Drawing On Faith

I had a bit of a soul-searching* question asked of me today. An acquaintance of mine emailed me asking how much I’d charge for a drawing that to me seemed clearly religious. I won’t go into details about what the drawing was to be but there were scriptures and swords and other Christian themes. Now it’s pretty clear that I have a long history of drawing priests and knights and demons and swords and armor and, yes, angels (mostly fallen), and in truth I have nothing against any of this subject matter in the context that I have heretofore been hired to draw them, which is chiefly for fantasy games like Dungeons and Dragons. I have never been asked to draw something with legitimate religious meaning to/for someone. I could be making assumptions as I didn’t really ask what the context for the artwork was except that it was a gift for a third party. I think it was the scriptures that made it cross the line for me. I turned down the job as politely as I could, but I did state my reasons (the other one I haven’t mentioned here yet is that the deadline was a bit too close for comfort).

Artists have of course traditionally been patronized by the church–that’s nothing new–but as a sometimes outspoken anti-theist (more properly anti-religionist if that’s a word), I knew that I really could not in good conscience even give a price quote on this job.

So that was unexpected and kind of interesting. I learned a little bit about myself today.

*Pun not intended, but hilarious!

2 Replies to “Drawing On Faith”

  1. “Artists have of course traditionally been patronized by the church–that’s nothing new…”

    Are you using patronized in the sense of “a patron to the arts” or “don’t you patronize me!” ?

    I think it’s fair to say that the Church has done both, but probably more for the good of art, in the scope of history. Would your beliefs stop you from drawing other things that depict things contrary to your beliefs? Violence? Theft? Objectification of Women? Crusading?


  2. Entirely context-dependent. I would certainly draw violence and I would also portray the objectification of women (I am doing both for a short four-pager Underbelly spin-off), but in a cartoony tongue-in-cheek way. I do not think I would go as far as Frank Miller does, for example, unless it was a commentary against what is being portrayed. You know that old gambit.

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