Christian Comic Arts Society

A Network of Christian Fellowship for Comics Fans, Pros, and Amateurs

Greetings, everyone.

I may be a relatively new member here, but I've decided that I'm not going to post my future work here in the future. Sorry about that. My family and school life has been very complicated lately, and due to a desire to follow God wholeheartedly I'm not sure whether I'll enter the animation industry in the future, despite that I'm majoring in Communication Arts now. The film and animation industry as a whole is more complex than I've first realized, and some study on the Second Commandment and verses on idolatry I've being doing lately have led me to believe that I can't idolize my work or craft, whatever it may be. Animation and artwork is fun, but to make it a full-time job might cause me to become a workaholic if I don't watch out. So as a result, although I can't quit my school and I must finish the courses I picked, I am unable to say for sure what kind of job I will do in the future, and if I create comics, how much time I will spend on creating these things. It's all ultimately up to God, not me. Growing up in a single-parent family with a mentally disabled sibling, I learned a lot about illness and death and that life on Earth is limited. I'd rather spend less time on my artwork and more time with real people, caring for them, and studying the Bible so that I will be able to live in God's way, not mine. Even if I do post any comics online in the future, having a more biblical worldview would be beneficial because it will keep me from over-idolizing my craft or creating stories that are nothing more than cheap escapism and have no eternal significance. That's how I feel about it, anyway.

Surprising, I've found that some people interpret the Second Commandment and Deuteronomy 4:15~16 to mean that representational art is not acceptable (the Muslims and some ancient scholars come to mind), though others believe that these verses simply mean that you can't create images of God (since doing so would ''limit'' him to our own imaginings of him) or worship them, due to the explanations in Isaiah 40 and 44 connecting ''graven images'' to ''false gods used for worship''. I was worried for a while (and still am) that the verse means I can't draw my characters in comics (and I'm still examining the verse), but so far I find that if you look at the Bible as a whole, the verse seems to prohibit pictures and statues meant to represent deities. Either way, painful study on the issue has made me do a lot of thinking on idolatry these months, and although there is much about God's commands I don't understand yet and people have debated meanings of verses and even killed each other in wars over these arguments, I did learn that if I ever want to create anything truly good or live a truly human life, it's best if I not go around posting my artwork all over the Internet at least until I have a more solidly biblical worldview, knowing God better.

For those who read my first post, you guys probably know that I want to write science fiction. While I did say that I won't be posting any artwork on this site and I'm not going to make a comic blog of my own until it's the right time, I'm on FanFiction.net as ''A-Stranger-On-Earth'' and I'll probably be typing up a novel-length fan fiction about robots and society over there. I also reply to Private Messages there, so for those who wish to contact me, I can be find there.

In the meantime, this will be my second and last post on this site, and I'll be praying for you guys. Let's all pray that our creativity doesn't turn from a gift into an idol. Many people fall into that trap, so let's not make the same mistake.

Your friend,
Alison

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Dear Alison:

It is with great sadness that I saw your latest post. While I applaud and support your desire to live in God's approval, I question your interpretation of the passages concerning graven images. After all, the Sistene Chapel is full of images of God, but are done to make us contemplate our Lord, not worshp the image before us. I have also found that illustrations can truly enhance a storyteller's efforts. If I may offer my own advice, seek out an older and more experienced Christian, such as your pastor or a deacon in your church you can trust, and ask him or her for their advice or seek out the commentary on Biblehub.com, which I have found extremely helpful in the past.

 

When you feel you are ready to present your work, please do so on this forum. I would truly love to see your work. May God richly bless you.

Mike Jacobs

Hey, good to hear from you. No, don't get me wrong, I don't interpret the Second Commandment that way, I already mentioned that after a ton of painful study, it seems that the rule only forbids making images of deities and worshipping them. Moses made a bronze snake and it was only destroyed after it was worshipped. There are many other instances of images that were not met with disapproval in the Bible, such as the Cherubim of the Ark and the sculptures in Solomon's Temple. It's very difficult to regard them as mere exceptions. While I think you misunderstood me; I don't think the Second Commandment forbids artwork per se, if you look at the Bible as a whole, but through my study I did learn that I can't idolize anything, whether my job, creating artwork, or anything else. And my family and school life's a mess and there is still much about God and the Bible I don't know, so I decided I'm not going to post any artwork online UNTIL I'm more spiritually mature, and even when I post my stuff it'll be on my own blog or something instead of on here. If you wish to chat to me I can be found on FanFiction.net though, under that account I mentioned. Hope this clarifies my situation.

