Dec 27, 2010

Just Passing Thru logo and a great client

Most of the people that approach me for artwork are nice people and real easy to work with. Some are SUPER-nice people and VERY easy to work with. Working with John Fitterer of Crowned By Fire on the logo for his body piercing shop Just Passing Thru was on the very easy side of things. When he approached me with the job I was already loaded with a benefit poster and an upcoming out of town wedding trip but he was patient and very eager to work with me. When I got started on it he provided me with some images he found online with what he was thinking of and a very lengthy detailed explantion which was great, no time was lost second guessing his ideas. After I started showing him proofs he would write back with alot of postive comments which made me want to make it extra special, no dialing it in here. Here's some of his comments:

"Damn dude, -It's bitchen! I bet you color a mean easter egg, Heh! The colors are perfect and I'm totally stoked!"

"Whatever you did man, looks great! I'm leaning towards the last 2 designs you sent without the grey circ... Those are gonna print great!"

"Hell yeah brother, -lookin' awesome!... "

Check out his band Crowned By Fire and his shop Just Passing Thru, he's good people!

(((Click on every image to enlarge)))

Here's a couple of images he sent me followed by some references of skulls I used. His idea was for a Native American Warrior Chief/Shaman. Lots of bright colors, feathers, a couple peace pipes with smoke and bones of all kinds where on his mind to start.

Here's some sketches. The top left one was my first sketch sent to him to make sure we were on the same page. He gave me some further instructions and clraified a few things before I sent the remaining 3 to him.

He dug the sketches so I made a final drawing, at this point I was very happy with the final ink drawing and very positive about the outcome of the final.

Here are the 2 black and white versions he requested, for a white background and for a black background.

...and here is a detail of the skull, just cause.

Dec 6, 2010

Nuclear Assault Poster

Here's a rare landscape poster, might try more of this in the future. I drew the final version in my sketchbook while waiting to be picked for Jury Duty, I was picked.

(((Click on every image to enlarge)))

Some close ups of the artwork to see the halftone lines used for the values on the face:

The Sketches I had in mind beforehand. They were more of a centered compostion, this didn't work out with the length of band names:

Here's the final drawing scan. I edited it alot, taking out the ears and whatnot, I feel its better to go into Photoshop with more rather than less to work with:

To create the Halftone Values on the face I used a fat and a skinny Halftone Line layer for both the dark and light values...

...and masked them out in their own groups.

There you have it! Here's some pictures of the printed product:

Dec 2, 2010

Stone Axe/All Time High Poster + the typeface creation

Here's another poster idea I had for awhile waiting for a show it'd go with. Unfortunately the show it was originally intended for had any and everything go wrong during the booking and never got off the ground. Since I worked with both Stone Axe and All Time High I figured it'd be a sweet way of saving the poster by giving it to them. I'm usually more into an illustration after I finish it if I do something I've never done before and exceeded my expectations of what I can do. I still look at this one with pride especially the typeface of the bands, so I'll talk about that.

(((Click on every image to enlarge)))

Below is the final band typefaces, all pretty and done up right.

1: Setting the Type:

Here I created a curved Path and used the Type Tool to set the centered type on the Path.

2: Separating into Letters:

Next up I selected each letter with the magic wand and created a Color Fill Layer for each. Time spent on this can be reduced by creating an Action that handles the process after the Letter is selected. After the Color Fill Layers were created I added and subtracted a bit of each letter to keep them interesting.

Here's the Layers:

3: Overlapping the Letters and Creating Inside and Outside Borders:

Next I moved the Letter Layers around to overlap each other, this took a few minutes until I got the right balance but was worth it. I used the 'Inner Glow' and 'Stroke' Effects under 'Blending Options' to create a dark outter and light inner border. I did one then used the 'Copy Layer Style' and 'Paste Layer Style' option for the rest by right clicking the layers.

An example of the Layers with the Style:

An example of each Effect Setting:

4: Inner Border Fade Out:

Below is a pic of the Inner Border Fade added:

First up I made a copy of all of the Letters and Merged them all together to form a new single Layer.

I then used the magic wand to select each of the inner border parts:

I created a new dark green Color Fill Layer using that selection as a Mask for the shape of it.

Below you'll see the dark green Color Fill Layer as "Color Fill 8" and the group its in "inside bottom stroke fade copy". I created a mask for that group and used a Brush with the hardness set to Zero to fade in the dark green of the Inner Border.

5: Inside Darker Top Fill Fade Out:

Below you'll see a pic of the type with a halftone and dark green fade in on the top:

To Start I selected the Inner Color area on the merged down Letters layer I created previously and then created a dark green Color Fill Layer from the selection.

I moved the mask to a new Group I created, titled below as "Inside Area copy":

Next up I got a halftone that would work well and created a Color Fill Layer from it:

I then created a new Group inside the former Group and called it 'Darks copy' before putting the halftone with the new group ontop of the dark green Color Fill Layer....

...which created this effect:

To create the Fade In effect of the halftone and dark gree color I did something similar to end of Step 4 and used a brush with a hardness of Zero to fade out the Darker Layers:

6: Inside Lighter Bottom Fill Fade Out:

Here's the final step and finished product:

...and if I need to explain how this was created then I've done a bad job of explaining the other parts.

