This is the first of a small set of illustrations I'm doing for the story Flashlight, Knife and Flowered Crown, written by the very talented Sarah Avery and published across the next few issues (#134-136) of Space and Time Magazine.
It's a story about faerie abduction and a badass mom prepared to do what is necessary to rescue her child.
It's a detailed, clever, and exciting tale with smart characters which is just as enjoyable on the third and fourth readings. The text is longer than usual, which is why it's being serialized across three issues. Upon being assigned to illustrate the first part of the story, I practically begged to illustrate the rest.
This will have been the first time I've done multiple illustrations for a single story. There were fleeting thoughts of how to integrate the set (a visual thread that connected the images when you placed them side by side in sequence) but this was abandoned when I realized, in order to avoid accidentally getting ahead of the story, I needed to know where the cuts were to occur across issues. This, of course, was no minor task for the publisher, Angela Yuriko Smith, requiring her to plan part of the magazine content several issues ahead of publication.
Eventually I decided to abandon interconnecting the set. In order to avoid jumping ahead of the story, I chose a moment which takes place sometime before the narrative begins --a playground, deceptively pleasant, but with something curious off in the distance.
|Early Fae sketch, too aggressive and inelegant.|
While the illustration set will not interconnect, I did find a visual narrative to run through them, deciding that as the story progresses out of the modern world and into that of the Fae realm, I would transition the style. Hopefully, this will provide a nice otherworldly sense to the later half of the tale, and provide a unspoken contrast that these human creatures are not of this magic place. How well this will come across, we shall see. But taken as a set, I think it should work. This is why the fairy in this first illustration does not have the shading lines as the other characters. Things work differently in the realm of the Fae. It is also why I used a thicker pen for the modern world. It will help contrast the human characters later with their environment, and again, hopefully provide a sense of 'otherness.'
Sarah's story was so enjoyable on first read that I immediately pulled up Amazon and purchased her book The Imlen Brat with it's gorgeous cover by Kate Baylay. I'd finished reading the book before I'd finished the illustration and there are a few less-than-subtle choices I made with that book in mind.
Looking forward to continuing on this journey. I find it nice to have just one story to tumble around in my head over the next six months.