A Postcard in a Second Life

As you know I often provide illustrations for Fictive Dream, an online short story magazine. I enjoy working with editor Laura Black and each story presents me with an interesting challenge: find or create an image that complements the author’s words and intentions.

Recently we’ve sometimes used images I had already on hand. This was the case for today’s story. Laura asked me for an image along these lines: For this story I was thinking of your postcards with text that’s obfuscated. Specifically poetry, or if you only have prose, then text that is not too obvious.

So I got to work and found some images for her. I choose a variety of things, even ones that don’t really fit, because she may see something there that works, or that I could use as a basis to amend or alter the original work using digital techniques.

Here are the ones I sent her. This group consists of postcards just as they were made, no alterations:

This group includes items where I digitally altered or combined existing images:

After looking them over, Laura decided on one of the postcards from the first group, but she asked if it would be possible to flip it 180 degrees. Yes, it was possible, and I did so, also doing some slight resizing of the rectangle to make it fit the dimensions she needed for her purposes.

Here it is. Take a look and then read the story it illustrates, Poetry Reading by Louis Gallo,  at Fictive Dream.

Fictive Dream Postcard backwards p flipped and adj for size

10 thoughts on “A Postcard in a Second Life

  1. Fictive Dream

    The collection of images you sent was so varied and colourful. I was looking for every reason to use the third one with giant lettering but more relevant were the images showing fragments of text. To me, the image I chose appeared most striking because of the broad blue and bright yellow lines. Overall the colours seemed to suit the morose mood of the stories narrator. Thank you, Claudia.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I always liked this postcard for the reasons you mentioned, the color scheme and the big swatches of color. And to me it’s interesting to view the card “upside down” – because when I make this kind of work it’s arbitrary how it is oriented (often I flip them in the end from what they were when I was making them). Glad we could find something that worked with the story and included words, which I always enjoy seeing in art, and in putting them into my own pieces.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I included the bolder images because I like them so much too. As you know I did not read the story but worked from what Laura told me. I am thinking that method is actually a really good way to work because I don’t overthink the story and how to depict it (though in my next breath I will say how much I like digging in to the text to pull out an image, so I guess sometimes it’s one way and sometimes the other). I think I would have had a hard time focusing an illustration for this story so I am glad we did things this way this time.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      That color combination has been a favorite of mine since childhood. I remember a swim team I was on in my early teenage years, our team colors were yellow and turquoise and I had bathing suits in that combination, which I loved.

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I love the selected illustration because I find myself drawn to that colour combination. Really anything with a zap of turquoise calls to me. As you know, I am also a fan of the way you utilise fragments of print and handwritten text in your mixed media pieces. The story itself did nothing for me but I really like the image.

    1. Claudia McGill Post author

      I am glad I did not read the story before but relied on Laura’s guidance because I am not sure I would have pulled the same elements out of it for an illustration, and I like the way this postcard looks in the revised version. And of course, you are right, turqoise and yellow, you can never get enough of it.

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