A Brief Q&A with the artist known as Amanda Jolman

As promised, here are a few questions and answers from Amanda Jolman. She did the artwork for my book and I wanted you to meet her.  Don't forget that you can enter to win one of her sketches; do so via the last post (Of Mice and Men and Sheep).

1.       Do you have a sketch that resonated with you?

On some level each sketch is like a child, a co-creation with God.  As much as my pencil marks are contained within a drawing, it lives with a life of it’s own. And in this way, it’s difficult to pick a favorite; each drawing has its own unique resonance with me, its own personality.  Again, like children, I view each with specific memories of it’s development and I also see how it has now outgrown me and stands apart from me.  If I had to pick one in particular, I would probably say that Mary’s feet had the most personal connection.  The process Mary underwent—encountering an angel, being called to carry and birth and mother the Son of God, and her willingness—roused my soul to longing for similar faith and courage.

      Talk a little about how you approached these—as in your process….

John’s writing struck me as so intimate and human; most images came to my imagination as close-ups or as a zoomed in lens .  I created a number of gestural sketches, value-indicating sketches, and just let the ideas brew for a while.  I began thinking logistically about what would be possible with lighting and who I would desire for models. Because I prefer drawing from live models to capture the spontaneity and life of the form, I made a number of calls to friends to seek out help.  Once all the pre-production was complete, the actual act of drawing was a very focused and exhilarating time.  I began with the gesture, which captures the spontaneity and movement of the form.  From there I built up the drawings working from general to specific--, checking proportions, comparing shape relations, indicating lights and darks.  I always hold my drawings loosely and ended up making several copies of some of them.  I revisited them, making slight alterations, until I could stand back and say, “well done”.

     Could you point to one thing God impressed on you as you walked through these stories?

I mentioned in the first question, how I was inspired by Mary’s faith.  Such a young girl, with such a great faith.  Her ability to say, “May it be unto me as you have said” haunts me.  May it be unto me as you have said about my call as an artist. The Holy Spirit often reminds me of those words when I am faced with a new opportunity or challenge in my craft.

4.       What’s going on in your artistic journey these days?

The journey has led me to a master artist.  She has been drawing, painting and studying for nearly 40 years and is now imparting her knowledge to me. Specifically, she is training me in 17th century, primarily Dutch, methods, materials, and techniques for oil painting.  Under her tutelage, I am copying a Rembrandt painting, Bathsheba at Bath.  Enthralled may be a mild word for how I feel about the special effects possible with a variety of mediums used with oils. The beauty of a single brushstroke can leave me speechless. 


  1. wow. this was just so enlightening and beautiful to read...

    being a creative person myself, I totally get how a brushstroke can move you...

    Lovely to meet you, Amanda and what a gift you are sharing through your talent...

    Thanks, John, for introducing us!

  2. Great to meet Amanda. The artistic combination of Jonh's words and your drawings blended into the perfect representation of the most beautiful story of all time.

  3. What a beautiful collaboration. Thank you for the backstory, John and Amanda.