Divider illustration for the color section of my portfolio, or, who really does the drawings in my studio. The secret's out.
"Color!" Colored pencil, pencil, and gouache. Copyright 2015 Jessica Boehman. Please do not reproduce without permission.
A few years ago I made for my sister (and with my sister as a model) two drawings of her favorite fairy tale, The Goose Girl. I was happy with the pictures, and they reflected my current mode of drawing that had lots of detail. The elaborate borders were inspired by my favorite illustrator, the late and wonderful Trina Schart Hyman, who passed away in 2004. Two reproductions of her drawings hang in my studio.
But after a few portfolio critiques where the emphasis was on the decorative aspects of the works and not on the characters, I thought to keep the main focus of the drawings but take away the excess that did not add to the story. Couldn't our imaginations finish off the rest? One other comment was to add the text so that the viewer could picture the illustration as part of a book. So I did a little playing around today, and resurrected these drawings that I still love. I think that now they are easier on the eye and allow room for the text to enhance the image.
"The Goose Girl (Happily Ever After)" Pencil. Jessica Boehman 2013. Read the original blog post by clicking here.
The second drawing focused on the emotional heart of the story: though the princess had been cast down from her station, it was the loss of her horse, Falada, that broke her heart. In true fairytale fashion, the impostor killed the horse to spite the princess, but the magical horse still spoke, even in death. His few words offered a little comfort to the Goose Girl each morning as she left the city to tend the geese. You can see the original post here.
"Alas, Falada, Hanging There!" Pencil. Jessica Boehman 2013.
The Grimm's tale has Hans leaving his father's house and taking with him three things: a saddle for his rooster and a set of bagpipes, both gifted from his father, and a bunch of pigs. He takes them into the forest, where he tames the pigs with his music and the herd grows so large that eventually it overtakes the forest. But the story turns at this point with the addition of a wayward king. In the story, Hans-My-Hedgehog meets two: one who is deceitful, the other who is true to his word. Hans eventually punishes the first king for his lies and rewards the second, marrying his daughter and shedding his skin of quills.
This is the last of the series I'll be making for my color portfolio.
"King of the Forest" Copyright 2015 Jessica Boehman. Colored pencil, pencil, and gouache. Please do not reproduce without permission.
It seems I made these pictures in opposite order, but here is the first page to the story of Hans-My-Hedgehog. In many renditions I've seen, the images equate the childlessness of the farmer and his wife with age. They are well past middle aged when Hans comes into their lives. The poverty also seems extreme, though the Grimm story says he had money and land enough. But despite what we see, I do not think that the lives of the farmer and his wife are empty and harsh, only filled with the ache of no child. There's more to the story than that.
The farmer laments that he has no son to work the land with him, to go to the fairs and haggle with merchants, or to learn his trade. The wife grieves for other reasons: the thought of the future, different than what she hoped; the remarks of the village wives when another season passes with no child; the surreptitious, judgmental glances at her still-flat belly and whispers of unwanted advice. The loneliness of it all in the small hours, once her husband has gone to sleep. But to me, that still does not have to add up to unhappiness. So I tried to show here a life without that is still rich: warm sun on the crops, the livestock to feed, a bountiful harvest, and the joy of laboring together toward a single goal. The strength to accept what life withholds while finding contentment in the small, beautiful things that life offers.
"The Farmer and his Wife" from Hans-My-Hedgehog. Copyright 2015 Jessica Boehman. Colored pencil, pencil, and gouache. Please do not reproduce without permission.