Interdisciplinary Collaboration Results in Illustrated Literary Magazine

Dylan Henderson, Anna Stroud, and the cover of the Fall 2020 issue of Hypnos magazine. Below: Stroud's illustrations for the short stories "Hot Doctrine" and "Troubled Waters."
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Dylan Henderson, Anna Stroud, and the cover of the Fall 2020 issue of Hypnos magazine. Below: Stroud's illustrations for the short stories "Hot Doctrine" and "Troubled Waters."

A recent collaboration between a Department of English graduate student and a School of Art undergraduate student has led to the publication of a visually stunning issue of a literary magazine.

Hypnos magazine, launched by English M.A. student Dylan Henderson in 2012, is now published biannually and specializes in horror — specifically Lovecraftian horror — though it also includes works of fantasy and science fiction.

The magazine has become popular with a large number of readers and aspiring authors, with Henderson now receiving 10-30 story submissions a day.

Henderson doesn't make a profit off of the publication of the magazine since the price of each issue equals the cost to publish and ship it, but Henderson isn't in it for the money. "I like having a project of my own, and I like the idea of contributing to the genre I love so much," he said.

This year, deciding a special issue was due, Henderson began scouting around for an illustrator. After receiving a recommendation from the university's School of Art, he reached out to Art B.A. student Anna Stroud.

Recalled Stroud, "My initial reaction to being asked to work on this project was excitement. I've done commission work before, but never something this professional or of this scale."

Henderson and Stroud described their interdisciplinary collaboration as being based upon mutual respect and flexibility.

Line illustration of church with sign that says "Hope Springs Guest House""After reading each story," said Henderson, "she would make 4 or 5 sketches. I would choose the one I thought worked best, which she would then re-draw."

Ultimately, 21 of Stroud's black-and-white illustrations were included in the finished issue, and she contributed the full-color cover.

"Dylan had suggested at the very beginning of the project that a carousel horse from the story 'Cicadae' would make an excellent cover," explained Stroud. "So, with that in mind, I made several sketches of different carousel horses and eventually we settled on the current cover design. It was a subtle type of spooky, which we felt was a good representation of most of the stories in the magazine. We chose the red and green color palette because we liked the eeriness of the green and needed a contrasting color to make the cover catch people's eyes."

Line drawing of a boat with someone clinging to the sideThe interdisciplinary partnership was enjoyable and productive. It also broadened each one's understanding of how such collaboration may have unexpected results.

"I feel as if it's almost easier to generate ideas when the pair come from different creative backgrounds," observed Stroud, "because each person has a unique perspective — often one having strength in areas where the other falls short."

Henderson likewise acknowledged the particular benefits of working with someone outside of his field on a creative endeavor.

"Too often, I think, we stay in our own lanes: artists draw, writers write, photographers photograph. Watching Anna work, I realized how narrow my own experience really is. Anna reads a story and sees pictures in her mind; I read a story and hear words in my head. Watching her work, I 'saw' the stories in a new way, and I couldn't help but wonder, 'How would a videographer interpret this story? After reading it, what sort of music would a musician play?'"

Read the Fall 2020 issue of Hypnos.


Leigh Sparks, assistant director of the graduate program in English
Department of English


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