I'm very honored to have been chosen as the IPPY Independent Publishers Book Awards Gold Medalist for Picture Books (Under age 7 group). I was also a finalist for the ForeWard Indy Book Awards for Picture Books! Thanks to ForeWard and to the Ippy's! I couldn't be more honored that you liked my first book. #IPPY2020
So, it's a weird story, but a true one:
I haven't slept well or soundly for about nine months. My insomnia started in August 2019 and has kept up its vicious pattern doggedly and insistently.
During the last months of shelter-in-place, enduring a solo quarantine in the COVID epicenter, literally surrounded by a horrendous amount of death and fear, on top of the increased stress of teaching four different classes online, I found that my insomnia worsened, and I realized I would go crazy if I didn't find a solution. So I started drawing at nighttime. Drawing before bed usually helps, and most of the pictures are not anything that was for work, just something to calm my mind.
One such drawing, "Sleep", I made as an offering and a wish. In my online post I hoped that it would "bring on the Sandman."
But...the thing is, it did. First of all, I slept soundly that night for the first time in a long while.
Secondly, I woke up with this in my head, fully formed. And the main character? The Sandman, Dream, Morpheus...(a creation of Neil Gaiman for his comic series of the same name.). I had literally "brought him on." So, I woke up and immediately sketched out the story so it wouldn't fade away, as dreams do. But that, too, did not fade. It was a gift. So, thanks, Sandman, and Neil Gaiman, for the rest. I think the Sandman must be real. This was how that character looked in my own mind.
(Made during weeks 9 and 10 of COVID-19 shelter-in-place, Queens, NY).
"Bring Me a Dream" Jessica Boehman, Watercolor and digital. Lettering by Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios. May 2020. See more details here.
Based on the copyrighted character of The Sandman created by Neil Gaiman.
Do not reproduce. Not for sale.
As I work on book #2, which I can't share, I have been spending a little time here and there dealing with the fallout of the pandemic, social isolation, living in what was the epicenter for about 6 weeks, and the illness and death of people I know. Drawing helps. Here's the first of the batch: there's sure to be more.
Because we all, for the good of humanity as a whole, are sheltering inside, and because many of you have asked for prints of this that I cannot give you at this time, I've made a free to download coloring book page for you. All I ask is that you send me the finished pictures to brighten my day.
Please, stay safe. Wash your hands, tell your loved ones they are loved, and stay alive. For me?
The Children's Book Council has made available lots of coloring book pages from illustrators of picture books and comics. The 2020 theme was "Read, Dream, Share."
Since we're under social isolation, why not print some out and have your kids color them? Heck, you can color them, too. You can even download the full coloring book by scrolling to the bottom.
This is mine, made back in the winter when life was cozy and nice. (The downloadable version lost some line work, somehow, but it should still do.)
A dancing bear for the Dancing Bear Inn, Damascus, VA.
Jessica Boehman, Digital pencil, 2019. Do not reproduce.
Every year for as long as I can remember, my family has watched Jim Henson's Christmas classic, "Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas" on Christmas Eve. It's based on a children's book of the same name by Russell and Lillian Hoban. As we watch, we dance and sing along to the songs as we know the words by heart. It's a sweet "Gift of the Magi" type story about a mom and son who both sacrifice their only possessions to be generous to others. Hidden in the story are many appropriate lessons to the season: generosity in the face of poverty, working together, and kindness, above all.
This Christmas, I wish you those most important and necessary gifts: peace of mind, a quiet heart, the company of loved ones, and health of body.
"Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas" 2019 Jessica Boehman. Colored pencil, pencil, and gel pen.
Not for sale as these characters are copyrighted...this is just for my own portfolio and personal Christmas card use.
Hans-My-Hedgehog Illustrations is the name of Jessica Boehman's blog and illustration shop. It is named after her favorite fairy tale about a hedgehog boy who becomes king of the forest. All other pages redirect to: