Behind the scenes of Flow 38

Hurray, our new issue is available! We would love to take you behind the scenes of some of the great things we featured in issue 38

Creating the cover

The artwork on the cover of this issue is by illustrator and designer Sarah Carolan, who lives in Chicago, US: “Sometimes I have a plan or idea of what I’d like to illustrate, but for the most part it’s a meandering process. I will use photos of friends or myself as portrait references, in addition to open source resources that I find online. I’m most attracted to portraiture that is heavily contrasting, because I feel like there’s more opportunity to emphasize emotions.

When I begin a portrait, I like to ‘map’ out these contrasting areas first, and then go back to experiment with color combinations or adjust the composition. I love exploring with colors, especially eliciting moods through color palettes. For me, using values instead of the expected color creates a more dynamic portrait.

Lately, my work has been focused on these demanding times: it’s about living in quarantine, missing friends and physically touching others, and insidious systems of oppression. My hope is that these illustrations are relatable, if not comforting, to others.”

Embracing empathy

Illustrator Claire van Heukelom created an artwork for the story called Embracing Empathy on page 120. “I live in a little hamlet with a population of nine, tucked away in the mountains in the South of France,” Claire says. “When I look out of my window, I see a forest with hundred-year-old chestnut trees and the Alps in the background.

My life adapts to the seasons; I watch nature change, displaying new colors; my food comes from my own garden or what’s available locally. I often walk my dogs in the forest, or climb the mountain with a backpack carrying a thermos of tea and a book. The colors of the wildflowers in my backyard and surroundings, and the ever-changing colors of the sky, are reflected in my illustrations.”

1,100 house plants

Journalist Liddie Austin wrote a feature about failing on page 114, as well as the New Thinkers interview on page 48: “Summer Rayne Oakes (yes, that really is her name, given to her at birth) has more than 1,100 house plants in her New York apartment.

That would be a bit much for me, but she did convince me that plants have a role to play in a big-city dweller’s busy life. I am not blessed with green thumbs, but since our conversation, I find myself watching Oakes’ 365 Days of Plants YouTube videos from time to time, when I am on another dreamy quest to find the ideal plant for me and the situation in my house: with a kitten that chews on anything that is green.”

Illustration Sarah Carolan