Courtesy Chronicle Books
There are probably about three levels of Abbi Jacobson fandom—those who enjoy her screen time on Comedy Central's Broad City, and happily leave it at that; those who cared enough to find out that her character's artwork (which appears in the show on the walls of a sandwich shop and in a commercial for a white supremacist dating service) was, in fact, produced by Abbi herself; and finally those whose in-depth Google stalking long ago uncovered that Abbi's illustrations have been sold as greeting cards in New York City, featured as part of AOL's Artist Initiative, and published by Chronicle in two coloring books. Color This Book: New York City came out in 2013, featuring iconic attractions and her favorite spots across the city. The San Francisco version was released shortly thereafter. Below, The Creators Project asks the comedian five questions about her side career:
The Creators Project: How did the coloring book project come about?Abbi Jacobson: I have always wanted to do a coloring book since I was a kid. When I moved to New York from Baltimore after art school, I no longer had a studio space so I was confined to my desk and started illustrating more. I started doing a ton of cityscapes and selling them on the street and when I got an agent for Broad City, I met with their books department and pitched them my coloring book idea. I pitched a series of cities and Chronicle landed on NYC and San Fran (that's where they are located).
Did you draw from direct observation, photos, memory… all of the above? Can you describe your process and materials?All of the above. For this project I went to the locations and took photos. My best friend Jess and I went to San Francisco and toured all around for a long weekend of research and I gathered my favorite spots. Then I came back to New York and drew both books in about 2 months. We were writing the pilot for Broad City at the time and I remember having a long list of each city's spots and checking them off, one by one. I use bristol paper—it's my favorite because it's thick and very smooth. I use a ton of different pens; in fact, I'm quite the pen-head. I love Prismacolor, Staedtler, Uniball, and Micron pens. All the drawings are actually larger than they are in the book, which made it easier for me to do the detail.
Have you colored in your own copies of the books?Yes! As I said before, the originals are larger than the book and I've slowly been coloring them in. I am trying to finish them all and host a party/fundraiser where people can bid on them and all the proceeds go back to New York and San Fran in some way. I'm looking for the right charities and the time to finish coloring!
Are you still pursuing work as an illustrator?Yes! I have another web series called Annie and A Side of Fries where I made an illustrated backdrop/set which was so much fun. I've been working on this other project—an animated show that is an expansion of that web series, which I'm so excited about and can't wait until I can really sink my teeth into trying to develop.
Didn't you also used to sell illustrated greeting cards in NYC?Yes, I had a little card company that I sold to stores all over the city, and in Union Square and on West Broadway. I also did a bunch of illustrations for AOL as part of their AOL Artist Initiative. You can find everything at abbij.com, which I don't update anymore but has all my old stuff.
Click here to order your copy of Color This Book: New York City, out now from Chronicle Books.Related:Meet the Artist Behind Broad City's Awesome Animated Intros'Broad City' Artist Curates 10 New Brooklyn MuralsIllustration Timelapse Inks NYC in Under 3 Minutes