Illustration Notes for Episode Fifteen

This week’s Episode Image marks a subtle change in my thinking about these illustrations—and I would welcome any thoughts YOU may have about my intended ‘new approach’ going forward.

In the illustration notes for Episode One, I talked about my preference for ‘evocative ambiguity’ when creating narrative images. The desire to create images that provoked some question(s) for the viewer that the image itself doesn’t answer. This, I asserted, increases curiosity, audience participation and and longer, deeper engagement in the act of storytelling that such narrative images are usually about.

And yet, to this point, each time a new, significant character is introduced in the story, I have tended to create an illustration for that episode that includes some kind of portrait of that new character. It has been interesting to see the result of this, perhaps ‘bad’ new habit! I have heard from several subscribers who tell me that they love the illustrations, ‘But that’s not what that character looks like to me!”… Ha. Hahaha! …ha.

Yup. My bad.

And dang it, I should have known better! Didn’t I specifically call this issue out practically out the gate in these illustration notes? Of course, not listening to myself—especially when I’m right—is a time honored tradition here in Ferrari land. Just to add one more layer of comedy to this matter, I suppose I might as well admit that the characters I’ve drawn so far don;t even look much like they look in MY head. They look…like the kind and generous people I was able to find here on the island who have agreed to be models for this project.

So, here’s what I’ve decided to do henceforth—unless you all deluge me with objections. Going forward, I will look for interesting environmental subjects with which to evoke something relevant about the scene, and concentrate on those. And when the scene really needs an image that involves visible characters, I will try to include them in ways that show us only their backs, or their silhouetted faces or forms—as I did for Episodes One and Two, before I forgot my own philosophies altogether—so that you can go on deciding for yourself what they look like—without me getting in your way! :]

This week, the another very significant new Character on the ‘other’ side is introduced. I had once thought about doing a character portrait image of her for this episode. But in keeping with my new resolve, I have chosen instead to depict a doorway that appears in this week’s episode at a very important moment. And I think it’s a great choice!

To begin with, this is the moment in our tale when Matt effectively and literally enters ‘the other-world’—hence ‘door!’ But, in addition to that, this week’s episode is entitled “Them”—because both we and Matt are going to start meeting ‘them’ now in a much more focused way. And there is likely no better visual icon to represent ‘them’ than the tree carved on this doorway. The “one tree” is for ‘them’ what the flag is to a country; what the cross, or crescent moon or star of David is to three world religions, what the rainbow has become to the LGBT community. The one tree is at the heart of ‘their’ identity. Once one knows to look for it, one starts seeing it everywhere ‘they’ are—as Matt will soon discover.

So, I hope you will enjoy this doorway as an invitation to enter the mysterious unknown with Matt and I, as we plunge ever deeper into the rabbit hole that is TWICE. :]

As always, find an uncropped version of this week’s illustration below—without it’s obscuring ‘text’ overlay.

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Mark Ferrari