Who am I, and what is TWICE?

My name is Mark Ferrari. I’ve been a commercial illustrator and a fantasy writer for several decades. If you’d like to know more about that, my personal website is www.markferrari.com. It’s been my great privilege to supply countless images over many years to all sorts of people and companies in pursuit of their creative visions, but as the old adage goes, “the cobbler’s children have no shoes.” Which is to say that decades of such work have left me little if any time for attention to my own creative visions—never few or skimpy, yet largely mute for quite a while now. After many years of meaning to get to those—any year now—the time has come at last to pour myself entirely into something uniquely, passionately, and directly reflective of what blooms and shivers behind my own eyes.

And here it is.

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TWICE—already many years in process—is not just words—or just pictures. It’s not a novel—‘graphic’ or otherwise—or even just one long story. What you and I are embarking on here—and, make no mistake, we are both embarking here—is nothing less than a living, evolving, rather mysterious experiment in storytelling itself—which has always been my greatest passion. (Well, after my wife, of course. :] Hi, dear!)

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That doesn’t mean I’ll just be shooting from the hip, though. I began working on TWICE in 2004, and have been writing, sketching, and imagining it into clearer focus in spare moments ever since. I bring all those years of work to what you will find here. But even after all that refining, I am far from wedded to any one specific path forward. As with any other living, evolving thing, the only constant one dares count on is change; and I expect this journey to take all kinds of interesting turns going not just forward—but backward! Perhaps you’ve already read the Prologue and Scene One on this site’s one-time ‘Sneak Peek’ page? But how long ago did you read them? The words you remember there may already have changed, subtly, since then—and may keep changing as we go. Here in the cyber age, ‘books’ aren’t necessarily as ‘static’ as they used to be. The pictures on this site will have changed some too during the past month—and will likely go on changing—or being replaced altogether—not just in what I add to the story going forward, but in what I have already ‘published.’ There’ll be no such thing as ‘set in stone’ here. This tale and its illustrations will be done changing, morphing, and evolving—as you watch—only when this whole tale is entirely done. Whenever that turns out to be.  

…Not anytime soon, I predict.

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There is a strange truth about storytelling which both I and my wife—writer Shannon Page—have repeatedly experienced: when a really good story really takes off, it begins telling its ‘author’ where to go. Characters you think you created begin to dodge your authorial strings and insist on going places you never imagined, or refuse to do things your outline insists upon. When a story you’re making up tells you to ‘sit down, shut up and listen!’—things are going really, really well. So, yes, I have a very clear and detailed idea of where I think this whole story will ‘end up’—and how it will get there—and it’s a long, delightfully wild ride. But if this ‘city’ and its strange inhabitants suddenly drag me to some doorway where my map says there’s only a wall, and insist I walk through…don’t doubt that I will. For all my planning, it won’t surprise me to find myself every bit as surprised as you are at where all this takes us.

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And all that goes double for the ‘art’ accompanying these episodes. In my normal working life, I am usually required to take whatever path of least resistance will get my clients the fastest, cheapest, legal image I can produce (often nowhere near as fast or cheap as they’d hoped). To put it delicately, this ‘dynamic’…um…does not always make for the best art imaginable. I’ve rarely enjoyed the pleasure of much time or space in which to go looking for some new or better approach to my ‘personal artistic style.’ But that’s yet another thing I look forward to doing here in TWICE. To be perhaps unwisely candid, I come to this project now in something of a logistical panic—as usual—armed with the tools, skills and art style that years of commercial aesthetic expedience have shaped for me. The earliest illustrations in this experiment are going to look…well, a lot like the rest of my recent work. :] But I’m kind of hoping that the illustrations attached to these episodes a year from now will look noticeably different, stylistically, than this year’s did. If they do, beware… Earlier images may begin to shift and change as well. I cannot guarantee that anything will stay where you left it here…

So hold on to your hats and bags, because this experiment is made entirely of moving parts.

Thanks again for coming along!

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Mark Ferrari