Writer vs. Illustrator

How one little image causes a War of the Selves

Today I have a new story up on a really terrific online journal called Smokelong Quarterly. What made me doubly excited about this acceptance is that SQ publishes images alongside every story and asked if I wanted to create some art to accompany my piece. Having realized that, aside from a comic or two, I haven’t illustrated my own fiction since grade school, I agreed to a drawing.

The story is a very short tale that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting. The image I decided to depict is from the first scene, which opens with the line “We find the calf under a pile of busted-up sinks.” What I found interesting in the process of envisioning and creating the drawing is that, while writing, I imagined the scene under a flat, gray sky. But for some reason my illustrator brain saw the whole thing scorched out under a hot, dry, light, so I decided on bright sun with lots of shadows and angles. At the very least, it would make for a more challenging image to create.

Unfortunately, Writer was very attached to her flat, gray sky and got a bit peeved that Illustrator decided to take such liberties—until Illustrator calmly pointed out that nothing in the text actually indicated that the scene happens under a flat, gray sky.

So Writer goes off to brood in her own mental corner. After a while of plotting revenge against herself, she realized that a junkyard scene in the desert felt very, very familiar. In fact, it’s a scene right out of the novel she’s vowed to start revising this month. Inadvertently (or, knowing her, advertently, that plagiarist!), Illustrator had plucked the sun-bleached scene directly from the book and merged it with the story.

Illustrator grins. Writer, it’s time to start that revision. . .

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One thought on “Writer vs. Illustrator

  1. Pingback: Sunday with Zin: Illustrations | A Just Recompense

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