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Paintings · Soapstone · Pen & Ink · Making a Mermaid · Illustrations 2005 · Illustrations 2007


June 8-11, 2016 - Scrumpy Theatre presents a new play “The Hidden City
Paul Philips Hall, 1923 Fernwood Road  ·  Adaption by Julian Cervello

scrumpyproductions.com  ·  the-hidden-city-a-play-of-peru-tickets


 Illustrations from the book
The Hidden City

A Poem of Peru

Written by Stanley K. Freiberg

Illustrated by Stephanie Johanson & Karen Lightbody

img20160516_07264878-150dpi4inW.jpgIn 1988, I was asked to illustrate “The Hidden City, A Poem of Peru” by Stanley K. Freiberg. I had been taking a printing making course through Camosun College. The classes were taught in a studio in the teacher’s home. Stanley saw one of my prints on the studio wall, and thought my style might be good for his img20160513_13481846-150dpi4inW.jpgbook.

It was my first professional illustration assignment. Before “The Hidden City” my illustrations were for school projects or fanzines. I started the project with an 8” by 12” illustration of Machu Picchu. Admittedly, I got a bit carried away with the detail, and that sort of set the style for the rest of the illustrations.

img20160513_13575418-150dpi4inW.jpgSince with all the detail I started to fall behind on the schedule, I asked my sister, Karen E. Lightbody, if she could help me with some of the illustrations. Karen and I spent several afternoons in libraries, looking for reference material for the Incans and Peru. 



img20160513_13465757-150dpi4inW.jpgWe searched through so many books, looking for Incan patterns, styles, pottery, etc. Stanley’s book was full of descriptive passages that Karen and I thought deserved a certain amount of accuracy in its illustrations.

img20160516_07184464-150dpi4inW.jpgNow a days we would just do a search on the internet, but in 1988 it meant a lot of searching through books, and when we couldn’t find what we needed, we had to guess how something might have looked.

img20160516_07120404-150dpi4inW.jpgKaren had a talent for drawing animals. One of my favorite illustrations from “The Hidden City” is of Ayar Auca, as a puma, raining seeds all over the earth after the flood waters receded.


img20160513_13413683-150dpi4inW.jpgI did Mama Quilla, the old woman with wrinkled flesh and moonlit orbs, and the falcons. “The eyes of the Old Woman were torches in the dark... sheep and llamas, foxes and falcons, tapirs and serpents, pass through the torches of the woman’s eyes.” Karen did all the other animals.

img20160513_13552570-150dpi4inW.jpgThe battle scene of Illapa touching the chieftain’s brow was illustrated by Karen E. Lightbody.

img20160513_13494693-150dpi4inW.jpgThe king coming down from the mountain was a difficult illustration to do, because the king’s robe was supposed to be covered in Incan symbols. I went through so many books, copying symbols off of anything Incan. Of course after completing the illustration, we found a book full of Incan symbols.


img20160516_07062508-150dpi4inW.jpgVirgin of the sun remembering her mother, I wondered how to show the girl remembering in a pen & ink illustration. I didn’t want to do a thought cloud, so I tried to weave the image into the stones of her chamber.

img20160513_13535946-150dpi4inW.jpgThe last illustration the book was of the two old men sitting in silence under pale stars, remembering the past.

img20160513_13523303-150dpi4inW.jpgIt was a wonder experience for me to illustrate “The Hidden City, A Poem of Peru.” Karen and I learned a great deal about the Incas and Peru. I haven’t yet visited Machu Picchu or Peru, but I would very much like to.


Stephanie Ann Johanson





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Paintings · Soapstone · Pen & Ink · Making a Mermaid · Illustrations 2005 · Illustrations 2007