And sadly, it's hard to find a good church in my country. Taiwan is primarily a non-religious society, though older folks hold to some traditional Chinese religious customs influenced by Buddhism and Taoism. In regards to churches, cults are getting common in my country (which scares me) as well as churches that are nothing more than huge social gathering / entertainment centers. My mother dislikes Christianity due to being hurt by the church and my dad, while he believes there is a God, doesn't trust the Bible all that much. It's very lonely, sometimes I just feel I want to cry.

Alright, I'll stop complaining here. I already said I won't be posting my artwork on this site, so I'm afraid I can't change my mind. But maybe we could exchange emails so we can chat about stuff....and if I ever create my own comic blog, I'll send you a link. How's that? Please reply, I'd like to hear from you, thanks.

- Alison

Mike Jacobs said:

Dear Alison:

It is with great sadness that I saw your latest post. While I applaud and support your desire to live in God's approval, I question your interpretation of the passages concerning graven images. After all, the Sistene Chapel is full of images of God, but are done to make us contemplate our Lord, not worshp the image before us. I have also found that illustrations can truly enhance a storyteller's efforts. If I may offer my own advice, seek out an older and more experienced Christian, such as your pastor or a deacon in your church you can trust, and ask him or her for their advice or seek out the commentary on Biblehub.com, which I have found extremely helpful in the past.

 

When you feel you are ready to present your work, please do so on this forum. I would truly love to see your work. May God richly bless you.

Mike Jacobs

I'll miss you! (BTW my fan fiction name is Karasu the Dreamer. I don't have anything posted, though.)

Hi. I just sent you a Private Message on FanFiction.net, just so that you know. :)

K.G. Adams said:

I'll miss you! (BTW my fan fiction name is Karasu the Dreamer. I don't have anything posted, though.)

Dear Alison:

I'd like that. My E-Mail address is mj904383@gmail.com. I'll help you any way I can. BTW, I'm on fanfiction.net under the name Hoganfan. God Bless You.

Mike Jacobs

So, early church fathers were aware of this issue you speak of.  They decided with much prayer, that using art to teach allowed the illiterate to learn the stories that were held within the Bible.  That is, even if they had obtained literacy, the common man was unlikely to possess a Bible, as they were rare since they were copied by hand, therefore artists taught using their artwork. 

Even now, you will notice that Christian Art has a leaning toward trying to teach the viewer.  The creator of Peanuts, Charles Schultz, said, "I preach through my cartoons".  And this is in fact the call of a Christian artist, to teach what their teachers teach them to a crowd that may never hear their teachers.

Hi, I did mention many times in this page that I do NOT disapprove of drawings. Until I understand the related verses in the Bible better, I can't just jump to that conclusion. But I do think that the animation industry probably isn't the best choice for me due to my tendency to idolize my work and ideas. And since whatever stories I create, I do want them to have an eternal value, I have to put God and my reality first in order to be a good storyteller. So I've been thinking of transferring to the English department in my college and perhaps grow up to teach children instead....that way I can care for people directly. And I could tell them stories personally, too. I'm not saying that animation is bad. Far from it. It's just that the film and TV industry in our world in general has become very complicated and it seems that if I join, either I will have to spend my life working for projects that are not mine - always drawing for others, but never actually creating something - or if I want to pursue my own projects I'd have to invest so much time and money in it, I may forget my reality and spend less time with God. There are other ways for me to tell my stories; when I was a child I wanted to be an English teacher or translator and write novels in my spare time. Maybe it's time for me to remember that childhood dream of mine and make it come true.

Brian Jeffrey Durham said:

So, early church fathers were aware of this issue you speak of.  They decided with much prayer, that using art to teach allowed the illiterate to learn the stories that were held within the Bible.  That is, even if they had obtained literacy, the common man was unlikely to possess a Bible, as they were rare since they were copied by hand, therefore artists taught using their artwork. 

