Excerpt from:
Bones at the Centre of Everything

Ottawa-based illustrator, graphic designer and ceramic artist Jessica Bromley Bartram‘s debut collection Ghost Water Kiss (Popnoir Editions, 2019) featured eight illustrated short stories woven through with mysterious transformations and attuned to the rhythms of the natural world. Of the collection, none other than Guillermo Del Toro had this to say: “Miss Bartram’s art is suffused with such exuberance and joy as to revitalize one’s eye — to redirect it upon the world with renewed hunger and curiosity. The potent mixture of innocence and control of the medium makes her colour work quite hard to resist. Her art is meditative, absorbing and minutely crafted. These are the travel notes of a biologist/botanist with Hans Christian Andersen and Arthur Rackham soul. Through her annotations about our world and her own, we are revealed a landscape of enormous inner and outer beauty.”

Bartram is currently hard at work on her sophomore book, Bones at the Centre of Everything — her first go at creating a long-form narrative. Bones at the Centre of Everything follows a young girl, Leah, who suddenly develops the peculiar ability to see the ghosts of dead animals she comes across. These ghosts manifest as skeletons capable of speaking to her — and they are a surprisingly chatty bunch. Leah is at first unsettled by the spectral skeletons, especially when they start to follow her home, until she realizes they mean her no harm. But eventually she begins to suspect they expect something from her. What do the animals’ ghosts want? And is it something she is prepared to give?

Bartram gave CAROUSEL an exclusive sneak peek at her work-in-progress, a nine-page sequence from Bones at the Centre of Everything that we are delighted to be able to share it with you!

Jessica Bromley Bartram is an illustrator, graphic designer and ceramic artist who lives in Ottawa. With all of her creative pursuits, she’s interested in process, collaboration and communication, and enjoys experimenting with different mediums throughout the creative process. She has published work in Room Magazine, CAROUSEL, 4PANEL2 and The Globe and Mail. More: jessicabartram.ca