Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Jesus figure

Here's a Jesus figure to go with the 12 disciples character sheet.
A couple of people have asked for one.

(new version uploaded 13th Sept 2014)

After posting this, I realised that it may not be what people are expecting when they ask for a picture of Jesus! It's not your typical picture, but it's how I'm drawing Jesus at present, so I'm used to it. 

There is a reason for all the things that might be considered 'strange'.

There's nothing in this picture that would tell you it was Jesus unless you knew. This is deliberate:

  • He is a man. Obviously very few people would argue with this in theory, but so often he is portrayed as a sissy. A 'girl-with-a-beard' as I heard this type of picture once described! Masculinity is not somehow less spiritual, and it's unhelpful to imply that it is.
  • He is middle eastern. Does an average middle eastern man have lily-white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes? Why do people draw Jesus this way? Especially when they draw everyone surrounding him in a realistic manner. The implication that fair skin is somehow more holy is dangerous. 
  •  He is not wearing white. At his transfiguration, his clothes 'became white'. The implication, I think, is that they were not white to start with (nor is it likely they were off-white; ancient people had much simpler colour vocabulary than modern English). White is also an impractical colour when travelling! I have chosen red for two reasons: a) it is symbolic of blood, and b) I often do main characters in red to stand out. Any story Jesus is in has him as the main character.   
  • He is wearing a short tunic. He is an ordinary working-class man, and archaeological evidence appears to show that short tunics were the norm at the time. Jesus didn't think much of people who dressed in special clothes to look more holy, so we can assume he didn't wear anything out of the ordinary.
  • He has short hair. There's no reason to suggest Jesus would wear his hair differently from anyone else. (Sometimes people think he was a Nazirite, but he wasn't - he was a Nazarene: i.e. someone who comes from Nazareth.) It seems that short hair was the norm at the time. The reason I have drawn his hair curly is simply to be different. I don't think it's helpful if all pictures of Jesus look the same - no-one knows what he looked like, but we can recognise a picture of Jesus at a glance - this is silly!


Anonymous said...

The only downside is from your previous pictures, I would have assumed this to be Paul. But all your arguments make total sense.

I would personally use blue to make someone stand out but that is personal and also culturally unlikely as cheap strong blue dyes are (I think) a modern invention.

Kirsty said...

Why Paul? I'm curious!

When I do Paul, he'll be shorter (because his name means 'small', though I do think it is probably a surname rather than a nickname). A slight intellectual stoop and paler (sedentary job). Also, a bit more expensive clothes - not OTT, but he's a Roman Citizen, not a peasant (I know citizens could be poor too. But he also had a good education, so I'm guessing was from a well-off family). Boots, I think, not sandals. He'll have a hooded cloak (paenula), because we know he had one, which he left in Troas and asked someone or other to collect it for him.

It's vexing that there is no colour that stands out for both colour blind and non-colour-blind people :-(

I'm looking at a picture of a rug they unearthed at en-gedi, and it has a reasonable blue. However, I don't know how good the reproduction is, as it's in an old book (70s).

Anonymous said...

Largely just because he is dressed in red. Obviously lacking his pænula but possibly because he was still waiting on it being brought from Troas.

Kirsty said...

You used a dipthong. I wish I'd used one now :-(

What has red got to do with it? Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

I was sure you normally showed Paul in red - I may be completely wrong.

Kirsty said...

Don't think so - though I used to do Peter in red & brown stripes with an orange himation(cloak). I think I did Paul in yellow with blue stripes last time I did him.

Anonymous said...

By the way for dipthongs and any other special characters, I have AllChars installed which allows you to type a key sequence to get things like that. I have it set to use the menu key as I have never found any other reason to use it. So menu-a-e typed in sequence (not all held down at once) gives æ.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kirsty!

I love it and thanks for the explanation too. You put a lot of thought into it and it shows.

Kirsty said...

You're welcome!

Unknown said...

Hello! I discovered your blog from looking for pictures of the disciples on Google. I am a teacher in kids' church. Can I use your photos for my teaching? :)

Kirsty said...

Hi Lara,
You're welcome to use the disciples and Jesus, or other single pictures from the blog if they don't have SAMPLE written on them.
If you want more, most of my pictures are available on