Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Illustrating Poetry Leads to Fevers

My Excursion Inlet neighbor and everyone's good friend, Jack Campbell, is an avid outdoorsman, fisherman, hunter, educator, gentleman, and published poet.  He's one of those friends you treasure for their quiet sincerity, civility, and thoughtful conversations.  When he asked me to illustrate his first book of poems, Four Fevers, I was honored, and hoped I could do his poetry justice.  

You can see a description of his book, Four Fevers: Musings of an Alaskan Bush Poet, on Amazon at

Jack was a teacher in rural Alaska villages for many years, and drew on his rich experiences living in some of Alaska's harshest environments when he composed this collection of poems.  His poems have often been published in Alaska magazine, Fish Alaska, and other publications over the years.

Above, Jack is reading his poems at our cabin in Excursion Inlet during a neighborhood gathering in the summer of 2008, standing by the illustrations I penned for his book.

The poems in this book are mostly focused on village life, with some fishing and reflections on nature mixed in.  This unique collection gives a glimpse of life in Alaska through the eyes of someone who has experienced first hand much of its wonder and glory, inhospitality and remoteness;  I recommend it to anyone desiring to share in this experience.

Following are the illustrations I made for Jack's poems, most of which were included in the published book.  I sketched these with ink on smooth bristol board, scanned them, then added shading and other details using photoshop to get the final illustrations.

Four Fevers


Martha's Slough

Thirty Days Hath November Above the Arctic Circle

Freeze Up


Southeast Mirage

Bethel - Terminal Inwardness


The Swings - St. Mary's

This was a exciting experience for me as an artist, one which I thoroughly enjoyed! 


  1. Wow, Betsy! I am blown away with your talent! Wonderful! Thanks for sharing! I felt like I was back in Alaska!

  2. Thanks, Brenda. It's always inspiring to draw and paint Alaskan scenery, but I'm looking forward to making some Arizona art now that we have a place there: cactus, red rock, and dry rivers.