Revisits: Main Theme

I did some illustrations for an event at Fictive Dream, an online fiction magazine specializing in short stories. It’s called “Revisits”. In it, the magazine revisits “the best of the back catalog”, as editor Laura Black says. Every two weeks April through August 2019, a different theme was explored. Look here to see the line-up of stories from the event and to read them.

I wrote a series of posts explaining the art creation process for this event. Look here for the first post, Love, which also offers an overview of the parameters of the art aspects of this project; for the other themes, search under the term Revisits in this blog.

In addition to the illustrations for each theme covered in the Revisits event, I did an artwork intended for the main page of the Revisits 2019 page at Fictive Dream, the place where readers could go to access the collection of stories in one place. It’s a title page illustration, as I think of it, for a “book” of collected short stories.

As such it needed to fit in with the illustrations done for each individual theme: landscape, sky, tree(s). For this picture the choices were wide open – there was no theme to illustrate.

I did the work on this image at the beginning of the project. Looking back, waiting until the end might have been better, but I was not sure how quickly I’d get the theme illustrations done and I was afraid the event would begin, I had not done all the illustrations, and yet we needed the Main Theme illustration to be in place at the event page.

You may remember that Fictive Dream editor Laura Black and I were feeling our way with the illustrations for a little while in the beginning until we got a few produced and began to know what we wanted. This Main Theme illustration was part of that “feeling our way” process.

Originally my thought was to include an array of colors in the landscape to portray the variety of themes and stories in the collection. I came up with this collage:

Image 21 blog

Laura liked it but it was not what she was looking for. As an artist, it can be hard to hear this kind of news; even though it’s not a criticism of the work, it means I’ve missed the mark. But in commission work, missing the mark is not failure – it’s a way to better understand where the mark actually is and to try again.

When I was auditioning styles for the project, as the very first step, I submitted quite a few images to Laura as we worked out the picture, the text, the text placement and style, etc. I made some wildly different pictures to gauge her interest:

I am sure you can see the one that caught her attention. I had created it from magazine papers unified with a layer of paint, text digitally applied. Anyway, when we got to the Main Theme image she reminded me of this one and how she had liked it.

I created a new version in the same colors but using painted sketch papers so as to fit in with the other theme illustrations. The text is slightly larger to fill in the space better (since there is no theme word, using the same size type made the word Revisits look a little scared and lost!)

Image 22 final 92 Calibri blog

This picture fit the bill. I liked the look of it and more importantly, Laura felt it was a good long-term representative for the overall Revisits event as people visit it now or in the future.

This post wraps up the Revisits illustration event on my blog. Once again I’d like to thank Laura Black for her faith in my work and her unfailing support of it. She is a true pleasure to work for. And thank you to everyone for following me on this journey.

Now I’d urge you take a look at the stories:  here at Fictive Dream: Revisits.

7 thoughts on “Revisits: Main Theme

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. It was actually a painted background that I did for another project – the text superimposed digitally. Very easy to do. I don’t even know if I still have the paper anymore (in real life – it lives on forever in digital form!)

  1. Laura Black

    It was very helpful to go through a selection of possibilities and when I think back I could so easily have chosen the first of the four – most likely because of the use of snippets of text. The fourth image would have been a safe choice for me because you created a similar effect for September Slam story. But there was something special about the image we finally agreed upon. I wonder if I really appreciated then the power of the tree motif. On this project I learned more about the thinking process for an artist in trying to create an illustration for a broad idea. So, another collaboration over. I hope your readers and followers have enjoyed learning about the process, and the stories too. It’s wonderful to work with you Claudia, and I look forward to the next project.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I think the hardest thing in a project like this is communicating ideas from words to visual images, on so many levels. This particular task, to choose the template upon which to build the series, required doing just that – taking the idea and turning it into something we could both see, so we would be thinking about the same thing. I found the best thing to do is to toss out a variety of things and from your response, I’d at least have direction to go in. The tactic worked well, I think, and it’s interesting to me to hear what you thought about the various candidates. The tree motif worked well for me, too – the expressiveness and the shapes and forms really worked well as a metaphor for ideas. I really enjoyed this project and as always it was a pleasure for me to be involved with Fictive Dream and with you. Thank you again and looking forward to wherever we go next!

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