Fiction Ed’s Blog: Illustrating Our Competition-Winning Stories

Did you see our Short Story Writing Competition runners-up in last week’s issue?

I got together with Illustrations Editor, Manon, for a chat about the process of illustrating the runner-up and winning stories.

“Mountain Missed”, by Wally Smith

Artwork: Sarah Holliday

“I chose Sarah Holliday to illustrate our first runner-up story as it is light-hearted, with comedy running through it, and I thought Sarah’s style would complement it well,” Manon explained.

“Sarah has a modern, simple style, perfect for conveying the feeling of this story and keeping us intrigued, without giving too much away – important in any “Friend” illustration.

“Sarah’s illustration shows beautiful Scottish scenery, on a rainy day, and brings colour to it.”

“Haste Ye Back”, by Linda Finlay (Main Image)

“I chose illustrator Kirk Houston for this story because while the setting is definitely Scottish, the story has a firm focus on the people involved,” Manon told me.

“Kirk is great at capturing the essence of the characters (and the mood of the story) through close-up portraits.

“The story is about friendship between the generations, and about how at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter where you come from.

“We can see from Kirk’s artwork that this story involves reflection, but also happiness.”

“The Moon Child”, by Charmaine Fletcher

Artwork: Sailesh Thakrar

“This story needed an illustrator who could bring the magic, mysterious, mystical elements of this story to life!

“As it has a faintly ‘ghostly’ element, a strictly realistic style of artwork may not have worked so well.

“It was also difficult to pick just one scene to accurately reflect the story, so I chose an artist who is superb at montage – Sailesh Thakrar.

“Sailesh has picked key elements of the story and interlinked them together.”

Our Winning Story – “Bluebells”, by Julie Robertson

Artwork: Mandy Dixon

“This is a very traditional “Friend” story, featuring themes of fortitude, courage and family.

“Artist, Mandy Dixon, is great at showing family bonds on the page.

“She also creates a feeling of interaction – look at the complicity between the two characters.

“The looks of fondness and enthusiasm passing between them show their attachment to one another.

“One of Mandy’s strong suits is her ability to translate relationships into images.”


Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!