as his pen and ink drawings he liked to work in watercolors, oils and acrylics, Following the war he became an internationally successful illustrator, poster artist and painter, painting both landscapes and portraits. In 1930 Clive Uptton added an extra 't' to his name to avoid confusion with another illustrator of the time named Upton.

In the late 1960's Clive Uptton was commissioned to produce 121 full-color Bible illustrations for 'Egermeier's Bible Story Book. I first came across Upttons Bible pictures in the Ladybird Bible stories series, (606A). In my humble opinion he was the best artist in this series. I'm not sure if these pictures were reprints from the 'Egermeier's Bible as I don't have one to compare them with.
It's easy to spot a Bible illustration by Clive Uptton, as all his characters seem to have big brown eyes! I particularly like the facial expressions he manages to capture.

Uptton died shortly before his 95th birthday.

Favorite Bible Artist #1 Frank Hampson
Favorite Bible Artist #2 Nestor Redondo
Favorite Bible Artist #4 Cicely Mary Barker