Bringing A Scene To Life

Bacon and eggs, strawberries and cream, fish and chips, cheese and . . . well, if you are me, cheese with anything. These are just some classic food combinations. But I want to talk to you about another classic combination closer to home – the fiction combination of story and illustration.

Picture This

The Friend illustrations have regularly appeared alongside our stories since the 1890s, and we have kept faith with the traditional/realistic style of artwork ever since.

Over the past few years we have also adapted to show a more contemporary artwork style for some of our stories. The end goal is always the same, though, and that’s to come up with an illustration which will visually complement a story.


How we go about this involves one of the following procedures:

  • Write up an illustration brief, where we highlight the character/s and scene we want depicted. This is then handed to our Illustrations Editor, Sarah, who then decides who to send the commission to.
  • Source an image from our artwork stock library, in which we currently have over 3700 illustrations. From couples, both contemporary and historical, to family-based scenes, we have an array of Friend material to choose from.
  • Use an online agency to source a more stylised illustration.

Visual Heartbeat

An effective Friend illustration is all about summing up a story in one eye-catching scene – or scenes if we are dealing with montage style artwork. It usually starts with the story, but from time to time we send out an illustration to a writer in the hope that it will inspire a story.

In the land of Friend fiction, no one size fits all. You won’t see an issue of the magazine where all the illustrations are much of a likeness – it’s about variety, uniqueness and capturing the visual heartbeat of a story.

The team puts a lot of time an effort into finding the perfect piece of artwork, helping bring story worlds to life. Therefore, it is our hope you will continue to enjoy the stories and accompanying artwork for many years to come.

Like a good marriage, one has to complement the other.


You can see more our eye-catching illustrations in Shirley’s Fiction Sneak Peeks.

Illustration by Sarah Holliday.


Alan Spink

Alan is a member of the “Friend” Fiction Team. He enjoys working closely with writers and being part of the creative process, which sees storytelling ideas come to fruition. A keen reader, he also writes fiction and enjoys watching football and movies in his spare time. His one tip to new writers is “write from your imagination”.