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The Boy Israel and the Witch, a Jewish Folktale
The Boy Israel and the Witch
For #folktaleweek2019, I illustrated an abbreviated version of the Jewish folktale "The Boy Israel and the Witch" taken from Howard Schwartz's Leaves From The Garden of Eden: One Hundred Classic Jewish Tales. Once the illustrated story was completed, I decided to mock it up inside Leaves From the Garden of Eden as a way to present the story. As a result, in the first image you can see some of the full text from Schwartz's version.

Folktale Week is a one week Instagram illustration challenge started a couple years ago by a group of artists and illustrators. The goal is to complete one folktale themed illustration a day based on a series of seven prompts. Participants can use classic or original folktales, and they can illustrate one story (as I have done) or use a different story each day. In 2019, the challenge ran from Nov 4 to 11, 2019.

This was my first year participating in Folktale Week, and as a non-religious but culturally identifying Jew I thought it would be fun to explore some Jewish Folktales, because before this challeneg, I knew of none. I read about thirty from several different books and chose "The Boy Isreal and the Witch" because it fit relatively well with the 7 #folktaleweek prompts (home, secret, path, smoke, darkness, key and crown).

I chose to do the illustrations as mixed media graphite and watercolor, which I thought would lend itself to the subject matter and allow me to produce 1-2 finished illustrations a day. Life, work and travel got in the way of me staying on schedule, but otherwise I felt this illustration combo lended itself well to the challenge.


Because these illustrations were meant to be quick and rough there are lots of little things I would change or improve. But the main thing I wish I had handled better was the hand written dialogue. I wrote these straight into the illustrations without planning or straight edges and it shows—the size, spacing and legibility varies from line to line. I overall like the effect of the hand written dialogue incorporated into the illustration, but if I did this again, I would have written it on a separate page and then overlaid/compiled in Photoshop to allow for clean-up, resizing and repositioning.
The Boy Israel and the Witch, a Jewish Folktale
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The Boy Israel and the Witch, a Jewish Folktale

An illustrated jewish folktale about a boy who could understand the language of birds and used their knowledge to defeat an evil witch.
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