On January 3, 2014, I moved to Paris, not knowing anyone there, and knowing only a few words of French. I looked up English language blogs about Paris, found The Francofly, and immediately fell in love with the whimsical illustrations about food and Paris. As it turned out, the creative genius behind the work was also a young American woman living in Paris, so I sent Jessie an email out of the blue, explaining my situation and kind of begging her to meet me for coffee. Because she is as kind as she is talented, she agreed. Since then, Jessie has become a friend and gone on to do many bad-ass illustrator woman projects, like publish a gorgeous produce-themed coloring book and make downloadable protest signs.
Jessie was in New York recently and stopped by the shop to play with some pencils. Of course I took the opportunity to grill her about her graphite preferences and art supplies.
When did your interest in stationery begin?
My first stationary was a monogrammed Little Mermaid gift set from my darling grandmother. I was afraid to use it because it was so special. And I've kept it after all these years.
If you could only use three writing instruments for the rest of your life, what would they be?
A black Sharpie, a Pentel Japan Aquash Waterbrush Pen and a drafting pencil.
How do you apply your interest in stationery to your everyday life? What are the daily tasks that you always do the analog way?
I keep many journals. I'm not a hardcore sketchbook person, but I keep bits and pieces all over the place. I have a "chicken scratch" lined notebook I use to do quick compositions and write notes. I have a few Moleskine watercolor notebooks I take with me on vacation. I also print off some postcards every few months of one of my illustrations which I send off to clients as thank you cards.
What is your favorite thing about the pencil?
For me, it's a companion during the creative process and sets up the foundation for my illustration.
If we were to open your bag on any given day, what's the most unusual stationery or art supply item we'd find?
I always have at least 4-5 Staedtler pigment liners in multiple sizes. They are all mostly always dried out, but can't part with them just yet.
Do you have any stationery confessions you'd like to make?
In the past, I've tested the limits of unrequited love by writing many letters to many undeserving guys on homemade stationary.
If you were a pencil, what kind would you be?
I'm a Pisces so something water soluble like a Art Graf Soft Carbon Water-soluble Pencil.
I've always dreamed of having a mug filled with the exact same pencils. I don't know where I got this idea, probably on the desk of some career go-getter type in a romantic comedy from the 1990s. I recently invested in a few dozen BIC Evolution HB pencils which I keep meticulously sharpened. It's a modest goal, but my pencil cup always cheers me up whenever I see it on my desk.
You can find Jessie in the following places:
Buy her coloring book