Hope this sheds some light on the created look/effect, as with everything in Photoshop theres a thousand ways to achieve the same goal. I created this a few months ago and already know a couple ways to cut out some of these steps, but hey, keeping it real.

Some work in progress pics:

AND! Just because this blogpost is long enough as is, here's some close ups:

Nov 28, 2010

Dali's Lama 'Howl Do You Do' CD packaging: A collaborative process

It's been awhile since I've written about any specific projects & the process, I've been pretty busy on some rush projects and felt it's better to create than ruminate. I realize my most popular blog posts are about the actual artistic process and the posts on the creative or printing process are generally less popular. That being said I think the processes leading up to working on the finished product are just as important as the techniques you use when executing it. A project that was executed with a high level of creativity and skill can still fall flat if the idea isn't creative or meet the needs of the client/use. This blog will show the collaboration between myself and Dali's Llama for their 'Howl Do You Do?' CD digipak and hopefully shed some light it's evolution.

Dali's Llama ( hails from Palm Desert area of CA and have released 9 albums so far. The bands known for it's tuned-down desert rock “stoner” sound but wanted to return to it's garage rock roots on this album and change up the artwork style for it. In the past the art's been done by the bass player, Erica, with some direction from the main songwriter/singer Zach. This time around I pitched a few ideas, the band took one and added some elements to it with the help of Erica's Photoshop skills and I created the finished project of the collaboration. I'll admit before the project began I wasn't as familar with the bands music as now (just hearing it on their websites) and as the project progressed I realized the band was onto something with their new sound and I'm proud to help bring it to people. Seeing and hearing some behind the scene of their creative process (sketches & notes from the band and live recordings of the new songs) I came to understand Zach as the driving force of the bands aesthetic and a truly unique artist.

Heres some notes I got from the band to start with:

This album is going to be a lot bluesier and mucho influenced by 60s garage rock. Less stoner more garage, less dark more fun. We want your artwork to be your impression of the music, etc. "heavy garage rock/punk blues imagery".

(((Click On All Images to enlarge)))


Here's the sketch I presented that they liked the most:

After they picked the sketch they gave me some notes to expand on the images, below is an excerpt:

"Maybe the vines could have thorns on them. We like the way Dali's Llama is written on the sides. For a font of Dali's Llama, because this album is so garagey, I would like the font for Dali's Llama to be kind of spooky, something similar to The Cramps or your Akris/Kaemon poster. I also think it would be a nice touch to have a couple of scantly clad temptresses (Halloween sexy), small, maybe one on each side of the fire. There is definitely a raw blues element to this album and I'm not sure how to get that across. I do not want it swampy looking as in "swamp blues" imagery because we are a desert band. Maybe a Day of the Dead skeleton playing slide guitar, acoustic. Maybe with a Stevie Ray Vaughn type of hat. These are just suggestions. The imagery that I get from these songs is a combination of The Fuzztones images and Black Eyed Snakes. We love the sketch and concept that you have. Thinking about the colors - I like the way you color flames, I like your purple background, black amps, of course green vines like on the back of your Skillit brochure."

Erica sent me a rough she added some elements to from photos found on the web:

I cleaned it up a little and added some elements before creating a sketch:

After the sketch got the OK I drew out the final in ink, scanned it and began laying down colors:


Here is the final CD image:

I presented it and some other ideas based on elements from the cover, before starting the project we agreed on using parts of the cover for the rest of the layout. I figured the flower was a central part of the cover and round in shape so would make a good CD image. Here are a couple other CD image ideas:

Traycard Back:

For the Traycard back Zach sent me a sketch with some notes of how he envisioned it, again using some elements from the cover like the thorns and using the same image of the woman as on the front. He had a vision of making the packaging reflect the lyrical content of the album especially of the song titles which you can see in the "Plaid Rainbow" in the background. Creating the Plaid Rainbow was probably the most challenging part of the project with nothing in real life to base it on or reference, after that it was all easy greasy.

Next i took his sketch and fit it on the traycard template with the song titles and barcoded to make sure it will all work out.

I then drew out what the final will look like to use in another computer composite.

I combined the new sketch and song titles/bar code with the woman from the front to get a more fleshed out composite before starting the final.

I started to combined the final line drawings with the previous elements one at a time until I moved from original sketch to a more final version. The whole transition was pretty seamless. I worked like this to make sure everything fit in the end and be able to replace or modify an element if it wasn't working. In this case the Plaid Rainbow changed from the original sketch and would later change again until i got a decent final version.

Inside Spread:

The inside spread ended up working out alot like the Back Traycard. We went into it wanting to use elements from the cover combined with some new art that reflected the themes of the record. In this case I started off with suggesting a left side panel with liner notes.

They gave me some notes on what include on the left side, I drew out a couple versions and this is the one they chose.

At this point the band decided to go with a digipak case and we decided to combine the left and right panels of the inside art into one peice. The following sketch shows the combination of the 2 in a more fleshed out sense.

Like the Back Traycard art I began to combine the elements already created with the sketch and newly drawn pieces like the thorns on this version.

Slowly more parts were drawn, scanned and added to the composition to get closer to the finished product...

So there you have it! An account of collaboarting with Dali's Llama on the packaging and look of their latest album. Again I'd like to say Im super pleased with the results and the chance to work with a band that has such a unqiue vision and voice as Zach and Dali's Lama.

Here's a couple of pics of the printed Digipak: