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Clang55's avatar

The Redemption of Eustace

This is one of my favorite parts from C.S. Lewis’ “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” when Aslan comes at night to turn Eustace from a dragon back into a human. It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

The other reason I love this part is because Eustace is having his skin ripped off by Aslan, it just seems like such a cool image! So cool that I finally decided to try and draw it. This started out as a sketch but then I decided to try something new and color it completely with oils within Corel painter. I have an older version that doesn’t save layers so it was really difficult. I only used Photoshop to darken the edges and add highlights.

The Chronicles of Narnia was written by C.S. Lewis
Art was done by me
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© 2009 - 2021 Clang55
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lonelynightrain's avatar
AMEN SISTER!!!! Aslan is BEST reprementation of CHRIST!!!! You really did good job with your representation of Aslan ripping off Eustance's skin off.
Praise God in the Highest!!!
Clang55's avatar
Yeah a fellow sister in Christ! CS Lewis knew what he was doing when he wrote the series, especially parts like this one. Thank you for the encouraging comment and thank God for all his wonderful gifts!
lonelynightrain's avatar
Certainly he did! X3
You are VERY welcome and I hope that you have a great and blessed day!
May the Lord keep you and your familys afe!
MatthiasRat's avatar
What a wonderful picture! I just saw the movie and had to go searching for art of Eustace as a Dragon. Yeah, that's one of my favorite bits. Although I was always a little disappointed that he couldn't stay a dragon, or get to be a dragon again, the imagery of the scene and the metaphor for putting off the old life of sin (which is what made him a dragon in the first place) is too important to ignore.

Still, I love the line, "I made a better dragon than I did a boy" was wonderful. :-)

Thank you for sharing this with all of us!

Dominus tecum
Clang55's avatar
Thank you, I'm so glad you enjoy it.

I agree. Dragon Eustace is definitely more impressive than little boy Eustace. But the message is even more impressive.

A wonderful line. I haven't seen the movie yet, did they keep that part? I suppose I should just wait and see.

God bless!
MatthiasRat's avatar
Indeed! The message is what is important. The transformation into a dragon was an allegory for the journey of sin and repentance which transforms us all.

And yes, they used the line in the movie. I loved it so much I had to go look for fan art here which is how I found your lovely picture. :-)

Dominus tecum
CalaEtMornie's avatar
YEAH!!!!! This is why I like what you do! stuff like this!
Clang55's avatar
Aww! Thanks! That means a lot to me. Especially on this piece :glomp:
auronlu's avatar
Amazing and very original style. The colors remind me of stained glass. I'm surprised to see Aslan looking so-- angry? -- but it is a stern moment. After my initial surprise, I think the modelling and lines of Aslan's head and mane are my favorite part of the picture.

You captured Eustace's agony with just a few simple lines on his face. Adding the tree for him to grip with human hand and dragon tail (nice contrast) also adds more tension/strain to the pose.

The whole thing is very scrunched down to the right, not quite fitting the frame. I'm not sure that would work for every picture, but it works here to emphasize the feeling of being jammed/wrenched.
Clang55's avatar
Thank you for the comment and the time you spent studying this peice! You're attention to detail and observations are very encouraging. Someday I hope to tackle this scene again and give Aslan a more appropriate look of concern and love for Eustace as well as improve the balance of the composition. It always exciting to try new things and your comments will help me focus on what I can improve.
Tundra-Sky's avatar
This is a great painting; although I have never read that particular book because some of the Narnia books I found a bit boring, I think I might seek this one out at the library and try it.

I like your smooth painting style; the lineart sort of melts into the picture so it looks less cartoon and more painterly.

It probably wouldn't have hurt to make the tree the child is grasping onto a little bit more detailed; though that's no big drama, just me seeing if I can give a useful suggestion.

Nice work! :thumbsup:
auronlu's avatar
Read Dawn Treader! It's the best book, plus, it's inspired by and shamelessly borrows from a crazy medieval manuscript, the Voyages of St. Brendan!
Tundra-Sky's avatar
Will go find a copy, thanks for recommending it :D
Clang55's avatar
Thank you! I'm more practiced at coloring cartoon style characters so this was exciting for me.

