Peter and the Starcatcher Poster

Some of you may be familiar with the Peter and the Starcatchers series of books by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. Well, the story has been turned into a play that recently closed it’s run on Broadway and is now being staged in other parts of the country. I had the luxury of picking a play to illustrate from several of the plays on the Pioneer Theater Company schedule for next season and this was among those on the list. I guess being old (or at least having a long track record working with the theater) has it’s perks. It was a tough choice between  this and The Crucible but Peter ultimately won out.

For this one, I went through an unusually high number of comps before we settled on the winning design. At times this can be frustrating, because personally, I felt that they were all visually compelling and any one of the designs could work. But, I have learned over the years that the client is the one that has to be happy and I am hired to make that happen. Here’s a run down of the idea sketches:

Peter and the Starcatcher Poster

The theater wanted to play on the pirate idea, so the first two were pretty straight forward pirate cliche scenes with a nod to N.C. Wyeth.

Peter and the Starcatcher Poster

 Idea three hinged on the “magic flying dust” that is being transported via old fashioned steamer trunk. I thought it would be fun to focus on that aspect of the story since everyone in the play wants to get their hands on it. That idea was liked except the creative director wanted more of a focus on the pirate ship.

Peter and the Starcatcher Poster

 So the next idea I had was to do a split screen of sorts with the top of the ship above the water and the hull being shown below the water. The twist was to show the hull as a pirate skull. Great idea right? I love this one and will probably finish a version like this for fun, but the theater thought is was a little much. “Just a regular hull” was the directive, so back to the drawing board.

Peter and the Starcatcher Poster
After decapitating the skull from the ship, it was obvious that there was something lacking in that big empty space. It needed a little magic, so I decided to let the sky full of stars filter down underneath the water. I intended to leave the area open for the title treatment, when I thought to myself, “why not do your own hand lettering?” Having done a few projects over the years with my own lettering, I decided to give it a shot. 
Peter and the Starcatcher Poster
I came up with a nice “piratey” style that feels like it could have washed right up on treasure map. The theater loved it and agreed to bump up my fee to cover the hand done type. Moral of the story, if you happen to get an idea or two shot down, keep after it and find a way to make it your own. If I had not decided to tackle the lettering myself, I doubt I would be feeling so good about the final result. Who knows, maybe I will get more chances to do hand lettering after this.

See full post here: LIFE NEEDS ART2014-06-09.