Creme de Menthe

You may remember that I’ve done some illustration work for the online fiction magazine Fictive Dream. I love working for editor Laura Black and I also love being involved in the world of short fiction in this way. I’ve found the process of reading a story and turning it to something visual to be really satisfying in a way I can’t quite describe – there’s the challenge of “seeing” what the words say and then conveying it that I love.

Recently Laura asked me if I would illustrate an upcoming story for the magazine. I was happy to do so. The story, Creme de Menthe by Louis Gallo, appears today at Fictive Dream.

As I usually do, I created multiple versions so that Laura could choose the one she felt best portrayed the story. I used a variety of techniques and materials- acrylic paints, acrylic inks, India ink, and/or collage.

Before you view the art, though, here’s more info if you are interested in seeing past works of illustration for Fictive Dream – I’ve given a few links and if you want to know more, search my blog under the topic: Fictive Dream. 

September Slam 2018

Flash Fiction February 2019

Revisits 2019

And…here are links to the events at the magazine’s site, Fictive Dream.

Flash Fiction February 2019


Now, Here are the four images – take a look and then go to the story and read it to see which one ended up doing the job.



9 thoughts on “Creme de Menthe

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you, I enjoyed this one, since Laura was open to anything, and so I tried out several things. She did focus on the color in her notes to me and of course so did I upon reading the story. I achieved this green with a combination of various acrylics, green and blue, and then some green acrylic ink. When I was young a creme de menthe parfait was a special treat, creme de menthe and vanilla ice cream. We felt very grown up when we had one of those desserts…

  1. memadtwo

    Also, my mother loved Creme de Menthe and the family in the story reminded me of the subtractions from my own personal family rituals. Interestingly my older daughter is the one who insists on observing them, even though some of the parts are now missing.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I’ve never liked holidays or rituals that go with them, always seemed like so much fuss to me, so these days, we don’t do any of it. For anything. I do like remembering family occasions (selected parts of them, anyway) and I let that fill the role for me.

      1. memadtwo

        I’m not one that likes to do the same things over and over, but one must sometimes compromise. I do like the comfort of family, though, and rituals are often part of it.

  2. Laura Black

    The peg for this story is clearly the crème de menthe so for me the subject of the artwork was clear, and what a beautiful colour that liqueur is! I could easily have chosen any of the four images you created. The first one was very appealing because of the intricate crystal which the author writes about (he says, ‘long-stemmed crystal glasses that had belonged to my great-great-grandmother’); the second image even more so because the glasses contain a dot of the liqueur and I love the referencing of the green through the use of colour cards – for a while this option was to be my choice. The fourth in your series I like because of it’s simplicity – and the way in which you used collage to create the glasses. But as always, I had to be guided by the text and it was image 3 with the fringed curtain that best reflects the old-fashioned and refined world of the protagonist’s memories. The image stands out so strongly on my home page. It’s truly beautiful. Thank you, Claudia.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I went a little overboard with all the options but for some reason the imagery of this story really inspired me and several options occurred to me, each with its medium of expression. I loved working with the green color and finding the right shade, eventually settling on a combination of blue and green acrylics and a green acrylic ink mixture. I enjoyed this story and it really spoke to me – the artwork flowed very easily. Thank you!

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