Monday, October 29, 2007

The Algorithm

Today I read (again) Tim Akers' story "The Algorithm" in Interzone issue 213 (I think it was 213... maybe 212). I like the story, but I have to be honest, I didn't like the artwork. It was passable art (although really it looked a bit rushed, I thought). What I really didn't like, though, was that it seemed to give away too much of the story.

I suppose it could be argued that people won't know what the picture depicts until they get to that point in the story (I had read the story before I saw the artwork, so my opinion is suspect). But anyway, I thought it would be interesting to see if I could quickly work up my image of a illustration for the story.

This is the result. I actually wanted to have the girl kissing or licking the cog, somehow making a more physical connection to it, but I couldn't get those images to work out. I also wanted her expression to be more... enigmatic... or threatening... or something. So, I'm not entirely happy with this image, but it's kinda OK, the day is over, and I've spent about four hours on this.


Tim Akers said...


I'm not sure how I feel about art that reveals story. I'm never completely happy with art that applies to my work, only because I have an idea in my head, and someone else's idea is just never quite the same. I'm okay with that, it's one of the things I like about fiction, that the words I use perfectly describe what's in my head, and they perfectly describe what's in your head, and they're different things. But I worry that given a reader an image will burn that image into their head, and then the words might not quite match.

I don't know. I was happy with the magazine art, but I can see what you mean.

colin said...

The art on "The Algorithm" was probably not quite too revealing. My reaction was more, "Why did they give that away," because I knew what it represented. For a fresh reader the impression would be different.

There's a second (third?) level of distortion here, because when doing art I can never seem to get what's in my head perfectly out on the page. Even given that this is more of a concept sketch than an finished piece, several things about it are different from what I see in my mind's eye. I mentioned the girl's expression (Maybe the eyes would be better closed? Hmm.), but the cog and background cogwork have begun to bother me as well. The image I get from the story is much more intricate and... chunky, solid. Less flat-on cogs and more interlocking in all three dimensions, maybe.

Assuming "The Algorithm" will eventually go up on Dead Channel, I might be able to get a reasonably good finished piece done for that.

Tim Akers said...

That would be spectacular. I'll be posting it once 213 is on the shelves, which is pretty soon come to think of it.

Closed eyes, or eyes partially closed, fit well in my head. I can't remember if I used this desc in the story, but I think of the church as a geode of mechanisms, accreting slowly toward the center.

Anyway. You know my opinion of your work. You should hit Andy Cox up, to see if he'd want to see some samples.