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Posted on Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Dave!And... I'm back!

But before I continue with a look at the art appearing in the second half of THRICE Fiction Issue No. 9, you might want to go read Part One from yesterday first (if you haven't already).

Oh, and if you haven't downloaded your FREE copy of our latest issue, that should be your first stop!

Okay? Okay!

Now then... before I get started, I was going to talk a bit about what it means to be closing out three years and nine issues of THRICE Fiction. On our Facebook somewhere, I was joking about how "People said we wouldn't last... shame on them." But it was more than a joke. People were literally saying that we wouldn't last. Apparently there's past precedent: "New magazines rarely make it past a year... two years if they're lucky," they would say.

At the time, I didn't know why that would be. I guessed it was because the magazine ends up being more work than people realize. You start out strong with the best of intentions... but life gets in the way, and eventually the time between issues grow longer and longer until you realize you just don't want to do this any longer. Or maybe the people who quit started their magazine to get rich (ha ha) and the money never came. Maybe they didn't feel enough people were reading to make it worthwhile. Maybe the experience just wasn't what they expected. I dunno. And while I can't speak for our Editor, RW, I can say that it has never occurred to me to pack it in. I'm as enthusiastic about THRICE Fiction now as I was at the beginning. More so, even, because the response we've received has exceeded my wildest dreams.

So many thanks to all our contributors who have made us look so good these three years... and also to our readers who continue to download issues by the thousands. We're so very grateful, and there's more to come in Year Four!


Oh yeah...

The art for Issue No. 9... Part Two!

You can find that in an extended entry...

Suzi and the Pork Chop

Page 24. It always surprises me how a truly talented writer can make a tiny bit of flash fiction seem so much... bigger... than it is. Chris Fradkin's Suzi and the Porkchop perfectly illustrates this... running the emotional gamut of despair, hope, and loss in an impossibly short span of text. I selected the moment when the pork chop is hitting the pan and hope is in the air... illustrated as flowers... to illustrate it. This illustration is a composite of 15 separate stock elements that have been warped and twisted to get where they needed to be. I grunged things up in Photoshop to add a little impending despair to the overall feeling.

Brittle Sisters

Page 26. For April Bradley's Brittle Sisters I tracked down an artist whose portfolio was a perfect fit for the tone of the story. After everything kind of fell through, I was going to draw the bag from Halle's ashes floating in a creek. It was kind of a "spoiler" image, but I felt it was the focus point for everything that came before... yet was ambiguous enough to not be an actual spoiler. Lucky for all of us, Katelin Kiney had a creek painting in her portfolio that would put anything I did to shame, so there you have it.

Carving a Memory

Page 28. The art I wanted to create for Amanda Nicole Corbin's Carving a Memory was the last sentence of the piece, which kind of knocks the wind out of you and hammers the piece home. Obviously, this wouldn't be a good plan, so I decided to go with Raymond Babbit in his cage. The African grey parrot was traced then painted from a piece of stock photo art I purchased... everything else was painted on my iPad. I then transferred to Photoshop for the text and a bit of texture.

The Accident

Page 30. The image of one of Alice Bolland's old movie posters was the only option I wanted to explore for the artwork to B.Z. Niditch's The Accident. The point being, of course, to show her the way she remembers herself, which was trickier than I had thought it would be. The concept hinged entirely on finding the right piece of pin-up girl stock art to draw from... looking more like Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop than the "glamour girl" of Hollywood's golden era (which didn't seem "brash" enough to be Alice Bolland). I looked at hundreds of photos until I found the lovely lady in the art you see there. She is a bit more contemporary-looking than I would have liked, but I'd rather have contemporary than boring, so I worked on it a bit to get it where she needed to be. Since I wanted the art to be a "window" into the poster, I sketched out a four-by-four folded sheet, then took a chunk out of the middle. The result was then aged and half-toned in Photoshop.

Neptune's Choice

Page 32. This devious little story by Michael Chaney grabbed me right away, and I was going to do something with a dolphin for the visual because I loved that bit. But when the story on the facing page when to Chad, I wanted to tie them together a bit with the art, so I reluctantly sent this one his way as well. And thank heavens. What he came up with is the focal point of Neptune's Choice in two-and-one-quarter inches! I added some pastel blues so the ladies would stand out a bit on this small of an illustration, and love the result.

Lincoln's Ghosts

Page 33. After reading through Crow Billings' terrific Lincoln's Ghost a half-dozen times, I knew no approach I came up with would do it justice, so I sent it to Chad. He, of course, completely nailed it... turning in my favorite illustration from the entire issue. As with Neptune's Choice, I worried the small size would bury Lincoln a bit, so I added pastel yellows to set it off. I was very happy with the way the two stories on this spread married-up visually... it's a great little break before the issue starts to wrap up.

Yeah But Like Why

Page 34. Jane Liddle came up with a beautiful bit of "slice of life" fiction here, and I wanted to be sure that I had the right piece of art to run with it. So when my original plans to find an artist went awry, I was horrified. It was entirely too late to impose on another artist, which left me with the daunting task of coming up with something myself... probably not the best artistic solution for the piece. So I imposed on Katelin Kinney for one of her works, choosing one called Seed of a Soul. It was absolutely beautiful, but ultimately felt too isolated for the story of two people chatting online (fortunately, it worked out absolutely flawlessly for our cover though!). That's when I found another photo art piece by Katelin called Regrets. Not only was it a great fit for the tone of the story... but it was also eerily reflective of a web of conversations that can bind two people together.

Pulled Apart Pushed Pieces

Page 37. H.L. Nelson's exploration of drugs and sex was a bit outside of my artistic sphere and I was afraid to dumb it down by drawing ants on a cigarette or something like that. Lucky for me, Francis Denis had a piece that was a brilliant fit... almost too good a fit, really. One of those rare cases where two pieces constructed separately look like they were made for each other.

Storm Music

Page 38-39. Another piece that was originally signed to the artist who didn't work out, India McDonough's Storm Music almost defies visual accompaniment... as the words compel the reader to create their own imagery. So at first I was just going to go abstract so as not to intrude, but that didn't work out either. Finally I decided that I would take a stab at describing the piece artistically rather than accompanying it visually, and that's when things started to come together. How I saw it was like this... the sounds a storm provides are just noise until they are interpreted as music by us. I decided to take that interpreted music and send it back to the storm... via paper airplane. The background image is a photo I shot on a recent trip to Cambodia which I've processed and textured with a "rain" filter. I then composited that with sheet music I printed double-sided, then folded into a paper airplane and photographed. The piece of sheet music I scanned was missing the title page, so I have no idea what it is... but it was the most "stormy-looking" of the pages I found so I went with it.

French Lady

Back Cover. Since I lead off with Francis Denis on the inside-front cover, I decided to close out with another piece of his. There were many, many nice works to choose from, but I went with this one because it had a sense of "anticipation" that made me look forward to THRICE Fiction Issue No. 10!

And that's a wrap! Thanks again to Francis Denis, Katelin Kinney, and Chad Roseburg for their wonderful work appearing in the issue!

See y'all in four months!

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