I love short stories. Even though people sometimes say it’s a dying art, I really like reading and writing them. Sometimes a very short work can be extremely poignant. Here’s an example by one of my favorite authors: Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I have a few free here, too.
So, I especially appreciate anybody who goes to the extra expense to do illustrations for each story in an anthology. The two at the top are the illustrations for my stories in the CQ anthologies. The artist, Ricky Gunawan, does amazing work. So, when I began editing the Borderlands Anthology for the Actuator series, I knew I wanted art for each story, but I wanted something unique to better match the feel of the story. We brainstormed several ideas. What we came up with was something I’ve really liked. In fact, we are using the same process for the upcoming anthology (which is what made me think of writing this post).
We started by having each author select a stock photo they felt represented their story. This picture was chosen for a ghost story set in Japan.
Then I took the color out of it (because they are printed in black & white) and applied a rendering process. I think it gives it a kind of computerized-painted look which goes well with the multi-genre nature of the Actuator series.
Finally, I put the title and authors name onto the picture. It gave them a kind of “old movie poster” feel that seemed to represent the various genre clichés the stories are set in.
The final product feels both artistically consistent with the series and true to the feel of each story in the collections. I liked it so well, I used the same method on all the art in the Actuator RPG. (The full version is coming soon from FINAL REDOUBT PRESS!)
What do you think?