Friday, 10 March 2017

How people draw Adam & Eve


The tricky thing (or one of them) about drawing Adam & Eve, is that you have to draw two completely naked people in a way that you (and your customers) feel is appropriate for children.

So I did some research. I looked at every children's Bible story book that I could find in my church - and a couple I have at home - and took photos of the Adam & Eve pictures.


It was interesting to see the different solutions. Some more successful than others. My definition of successful is if it looks natural - it just 'so happens' that you can't see anything you're not supposed to. You want to give the impression that they 'were naked and felt no shame', while catering for the fact that it's not like that now.

Of course, different people have different ideas on what is appropriate. A couple of the ones below actually show Eve topless, which I don't have a problem with myself, but would not want when teaching other people's children :-)

My comments below are based entirely on the success or otherwise of the censoring, not whether I personally like the pictures.

Plants

 


By far the most common solution. Understandable - they're in a garden. Rarely looks natural, though.

Either they seem to be skulking waist/chest deep in bushes, or individual plants just 'happen' to be in the right place - but nowhere else. E.g. pic 9: it would look natural, except that there are no other similar clumps of plants around.

Sometimes it would make sense to cover up more than you need to, so it looks more accidental. Pic 10 is the most convincing.

Could be a good solution in extreme moderation - instead of being the default.

But actually often the same result could be achieved by...

Cropping


Many of the above pictures (e.g. 8) could simply have had the figures a little closer up and cut off at the waist.

Here are some good examples:


It's perfectly normal to draw clothed people from the waist up, just head & shoulders, etc. It looks very natural. So I'm not sure why more people don't jump at this easy solution when drawing Adam & Eve.

Careful Posing



This is another good solution. Usually looks quite natural. Trickier to achieve, of course. Some really creative ones here - like pic 4 and 8.

It also depends what you're happy showing, and the more realistic, the less appropriate people might think it was.

Animals



I think this is much more successful than the plants, because animals are mobile. Also, they can interact with them.

Long hair



Giving Eve long hair can be successful. As long as she has a style of hair that would naturally come forward like that. These ones all look pretty good, though I've seen much less convincing ones.

Back view



If you're happy with bare bottoms, an easy solution that is surprisingly little used. Also good for Eve.

Although if you only had one picture of Adam & Eve in the book, it would want to be a front view.

 

Water



Does the job, and creates a paradise feel. But I wouldn't use it unless (like pic 1) I had lots of other pictures of Eve. Otherwise seems a bit too much like she's hiding.

Holding things



Really good solution - hardly any examples except animals. I wonder why.

Top view



Very clever, but only works because the book has lots of other 'God's eye' views of clothed people too.

Eve has the body of a toddler, with nothing to hide.



Just no.


Some other interesting observations

 

I looked at pictures by 13 artists.

Of these, only three showed Adam with a beard, and only one gave him long hair (one was slightly long). A few did have Eve with short-ish hair.

Only one showed Adam & Eve doing work of any kind.

Out of all the pictures, only two seemed to show Adam & Eve as non-white - but that will be another post!

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