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As usual, I'll be discussing the artwork that went into our latest issue. This may or may not include spoilers for the stories, so I urge you to please read it before proceeding.
All done? Then off we go...
This issue's beautiful cover was created by Allen Forrest. The guy has created a lot of covers for lit mags, and we're very lucky to have him gracing ours...
I try to make sure there's artistic variety in our collection of cover art, and am rather embarrassed that we didn't have any impressionistic pieces yet. To have that oversight rectified with such a great painting is icing on the cake. Thanks so much, Allen!
And now, for a look at the first half of the art included in this issue, read onward in an extended entry...
INSIDE FRONT COVER. Harry Wilson has a beautiful portfolio, and he was gracious enough to let us borrow some pieces for this issue. This one, titled Plovdiv, Bulgaria, 2011, had such gorgeous light that I really wanted it for the first page turn. As usual I regret having to obscure the work with the indicia, but it's strong enough to eclipse the intrusion.
THRICE 12 NOTES. Another great shot by Harry Wilson... this time from Rome, circa 2006. I like that it plays so nicely off the inside front cover and leads directly into RW's notes for the issue.
PAGE 3. I'm always looking for an excuse to draw cartoons for THRICE, but so rarely have the opportunity. So when Robin Rozanski's awesome Sandbags Won’t Save Your Life was sent my way, I immediately sketched out this on a PostIt Note...
The end of the story was a bit sad, so I liked the idea that one of the sandbags managed to escape and/or was repaired.
PAGE 5. For Paul Beckman's poignant piece of flash I wanted to come up with a way of marrying the list of ten things with the gerber daisies, as they summarized what was received and what was given. I struggled with it for a while before finally deciding to literally combine them... the idea that the list was corrupting the flower number by number. Originally I was going to manipulate a photo of a gerber daisy, but found out that they don't have a number of petals that distributes ten in a pleasing way. So I took some artistic license and drew it instead.
PAGES 6-7. I liked how both of Meeah Williams' stories had some form of cooking in them, so I latched onto that to tie them together by painting over some photos I took. The boiling peas didn't work at first because peas tend to foam up when boiling, so I had to cut the temperature a bit. Easy. The roast was not so easy, however, given that I've been a vegetarian for 28 years. I thought I'd just bite the bullet and buy one that I could shoot and give away... until I saw the price of meat now-a-days. Cheaper to buy some clip art of meat and a pan to composite with a shot of my oven and work from that instead.
PAGES 8. The imagery in Marsha Roberts' Speaking the Language seemed a perfect fit for Katelin Kinney's amazing photography, so I sent it to her without even thinking about it. I knew she'd come up with the perfect image... which, of course, she did.
PAGES 13. Barry Basden's flawless economy of words left a surprising amount of room for interpretation. All my ideas felt too literal, which didn't seem appropriate, so I moved the piece next to Katelin Kinney's story so she could handle them both. A smart move on my part, because the photo she came up with is gorgeous.
PAGES 14. The Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera connection in Lucinda Kempe's Sprawl was not lost on me. But given that Diego Rivera is one of my favorite painters, I decided trying to emulate his style was not an option. Instead I decided to follow the lead of the page opposite and find a way to communicate the essence of the piece... which felt very much like the beginning of a love story on a toothbrush to me.
PAGES 15. The technical style of Chris Ware kept creeping into my head as I read Cezarija Abartis' very human "slice of life" tale, so that's the approach I took... pulling a frame from the imaginary comic strip I created in my head while reading it.
PAGES 16. I've been a bit greedy in abusing my power as art director because I always take the John M. Bennett pieces for myself. They allow for a lot of interpretive freedom, which is why I'm reluctant to give them up. That being said, I've long thought that it would be interesting to see what Chad would do with one of Bennett's works. Wonder no more... as this image attests, they pair together beautifully.
PAGES 17. Barbara Donnelly Lane's powerful Joanna Wiley Naked became the centerpiece for the issue the minute I read the last line. That put it opposite John M. Bennett's node controls, so I wanted Chad to complete the spread. My hope was that he'd find a way to unite them somehow. Which he did, using an approach I wouldn't have thought of... color.
Annnnd... we're at the half-way point. I'll run through the remaining pieces tomorrow.
Annnnd... Part 2 is up!