Even now, you will notice that Christian Art has a leaning toward trying to teach the viewer.  The creator of Peanuts, Charles Schultz, said, "I preach through my cartoons".  And this is in fact the call of a Christian artist, to teach what their teachers teach them to a crowd that may never hear their teachers.

Wherever God calls you is the right place for you to be.  Sometimes it's for a lifetime, sometimes it's for a period of life.

I admit that as far as this world goes, which we can't expect to behave as Christian, all media is tainted.  Books, Short Stories, Comics, Animation, Movies, Music... and there are times when even Christians lose focus, like in the story of Amy Grant. 

My Grandfather decided he'd become a teacher so he could teach kids.  After finishing all of his classes, he was tasked with reading 10 books and doing essays on those 10 books to finish his teaching degree.  All 10 books assumed or stated God did not exist, and my Grandfather walked away from college and became a truck driver.  To my grandfather, the degree was not worth it.  He could stay believing in God, be a minister to others, and still not risk any loss of faith as Grandpa considered faith a most precious thing.

Wherever God calls you is the right place.  Though from experience, I can honestly say that academics generally do not favor God and the work place does not either.  We learn from others, then we preach God, even though many skills we learned was from people who did not believe in God.  (And in this I prepare paintings for upcoming shows, but nearly all of my college and university classes were taught by people who were not Christians.)

Still to say, if the animation jobs available lean long past immodesty, I can easily see your point.  Over here in grocery stores, when my wife visited, there was a writer, "Danielle Steel" or something... and I warned my wife before she even saw the books and afterward that this is "girl porn".  So, I get what you're saying.  When Jesus said, I pray that you not take them out of the world, but they would be a light in the world(I know, I know, I should have the exact quote here, but my four year old is laughing that I put too many ys in the lower part and wanting to paint with the computer.).  Our life is that... in every occupation.  But yes... you are absolutely right... pray continually... pray continually... pray continually... pray continually... pray continually

I wish the best and will pray for you.  That relationship with God is first, it totally is.



Brian Jeffrey Durham said:

Wherever God calls you is the right place for you to be.  Sometimes it's for a lifetime, sometimes it's for a period of life.

I admit that as far as this world goes, which we can't expect to behave as Christian, all media is tainted.  Books, Short Stories, Comics, Animation, Movies, Music... and there are times when even Christians lose focus, like in the story of Amy Grant. 

My Grandfather decided he'd become a teacher so he could teach kids.  After finishing all of his classes, he was tasked with reading 10 books and doing essays on those 10 books to finish his teaching degree.  All 10 books assumed or stated God did not exist, and my Grandfather walked away from college and became a truck driver.  To my grandfather, the degree was not worth it.  He could stay believing in God, be a minister to others, and still not risk any loss of faith as Grandpa considered faith a most precious thing.

Wherever God calls you is the right place.  Though from experience, I can honestly say that academics generally do not favor God and the work place does not either.  We learn from others, then we preach God, even though many skills we learned was from people who did not believe in God.  (And in this I prepare paintings for upcoming shows, but nearly all of my college and university classes were taught by people who were not Christians.)

Still to say, if the animation jobs available lean long past immodesty, I can easily see your point.  Over here in grocery stores, when my wife visited, there was a writer, "Danielle Steel" or something... and I warned my wife before she even saw the books and afterward that this is "girl porn".  So, I get what you're saying.  When Jesus said, I pray that you not take them out of the world, but they would be a light in the world(I know, I know, I should have the exact quote here, but my four year old is laughing that I put too many ys in the lower part and wanting to paint with the computer.).  Our life is that... in every occupation.  But yes... you are absolutely right... pray continually... pray continually... pray continually... pray continually... pray continually

I wish the best and will pray for you.  That relationship with God is first, it totally is.

GREAT advice!!!  Thank you.

I have been a graphic artist for 30+ years. I have been doing my web comic since 2010. I hear what you are saying. I don't show any images of Jesus in my strip. However, I do like the strip "coffee with Jesus". He has been criticized for using an image and putting words into the mouth of Jesus. He has explained this and I am still mixed. I choose to extend grace. As far as images go I would do a study of the iconoclast controversy that happened in the Byzantine empire in the 700's and 800's AD. The debate was intense. The 7th ecumenical (and final) council  dealt with this subject before the great schism. Good study in church history.

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