Jemaica Murphy

Jemaica Murphy stands in her backyard with her framed illustrations, which were created with digital art methods. Murphy has produced her second coloring book filled with her fantasy artwork. The pieces will be featured in the open call Blueberry Arts Festival exhibit at the Main St. Gallery. The exhibit opens July 31.

Courtesy of Jemaica Murphy

Jemaica Murphy has always found inspiration in fantastical subjects.

In Murphy's eyes, fairies, dragons, elves, centaurs, mermaids and other mystical creatures serve as fodder for artistic projects such as calendars, posters, or even the pages of a coloring book.

"I always make them try to have a sense of wonder and magic and all that fun stuff," Murphy said of her creations during a recent interview with the Daily News.

Murphy's pieces are created using digital art, a craft that the artist has been honing for about eight years.

"Sometimes I do traditional (mediums)," Murphy said. "I'm trying to break out my sketchbook more. It's just not as easy as being able to use the 'undo' button."

Murphy brought her work to Ketchikan with her last October, when she moved to town from Washington.

Murphy sells her creations on Etsy, an online community of from-home sellers that specializes in arts and crafts. She also has taken commissions and spreads information about her work on social media.

Because of COVID-19, Murphy noticed a decrease in the number of online sales she was making. However, she noticed the sales begin to climb again last month, with this month's sales looking more normal.

In her latest project, the artist has decided to produce a second coloring book — one that will be filled with black-and-white pages of her fantasy illustrations.

"I do a lot of different fantasy paintings and illustrations, and I think people had asked if I had ever thought about making a coloring book," she explained of the project's origins.

 Murphy noted that all the art in her first book had been already been done and was ready to be placed in the book.

The first coloring book was a success, Murphy said, and took an estimated two months to create. That book also featured fantasy-style illustrations.

For her second collection, she produced the book in half the time it took to finish the first.

 "This one, I did in like a month because I was trying to get it ready for the Blueberry Festival that isn't actually happening, which is sad, but I still thought I'd make the coloring book for next time," Murphy explained.

The 50th Annual Blueberry Arts Festival was canceled due to concerns of COVID-19, and Murphy will set her sights on participating in her first festival next summer.   

For Murphy, the biggest challenge she has faced throughout the book's production process has been "being OK with the finished project."

"So, I'm used to seeing my art with tons of rainbowy colors, and just having them in black-and-white, it always felt like it wasn't finished yet," Murphy explained. "But people don't mind because they're going to finish it by coloring."

With the artwork polished and the pages laid out, Murphy has sent the pages to a printer based in the United Kingdom. Murphy's project will be printed as a spiralbound book, and will contain both horizontal and vertical greyscale images.

Murphy is funding the project by using Kickstarter, a platform that allows people to make financial contributions to start-up projects.

According to Murphy's Kickstarter webpage, her project has garnered over $1,000 in supporting funds since the funding period opened earlier this month.

As the book awaits printing in the UK — with a hopeful distribution date of sometime in October — Murphy has made printable PDF copies of the book available online.

The PDF version of the book is priced between $8-10, Murphy noted.

For her next project, Murphy is considering a 2021 calendar.