Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Star Shard Week: Title Treatment

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

Welcome to Day Three of Star Shard Week!

Don't forget to check out The Star Shard author Frederic S. Durbin's companion posts over on his blog.

My first round of roughs for the title treatment.

Because "The Star Shard" was planned as a ten-part adventure, I was asked by my art director to come up with a title treatment that would accompany each chapter of the story. I'm no graphic designer, so this was a new challenge for me. I started by doing some rough sketches of the title in whimsical styles that I thought might evoke the magic of the story. Unfortunately, I don't remember after all these years how the "The Star Shard" font we ultimately settled on came about. I believe it was created by a designer at Cricket combining existing fonts.

As I worked, I recalled the title design of the Final Fantasy video games I grew up playing. I admired the intricate images Yoshitaka Amano created incorporating characters or other elements from each respective game. Amano's artwork, particularly his work for Final Fantasy IV and VI, (which were published as II and III in the United States) has been a huge inspiration to me for years.

Attempts to create a "window" in which Cymbril would appear.

We decided it was going to be tough to incorporate an illustration of Cymbril in the title with enough room remaining for the text, so I moved onto some alternate ideas. Since The Thunder Rake is a merchant ship, I suggested the idea of an elegant wooden sign like one that might hang outside an old-fashioned shop. This was the only time during the realization of "The Star Shard" that I can recall Fred and I having artistic differences. (Our comments were sometimes indirectly exchanged through e-mails forwarded by my art director during the early development of the artwork.) I believe Fred felt the title treatment should look more ethereal because of the Star Shard's connection to the Sidhe. I hope, in the end, that the portrayal of the opalescent Shard emerging from the ordinary wooden sign parallels some of the themes of the story and still works within Fred's vision.

I donned my old product designer's cap and conjured up various shapes reminiscent of some display cases I had designed for The Franklin Mint's collectibles.

The art director and editors chose design number 1. I painted the sign to look as though it was crafted from wood and adorned with a carved and polished wood border. Space was provided at the bottom for text that would label each chapter of "The Star Shard."

The finished painting of the title treatment.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to stop by for Day Four 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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