I am so happy to think that today I will launch my book to NYC. The book started as a comic that I wrote and illustrated in 2016, spending days at the kitchen table in my mom's house drawing it as I recovered from a major, devastating surgery. It calmed my mind and helped my body to rest.
Fast forward a year to a talk with the editor at The RoadRunner Press. She loved the short comic, and in the course of the conversation brought it up 4 times...she told me to imagine my perfect first book. Living in NYC, this felt like the one. I think her hints were none too subtle, haha!
I wrote this story to help me feel more at home in the City. It'd been a hard adjustment, even after living in Philadelphia and Rome for the previous six years, and I needed to feel some connection, just like the drawing of the Delacorte animals had done for me when I first arrived. I wanted to tell a story that centered on New York.
The story didn't start with Patience and Fortitude, but with a lion that I imagined interacting with a boy as nobody else noticed it. Somehow, and I don't remember how, it morphed into the library lions. I imagined New Yorkers, distracted by their phones or books or music, not paying any attention...perhaps deliberately. My students have since informed me that this is how I show I'm not a native. I still LOOK at what I see in the city.
I was pleased to be able to include some reference in the book to the sculptors of the lions, Mr. Edward Clark Potter, who modeled and designed them, (and who lives on through his descendant, Mr. Potter III, in the book) and to the Piccirilli Brothers, who carved the lions. As an art historian by training with a focus in sculptural history, this seemed appropriate, and I hid some references to them--and to my own life--in the book.
I imagine this story to be not just a late night adventure of two large cats who act more like dogs, but a story about selfless love and friendship.
Tonight I will launch the book in the bookstore, Books of Wonder, that made me want to become an illustrator again after those many years of grad school. I imagined it, I put it out into the universe, I pictured myself there. I guess the Universe was listening.
I hope you enjoy my first book that I've put out into the it.
"A Books of Wonder Birthday" colored pencil, pencil, and digital.
I was so honored to have a solo show at the Eide/Dalrymple Gallery at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD this winter. The show opened on Valentine's Day and closes Saturday--the day after my book launch! How everything happens at once. I had such a delightful time in South Dakota, notwithstanding the cold, and met some lovely, lovely people.
Here are some pictures of the show and the opening.
For a second year in a row, the Academy of Teachers has asked to use my art for their 'Show Teachers the Love' Gala in May. It's so exciting to see the invitation come in the mail...
"Straight on 'til Morning" Copyright Jessica Boehman 2019. Colored pencil, pencil, gouache, and water soluble graphite.
I've never before drawn an image of fairies, but I felt compelled to do so as this image came to me fully formed. Clearly, it wanted to be made.
I think Tinkerbell must have been a sort of queen of the fairies, tricky and pernicious as she was. And if so, she would have had a retinue. I wondered, what would that look like in the gloaming of the day in Neverland? And how lucky for Wendy, that she would have been able to see that.
It This weekend I was a guest of The RoadRunner Press to the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Seattle, where I was able to introduce my book to librarians for the first time. I got to speak with many delightful librarians and book enthusiasts, and I got to see my book for the first time! It was very exciting to see it in person at last.
Dear librarians (and Washingtonians): Thank you for being so kind and welcoming. I had a great time introducing my book to you, and to the lovely two Seattle women (you know who you are) who introduced me to the Seattle Public Library, thank you for taking me under your wing and for the insider tour. I can't wait for March 26: my book birthday, and for the NYC launch of the book. Stay tuned for more information! Attached below are some pictures from the conference.
A welcome to the family present for my future brother-in-law. "Sappho" Jessica Boehman 2018. Pencil and white colored pencil on brown paper.
"The November Before You Came" Copyright 2018 Jessica Boehman. Colored pencil, pencil, water soluble graphite, and gouache.
NOT FOR SALE AS ORIGINAL OR PRINT--Private collection.
I was commissioned by my first cousin once removed to draw a Madonna and child with the symbols of the Catholic deaconate. This was a fun commission due to my training as an art historian. I wanted to make sure that all of the symbols in the image were appropriate to Mary. I imagined a sort of modern hortus enclusus, or enclosed garden, which was a symbol of Mary's perpetual virginity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. For that reason, there is no sky, just garden. I added various flowers that were symbols of Mary: rose, lily, columbine, and periwinkle, seen in the garden and on her veil. The gospel and chalice are symbols of the deaconate, and I added an image of Jesus' passion: the Crucifixion and Lamentation, on the pages. The chalice and Eucharistic host was decorated with silver, as was her habit and flowers of the garden, while I gilded the haloes to catch the light. I will show it to you before and after gilding (the gilded images are photos as it's hard to scan).
A quick digital collage of a new sketch and an old drawing of the forest. "The Bear King" colored pencil, watercolor, pencil, and digital collage.
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: