Art Inspiration: The Greek Gods Distraction on Olympus: Apollo


“Distraction on Olympus” is a project I worked on with my students at the school I work in.  It was the final project for the drawing club where I taught the children how to draw in the style of comic and cartoon characters.  The class had decided to go with the theme of the Greek gods and I would help them draw a scene around that idea.

In the process of creating the scene, the children asked to be represented as the gods in the project.  They would choose whom they wanted to be drawn as from the Greek gods.  One boy in the class was an athlete yet also had artistic talents.  I told him and the class about Apollo.  He had no objections on being drawn as Apollo so we proceeded.

Apollo is the son of Zeus and Leto and the twin brother of Artemis.  Hymns were sung of Apollo’s birth but unfortunately, no mention of his sister Artemis is made. The hymn describes Leto’s roaming in search of a place to give birth.  She came to the island of Delos and only after assuring the people if she gave birth there, the island would become a place of wealth and prosperity.

On the island Leto suffered nine days and night of labour and then gave birth.  After nursing on nectar and ambrosia he became a mighty god and took up the lyre and bow.  His mother was very proud of her son and Delos did indeed prosper.

Apollo was a complex god with many different stories and titles.  Here are a few:

  1. At Delphi he slew a dragon or serpent called a Python.  There a temple would be built with a famous Oracle called Pythia who would come to play key roles in prophesying to many Greek Heroes such as Oedipus and his father Laius. Even Socrates went to the Oracle.
  2.  Apollo had many lovers but most famous is Daphne.  She promised to be a virgin but Apollo loved her deeply because of Cupid’s arrow. Daphne ran away from Apollo but he caught up and when he was about to have her, she was transformed into a laurel tree right in his arms.  Apollo, heartbroken embraced the tree saying if he could not have her as his wife; he will have her as his tree.  This is where the wreath around his head originated.  A symbol of love, honor and glory forever.
  3. Apollo as a musician had no rival.  There are two musical contests where Apollo is challenged. The first by Marsyas a satyr who played the flute but lost.  The terms of the contest was the victor could do what they wanted to the loser, so Apollo flay Marsyas alive.  The second contest was with Pan who played the pipes.  Tmolus declared Apollo the winner but King Midas said the contest was unfair and preferred Pan’s music.  As punishment Apollo gave him the ears of an ass
  4. Apollo was also the god of shepherds, the protector of flocks.  He was associated with music and the god medicine and the god of light.  He had many moods and passions yet he was also worshiped as the classical male, handsome, strong and intelligent.

I decided to draw Apollo with his famous lyre singing to Aphrodite with the Muses as back up.  He is the ultimate male with looks, strength and brains and he was trying to woo Aphrodite.  Just like any rock star or musician would do to a beautiful woman.  I know I have.  That is why Ares is not happy in the scene.

The student loved his portrayal of Apollo and so did the class.

Please enjoy Apollo the god of music, poetry, plague, oracles, medicine, light and knowledge.  Oh and manly beauty.

Apollo the god of music, poetry, plague, oracles, medicine, light and knowledge.  Oh and manly beauty.

Apollo the god of music, poetry, plague, oracles, medicine, light and knowledge. Oh and manly beauty.


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