Ethical Dilemmas Visualized: Illustrations for Magazine Column

One of the great aspects of being an illustrator is exposure to a variety of subject matter and topics, and contributing to the Everyday Ethics column in The United Church Observer magazine is no exception. Each month I am commissioned to come up with a conceptual illustration to accompany this feature, helping visualize an ethical dilemma at hand, typically a hypothetical one facing a church congregation or member.

Below are a few of the ethical questions I've tackled for the magazine and the resulting images.

Dilemma: Your church gym is a busy community focal point that helps keep local youngsters healthy and off the streets. But it badly needs refurbishing and your church has no money. A sporting goods merchant offers $10,000 but wants a small sign advertising his store displayed somewhere in the gym. Do you accept?

Dilemma: You are a minister and an outspoken opponent of gambling. After a community kitchen meal for the poor, you find a crumpled lottery ticket on the floor by the coat rack. Out of curiosity you check the numbers on the Internet and discover it’s a winner. What do you do?

Dilemma: A wealthy member of the congregation where you are a minister plans a gift that will sustain the church for many years. There’s a catch: he wants you to cancel Spirituality and Suds pub nights that are popular with young adults from the congregation and the community at large. Do you turn off the tap?

Dilemma: A colleague has gone on short-term disability following the flare-up of an old back injury. You are both in the running for the same promotion, one that you feel you deserve and one that you need so you can make ends meet. One day you spot your colleague zipping down the ski hill. What do you do?

A big thanks to the editors at UC Observer. More examples of illustrations helping to tell unique stories about events, products, and various topics can be seen in my portfolio. __________ These illustrations are available for print, web, and other licensing uses and as individual art prints. Reuse and assignment inquiries please contact: All rights reserved. Copyright Sean Kane.