May 8, 2020
Maine illustrator uses art to help flatten the curve

Maine illustrator Jessica Esch, co-founder of Shinebolt, uses art to help flatten the curve by encouraging people to stay home, wear a mask and support and thank essential workers. She is following state guidelines and her own conscience. Social distancing hasn’t stopped her from being out in the world in a big way.

Within days of staying home, Esch started writing and drawing for the public good. It is what she loves, how she processes the world, and one way she advocates on important issues. What started out as one illustration has grown into a valuable community resource. Esch offers a COVID-19 collection of 20 plus illustrations that are available to download and share for FREE at


Esch hopes her work will encourage people to stay home, wear a mask in public spaces, support and thank essential workers, and show their love for one another. “People everywhere are doing what they can to help flatten the curve,” said Esch. “This is what I do. I create illustrations that say a lot with as little as possible. It’s one way I can make a difference.”

Making her illustrations free was a no-brainer for Esch. She’s got a bigger goal — for anyone and everyone to have access to her COVID-19 collection and share the illustrations widely.

It’s working. In addition to individuals from 26 states and three countries downloading and posting her artwork for free, organizations are finding creative ways to use it.

Examples of how her work is being used

  • Masthead Maine is running the collection in five daily newspapers throughout Maine.
  • Maine’s ABC-affiliates (WMTW and WABI) aired a story about Esch/the illustrations.
  • Eat Drink Lucky featured the illustrations in its daily foodie email newsletter.
  • Portland Public Library included them in a new series, Isolation Together: A Public Archive.
  • An apparel company is selling T-shirts featuring one of the designs with all proceeds benefiting Cooking for Community.
  • Small businesses are using the artwork to communicate safe practices for curbside pickup.

Esch and the company she co-founded, Shinebolt, want to spread the word that everyone can use the illustrations, too. “Together is the only way we slow the spread,” said Esch.

Jessica Esch is a writer and illustrator who uses art, craft, and good humor to spread ideas and build community. For more than 20 years, her concise yet profound words and colorful, clean images have expanded people’s hearts, minds, and way of being in the world. She co-founded Shinebolt in 2019 to help make a brighter world by bringing people together, stories to life, and art to market.


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