Jo Gershman

Paintings & Illustrations

Jo Gershman’s watercolor paintings are vibrant and elegant works, intricately detailed, full of whimsical realism mysterious domains, and complex patterns.

Children’s Illustrations

Cards & Borders

Still Life

About me

I create illustrations for picture books, gift books, journals, and greeting cards that range from magical flying horses to kangaroos and green pythons to the Nutcracker Ballet. For gallery exhibitions I focus on fruits, vegetables, and elegant still lifes.

My paintings utilize a variety of watercolor techniques: loose washes, glazing, drybrushing and varied textural effects. I also enjoy teaching watercolor and talking to all ages about the process of illustrating books.

One of my earliest horses

One of my earliest horses

As a little girl in Philadelphia, I used to watch a children’s television show in which the host would tell fairy tales, illustrating them as he spoke. On a huge blank sheet of white paper, he would render flawless drawings, bringing the stories to life. I had no idea that he was tracing pre-drawn pictures – it was like magic. For years, I thought that drawings and paintings happened this way, perfectly formed at first try, and I would discard my paper the moment I committed an imperfect line. And while I now sketch many imperfect drafts to create a finished piece, I think that my drive for perfection of detail as well as my sense of magic spring from this childhood influence.

My love of design and detail are greatly influenced by medieval manuscript illuminators and leading artists of the late nineteenth century Arts & Crafts movement, particularly William Morris. From the moment I fell in love with Black Beauty as a very young child, animals and nature have always been my favorite subjects to draw and paint, and my life is filled with many, including a lovely Morgan mare, and two affectionate and opinionated cats who have me very well trained.

“The aim should be to combine clearness of form and firmness of structure with the mystery which comes of abundance and richness of detail….”

   William Morris, 1883

I love to design as well as illustrate books, many of which have won awards:

Picture Books & Chapter Books

A Wild WILD Hanukkah
Kar-Ben Publishing, Fall 2023
picture book written by Jo Gershman & Bob Strauss, illustrated by Jo Gershman

Salus Publishing, 2022, book design
Finalist, Next Generation Indie Book Awards 2022

The S.O.U.R.C.E.
Fulton Books, chapter book 2022, illustration & book design
2022 Nautilus Gold Award, Middle Grade Fiction
2022 Readers Favorite Silver Award, children’s fable
2022 Purple Dragonfly Awards, Honorable Mention, Green Books & Environmental, Middle Grade Fiction
2022 International Book Awards, Finalist, Animals & Pets

The Death-Defying Dare-Devilish Deeds of Buster & Mooney
Salus Books, chapter book 2019, illustration & book design

Artemis and the Violin
Screech Owl Press, chapter book 2018, illustration & book design
2019 Purple Dragonfly Award, First Place Chapter Books
2018 Silver Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Jilly’s Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them
Smart Love Press 2017, illustration & book design
2018 Silver Nautilus, 2018 Silver Feathered Quill Awards
2017 Seven Purple Dragonfly Awards:
First(3)-cover design, picture books age 6+, growing pains
Second(2); Honorable Mention(3)

The Land of Walloo
Mascot Books 2016, illustration & book design
2017 Two Purple Dragonfly Awards, Honorable Mention

Mommy, Daddy, I Had a Bad Dream!
Smart Love Press 2012, illustration & book design
2013 IBPA Ben Franklin Gold Award for Children’s Books

The Adventures of Kingii
Teacher Created Materials 2013, illustration

The Snake’s Diary by Little Yellow
Teacher Created Materials 2013, illustration

Wind Dancers Series of 12 books
Feiwel and Friends 2008-2011, illustration

Welcome to the White House
Peter Pauper Press 2010, illustration

The Night Before Christmas
Peter Pauper Press 2008, illustration

The Nutcracker Ballet
Peter Pauper Press 2008, illustration
Silver Honor Parents Choice Award

Peter Pauper Press

Christmas Cards

Journal covers

Florentine Journal & cards

Wedding Anniversary Album

Friendship Bracelets

The Merry Christmas Tree

Irish Legends

Nature’s Miracles

A Simple Christmas

Blueberries from Heaven

First Aid for the Jewish Soul

Kabbalah: The Way of Light

History of Our Family

Celtic Sunrise


The Key to Friendship

The Key to Love

The Gift of a Rose

A Cup of Herbal Tea

The Key to Happiness

Noah’s Ark

Pearls of Wisdom

The Key to Life

Contact me


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