Thursday, March 8, 2012

Star Shard Week: The Harpy


There may be minor spoilers for some parts of the story during Star Shard Week.

Welcome to Day Four of Star Shard Week!
Don't forget to check out The Star Shard author Frederic S. Durbin's companion posts over on his blog.

Harpies are fearsome winged creatures that hail from Greek mythology. They're frequently described as a gruesome cross between a woman and a bird. In Part 6 of "The Star Shard," Fred described the harpy as a creature with a body "as broad as a horse’s, its sharp talons as large as an Armfolk’s hand." I imagined when she swooped down upon her prey the span of her wings would blot out the light of a full moon.

Concept sketches for the harpy.

Some more traditional bird-like renditions of the harpy.

In sketches, I toyed with the idea that her hair would be a collection of greasy feathers sprouting from her head. Eventually I decided long, ratty grey hair would show more movement and contrast in the illustrations.

The thumbnail sketch for the illustration.

The harpy swoops to attack Cymbril!

I don't often have elements breaking the borders of an illustration, but it was a suggestion for this image that I thought worked. Alternately, a composition that crops the wing would create a claustrophobic feeling appropriate for the scene.

Loric is captured!

My favorite part of both harpy illustrations is the painting of her face.
The harpy illustrations were among my favorite to work on during the ten-part run of "The Star Shard."

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to stop by for Day Five of Star Shard Week!

The Star Shard, by Frederic S. Durbin, is a fantasy adventure story about Cymbril, a girl on a journey of self-discovery.

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