Your right about the tree. Everything is very smooth in this piece, including the tree. It definitely needs more texture to it but I probably got to tired or bored to finish it. :D
Tundra-Sky's avatar
You're welcome! It's always good to try new things; it helps build those art muscles. Don't worry too much about the tree, artworks can indeed get boring sometimes (trees are not exactly the most exciting things either :XD: ) but as long as you are happy with the end result that's all that really matters :D
dorkinabubble's avatar
This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. Thank you so much for rendering it so beautifully :)
Clang55's avatar
Thank you! I'm so glad to see someone just as excited about the scene as me! :D
snowstargirl's avatar
This is amazing! I've always wondered how this moment would look; thanks for bringing it to life! The Bible verse you chose goes along with the scene wonderfully, and I think you captured Eustace's emotions very well!
Clang55's avatar
Thank you so much. Ever since I read the book I waited for the day I would be capable enough to draw it. I really appreciate your comment. :hug: It is really encouraging to me.
snowstargirl's avatar
You're welcome! It really is cool :)
I remember this scene as well. I must confess that I was disappointed when Eustace became human again. I realize it's a metaphor for 2 Cor 5:17, but my contention is that C.S. Lewis could have -- SHOULD have -- gone deeper with his "double metaphors" to portray Eustace as a "wounded healer" as in 2 Cor 1:3.

It's sort of like "Beauty and the Beast." Who do more people identify with? Whose life story is more likely to move and inspire them? The Handsome Prince with his perfectly-coiffed hair and flawless teeth? Or the animal Beast who, through dependence upon the Grace of God, overcomes his failings to become the "healing vessel" of 2 Cor 1:3?

To that end, Lewis should have had Aslan offer Eustace the choice of remaining a dragon in His service, in order to win the more to Him that Eustace otherwise never could.
Clang55's avatar
I can understand that, after all Eustace does use his dragon form to help the others explore the island and his suffering gives others the opportunity to comfort him. So I guess Lewis does show that God can use anybody.

However Lewis's metaphor can only go so far, after all in order to remain a dragon Eustace would have had to keep the bracelet (it was the only thing keeping him a dragon) he would not have been allowed to go home (can't have a dragon flying around on Earth) and the Silver Chair wouldn't have been written.

It is fun to imagine what adventures he would have gone on had Aslan given him a choice. Thanks for the comment! I love talking about these books.
I thought that it was Eustace's "dragonish thoughts" that turned him into a dragon, and not necessarily the bracelet itself... I'll have to go back and re-read that section.

Concerning his not going back home, I would counter by saying that is EXACTLY in keeping with what Jesus said in the Amplified Translation of the Parable of the Rich Young Ruler. Ergo, "if you wish to be perfect [that is, have that perfected love which is evidenced by a self-sacrificing nature]..." There are any number of stories of Christians who chose "not to go home." I'm thinking of one Christian missionary (name escapes me) who believed he was called to minister to the lepers in a certain colony, and ultimately became a leper himself.

I don't have my concordance with me, but in either Matthew or Mark Jesus said "whoever seeks to save his lower life will lose it, and whoever loses his lower life for My sake and the Gospels will find it unto eternal life." In the Greek manuscripts from which this is translated, Jesus actually says, "whoever fully destroys his psyche for My sake..." The term "psyche" here refers to the "animal sentient principal, which is lived only once on earth" (according to the Amplified Translation). If Eustace had chosen to remain a dragon in Aslan's service and forego his previous life on Earth, that would have qualified under this Scripture. In fact, it would have been a powerful example of this Scripture in action, with Eustace sacrificing the life he knew in order to remain behind to serve Aslan as a dragon.

In short, "he who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven."

The one sticking point is, of course, Eustace would not have been around for the Silver Chair. I cannot argue that one.

Who knows? Maybe someone, some day, will seek to follow Lewis's example by writing more Christian stories that weave Scriptural truths into the storyline like Lewis did!
MatthiasRat's avatar
Hey there! The missionary who ministered to the lepers in Hawaii was Fr. Damien de Veuster, also known as Damien of Molokai (after the name of the island). He was canonized a Saint last year.

And I agree, it would have been cool if Eustace could have stayed a dragon, but he was meant to learn what he could in Narnia so that he might better recognize Aslan in his own world.

Dominus tecum
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