A considerable time ago, I posted my illustration for the cover of the 51st issue of Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine: Cover Art for Thoraiya Dyer’s story, edited by Simon Petrie. I also provided black and white internal illustrations for six other stories (these are all in pen and ink with digital shading and texture).
From left to right, top to bottom the stories are:
- “A Mirror, Darkly” – Keith Stevenson: About a quarter of the way through drawing the patterns on the scarf, I had the sinking feeling that I had overcommitted. The impression of bleakness and claustrophobia I got from the story may be partially blamed on sitting crouched over the drawing board filling in dots, but the story was effective in making me extremely wary of speckled mirrors in op-shops.
- “The Household Debt” – Chris Miles: The illustration is an homage to the flat composition of golden age illustrations and to Edward Gorey’s Doubtful Guest. The story made me grateful for my mortgage and put me off several categories of food.
- “Bonsai” – Robin Shortt: An brief, lovely, eerie little story which is painful to reread after the events of this year. The story has its monsters, but the Simon requested the old man and the tree and I agree – it seemed that to illustrate the consequences would be to miss the point (although it would be a lovely piece to see done entirely graphically).
- “Nessa 1944” – Ellen C Glass: I enjoyed the use of an old rhyme in this, but the story is set in ventilation ducts, in the dark! Oddly, I think this is the only one for which the editor didn’t suggest what he’d like in the picture.
- “The Story of the Ship that Brought us Here” – Stephen Case: I love the flowered dress here, but this illustration fell far short of what I wanted it to be. This story flowered with beautiful images – glass birds hung in trees, strange sentient planets, alignments of stars, implanted plant gowns, ships reborn… – and I could never put all of them in one image.
- “Merchant’s Run” – Calie Voorhis: This is another illustration which gave me pause – the seventies vibe of the interior of the spacecraft of the story was fun, but in the end the chance to draw old-fashioned tulips was irresistable. This is my favourite of the illustrations. Originally there was no shading, but the editor requested that the ship be made larger or more obvious, so I put a grey shade to knock the tulips into the background.
Each time I reach the end of a job, I look back and realise how much I have learned in the course of it – which is a Very Good Thing, but can make the looking-back uncomfortable. I learned a huge amount on this issue of ASIM. I was very glad to have the opportunity to illustrate a whole issue (thank you Simon!), although the diversity of stories and genre presented a challenge – I have my favourite styles of story, and some stories are a more obvious fit to the way I draw. It was an excellent lesson in how to take stories which were chosen for me, look at a story which didn’t instantly fit the way my brain works, and try to tease out an illustration which suited both it and me.