Yes, I know. It’s been quite a while (a month or two now?) since I changed this blog’s header, and I hadn’t posted about it. I assure you all, I had a perfectly good reason, which was not exactly laziness. I needed to make a couple of tweaks to the design before the official announcement. So even if you have seen the new banner, look again, it’s slightly different!
The artist behind the design is Marion B, aka galaxyspeaking or mevelan. I found her on tumblr because of her Howl’s Moving Castle fanart (yes!) and adored her style and the way she colored her artwork (there’s a watercolor-y dreamy pastel-y thing going on that I dig), so when she was taking commissions I asked her about a header. Marion is the nicest person to work with and she was very open and responsive to my suggestions. The only bump in this process was after Marion got a very demanding full-time job over the summer, which took up all her time (I can relate to this completely)! It slowed things down but she always told me what was going on. Anyway, here’s a peek at the evolution of the banner (greatly summarized):
1) Marion’s first sketch. I wanted something to show the theme of the blog (speculative fiction and romance) but I didn’t have any concrete ideas about a header. She took my vague list of likes (floating islands, Jane Austen, Howl’s Moving Castle, women in space suits) and my request for the blog title to be in there, and what size it had to be, and came up with this. Hello Howl & Sophie, a Jane Austen couple, and space jumper back there!
2) I was worried this didn’t look enough like these characters were from books, so we traded ideas and Marion added some books and pages floating around these figures and added some shading to boot.
3) At this point Marion gave me a couple of options on coloring and lines either something with no/few lines and pastel coloring, or darker lines with watercolors. I asked for something in between, which was watercolors but with fewer lines. She did an intermediary test banner:
4) Then she sent me 4 different colorways:
Of course it took me FOREVER to choose the coloring I liked best. I finally settled on the second one from the top. I felt like this was the right balance in the end – not too pink or yellow or green, just right.
5) Almost done. I ask Marion to put a space in the “specficromantic” title. That’s the banner people saw on the blog. She did this for all four colorways because she is awesome, but I’m just showing you the result for the colorway I liked best.
6) The FINAL (phew) banner has a hyphen, and also slightly different colors because in the spaced one above, they got inadvertently muted (it’s a very subtle difference).
And that’s it. I’m pleased with the finished product. It makes me sigh in appreciation of… the sheer girliness of the romantic warm colors and couples strolling about. In real life I’m not a very pink girl, but the older I get the more OK I am about embracing things that just make me happy, and this does.