New Shirt

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, New Shirt 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.

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 two images – take a look and then go to the story and read it to see which one ended up doing the job.

The first image is a collage with pen and ink shirts.

Fictive Dream The New Shirt blog size 11-19 image 1

The second image, a digital collage assembled from two separate painting/pen compositions (background in one layer and the shirt in another) has two versions – they are the same except one has the the shirt shown in full opacity and the other one I set at 82%, so that a little of the background shows through.




10 thoughts on “New Shirt

  1. Laura (PA Pict)

    All three images are superb and are the perfect accompaniments to the story – which I found to be very poignant and somewhat relatable (I need to stop saving things for “best”, though I don’t own anything that has never been used). I usually completely agree with Editor Laura’s choice but this time I depart from her decision. My favourite of the three images is the first one. There is something about those squares and the repetition that suggests a calendar and the passage of time and the permanence of the pristine white shirt.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you, I admit to being partial to that one myself for just the reasons you say – I was hoping to bring across the idea of calendar and time passing and the shirt being a little different as time went on, position, etc., but still, in the closet, never worn, as the continuity. I liked this story and it has reminded me the same thing – do not save things, use them now! Time is passing!

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I loved this story just as you said. I have a dress in my closet right now that is in this position (not for so many years though). I am thinking maybe this spring it will be time…to let it go, not wear it.

      1. memadtwo

        I had a pair of boots I saved for years. Sometimes you just have to break the ice…now I wear them a lot.
        Of course there is that sweater…

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      Thank you. I enjoy illustrating. It takes me down a whole different thought process with art – interesting feeling to share your interior art head with someone else (the writer, I mean).

  2. Laura Black

    I agree with Laura that all three are superb images and each one would have worked vey well with the story. Louis Gallo gives us a big canvas in a little story and so the ‘calendar’ approach really appealed to me. Next, the second image with the shirt in full opacity made a great deal of sense because the narrator loves the idea of his shirt being unused and pristine. But, there was something very human about the third image with the shirt at 82% opacity. I couldn’t help but interpret the background showing through as a reminder of deterioration; a worsening in condition, something that few of us can avoid. For images 1 and 2 there were two technical points, which were not a big consideration, given that I was very keen on my choice but they’re worth mentioning here. The image not only appears on the story page but also as a thumbnail on the Home Page so I’m always considering these two separate views. The calendar thumbnail appeared as two strips of 5 months, one above, and one below. But, on either edge appeared the end of the previous months and the start of the next months. Not a big deal, but I was aware of it. Then, for image 2 at full opacity, because the shirt is white, I felt a part of the edge of the artwork was ‘missing’ – the white of the shirt seeped into the white of the website background. On this occasion these technical aspects didn’t play a part in my decision, but at times they may become a consideration. All in all, a wonderful palette that works well with the story and with the FD logo. What more could you want? Thank you, Claudia.

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