It is 3 months now since I received the first story submissions for the images I made during the first difficult days of lockdown. When I started drawing mythical creatures in isolation all those weeks ago I never dreamed they would become the catalyst for so many writers to bring new stories into the world.
It’s pretty hard to articulate just how impressed I am by all of them so far. Stories of magic, of compassion, change, transformation and hope. Many in the tradition of the folktales I have loved for so much of my life but speaking to who and where we are now as well. I hope one day to hear them being told around a bonfire on a warm summer evening… The experience of having writers create for illustration rather than the other way around has been a fascinating reflection for me of the way in which I read and absorb text to try to discover the right imagery to complement it.
And I would love to see them all published together in a book, I will make it happen somehow and I am currently seeking a publisher so if anyone out there can help please get in touch.
In the meantime I have started to publish them to my Patreon account because I really feel they should be seen by those who support me most directly first. But I do want more people to read and enjoy them and for the writers to get recognition for their new tales of mythical creatures that are so reflective of our times. So I will be starting to publish selected stories here as well. With links and information about the writers.
Although most of the tales do not directly reference the pandemic, like the images they have all been created in its shadow. For most of us who create the way in which our world experience feeds into what we make is a given. And this shared trauma with all of its aspects of uncertainty, fear and isolation but also hope for the future has forged connections and collaborations that we could never have anticipated a few months ago. I am hoping the writers will be happy to share their experiences of creating at this time too and their reasons for feeling inspired to write by these images.
My deepest gratitude to the people who have written for this, and are writing still for this. And to the hope that one day we will see these images and stories in print and be able to meet up in the real world and raise a glass or two to our collaboration in the virtual one…