This drawing of Alice wandering into the Garden of Live Flowers was born as a sketch a month and a half ago. I planned it out and began to dream. I stopped to work on two manuscript dummies for an illustration class I was taking, and longed to go back to it, to transfer it from sketchbook paper to watercolor paper on my light board, and to add color. But it languished when I fell ill; my hands were unusable for drawing. For weeks it sat untouched in my studio, admonishing me as I tried to recover. I thought about its name: "Alice in June." It would be named for the start of summer that had just finally approached.
Miraculously, the buzzing in my right hand calmed down, leaving the sickness in my left side. But that meant that I could draw again. Finally, I transferred the sketch to the final paper. I do this to prevent eraser marks from degrading the higher quality paper. I began to color. My energy level from my illness was and is still very low. My hand felt wobbly. But I had to draw. A few days into the color work, my beloved godfather passed away at just sixty. We traveled by train to Niagara Falls to attend his funeral. On the way, I saw an entire field of tiger lilies, one of the blooms that Lewis Carroll described in his passage of "The Garden of Live Flowers." I thought of the other flowers there: the daisies and the roses, the larkspur and the violets. And I changed the title to "Alice in July," for that's when most of these flowers grow here, at least. I added a few stargazers because they are in bloom here, too, and I love them.
It's appropriate that Alice walks alone into the flowered forest. This last month has been one of fear, sickness, sadness, and death. Though the forest is full of blooms and color, there is only darkness before her.
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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: