Flash Fiction and Paint and Color and Ink and Paper

Coming up for the whole month of February 2019 – flash fiction!

What am I talking about? Well, I’ve done another illustration project for the online literary magazine Fictive Dream, which specializes in the short story. You may remember my pen and ink drawings for September Slam 2018 – I illustrated a week’s worth of short stories.

Fictive Dream Dear Damien full size 8-18 #2 adjusted text small

Now to the present! At Fictive Dream, next month is Flash Fiction February 2019 – twenty-eight days of short short stories. My part in the event? I did a small abstract painting (about 11.5 inches wide and about 7.25 inches tall) for each story. I’ll be showing one of them to you each day to accompany the story on Fictive Dream.

Here is a little background. Back in late fall 2018, Laura Black, editor of Fictive Dream, asked me if I’d like to do the project. She had in mind a different look from September Slam. Flash fiction packs a lot into an economical number of words, and the art needed to reflect this idea – she was looking for abstract art that depicted an overview of the story, rather than a drawing of a scene or a moment, as I had done for the Slam.

All right, I said. After considering the technical requirements, such as size, and after creating a banner to be used in each piece, I got to work. Following my usual method, I made a couple (and sometimes more) pieces for each story. I like to give Laura a choice, for one thing.

And I just do better work when I give myself permission not to invest everything into one image. I can always start over and do another, if I am not satisfied. Somehow that idea, that there is always another chance, frees my mind to work.

Plus, though each story was very short, that brevity did not translate into an author having little to say. Certainly not. In the complexity of each story, I found more than one way in, visually. I read every story several times, made notes, and sketched out ideas. Laura also gave me her impressions. With this preparation, I was able to translate elements of each story into visual images.

image 2 fictive dream 12-3-18 20192

All right. Throughout the next month I will discuss different aspects of the project as the ideas occur to me. I will post the illustration for the story of the day and provide a link to Fictive Dream so that you can read the story yourself and see what you think of the two together, words and image.

I also want to thank Laura for her faith in my work and for the unfailing support and freedom she gave me in doing this work. I loved this project and it was due in great part to her generosity and willingness to let me find my own way while providing a structure for me to work within.

The art in this post represents some of the pieces that were not chosen. So you’ve got a little flavor of what is in store. I hope you will come along with me for Flash Fiction February 2019.

22 thoughts on “Flash Fiction and Paint and Color and Ink and Paper

  1. Fictive Dream

    Hello Claudia, what a wonderful introduction to the Flash Fiction February project which, as you say, begins tomorrow. I was very keen for the stories on this project to be illustrated by abstract artwork (in contrast to the more detailed work of the Slam), and of course with an identity to differentiate these pieces of flash fiction from standard stories. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. I’m looking forward to seeing your posts develop in parallel to the stories coming out. More often than not know I had difficulty in choosing between the options you provided which is why it’s good to see here some of the pieces of artwork that weren’t chosen. For me it was another marvellous and fruitful collaboration. Thank you, Laura.

  2. Claudia McGill Post author

    It was fun and I hope the authors like what I have done. I really enjoy illustrating, who would have thought? I am really grateful for Laura at Fictive Dream taking a chance on me.

  3. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. I loved this project. There was such variety in the stories and each time a challenge, in the good kind of way, of exercising my mind and thoughts to come up with suitable art, and before that, to really dig into the stories, the way I did back when I was in school. I had forgotten how much I really like going deeper into a text as this project encouraged me to do.

  4. marandarussell

    Love these! I was once part of an exhibit where my poem inspired a painting and they displayed the two together. It was awesome. I was so happy to see my words inspire someone enough to create something!

  5. Claudia McGill Post author

    Thank you. We all know that feeling of tired creativity and just lacking inspiration and to be helping each other along the way, that is another good point of the blog world!

  6. Laura Black

    There is something wonderful about the interaction between a work of art and a piece of writing. The two parts come together to create something new that goes out into the world for reinterpretation.

  7. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, that is how I feel, and I also like how people can approach the duo from either direction and find a way into the works – and the different perspectives this can bring up.

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