Here’s a quick look at some of the artwork in Special 197 (on sale September 9), and why it was chosen.
We try to include a mix of contemporary and historical stories in our Specials.
The team specially commissioned the illustration for “Above The Clouds” (above), a wartime story by debut author Rova Jones, from “Friend” artist Kirk Houston.
Our opening story, “Arianna’s New Story”, by Katie Ashmore, is another of the stories for which we’ve commissioned a brand new illustration (below).
Once we purchase a story, we make up an Illustration Brief, which determines how the story will be illustrated.
The Fiction team member making up the brief reads the story carefully and chooses either a moment from the story to illustrate, or artwork which conveys the general tone of the story.
This is then passed to Manon, our Commissioning Illustrations Editor; she decides which artist would be best suited for each commission.
Artwork for the opener is an introduction to the magazine, so we’re looking for a bright, strong, and engaging image, which may reflect the season or time of year in which the story’s set.
For stories of fewer than 2000 words, we often choose artwork from an image library.
Sometimes Illustrations Editor Manon adds a little to images from picture libraries, perhaps changing the colour palette to make it more autumnal, for example.
You can see this in the artwork for “Walking With Giants”, by Barbara Dynes.
For “Pros And Cons”, by Della Galton, we chose an image from our own image library — illustrations which have been sent in “on spec”, to see if they may be suitable, or which have been used once previously.
This one suited the story perfectly; it’s by Mandy Murray.
We have another two vector images in this Special, for “Simple Pleasures” and “Be My Baby”, both by Eirin Thompson.
An artist has designed a vector image on a computer, rather than hand-drawing it.
“Friend” artist Mandy Dixon has illustrated three of our stories in this Special.
Keeping things interesting
In “A Little Help From My Friends” by Eirin Thompson (below), Mandy’s artwork features two people.
We try to include illustrations with a mix of single people, couples, and groups, to make it interesting for our readers.
Jim Dewar has illustrated our latest Tanino and Melina story, “Work It Out”, by Stefania Hartley.
As Tanino and Melina are recurring characters, Jim uses the same backdrop, then adds relevant additions to each one.
Our Specials carry stories of slightly different lengths to our weekly issues.
In this Special, our 3,500 word story is “Marigold’s Legend”, by Laura Tapper.
Mandy Dixon has illustrated this story for us (below). Isn’t this artwork lovely?
Finally, our Long Read illustrations are always commissioned specially, with one main image and three “vignettes”, or smaller illustrations.
Special 197 has an intriguing Long Read by Alison Carter: “City Of Secrets”, set in the Netherlands, and illustrated by Gerard Fay (below).
Pick up your copy of Special 197 in shops from September 9.
For a closer look at the Features you’ll find inside, click here.