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Last year I meet members of a local band called Ghetto $lang at one of their shows in Dallas. I hadn’t been to a live show for a local band in such a long time and I really enjoyed it! I actually know the keyboard player and he knew that I did graphic design work. So he asked if I was interested in doing their album cover artwork for their debut album out early 2013. I jumped on the chance and I’d like to share where I am so far.
I meet with Nick Muñoz (lead singer and guitar player) and Agustin Vega (keyboard player and Vader apprentice) about the album back in December the day we got a ton a snow in Dallas. Everything was closed because of the holiday so we meet up at a busy iHOP to wax poetic about the feelings and themes of the album.
Before we meet, Nick had shared with me an idea of a tiger with an indian head dress and tentacles. Crazy huh? Well, he was going for something phsycidellic and dangerous but it needed some more concepting. So then my concepts revolved around this main image.
I did two sketches with two different styles. One was more cartoonish and child like. The other more illustrative, filled with lines and details to give it a more realistic look.
After some coffee and pancakes we talked about alot of familiar emotional themes in the album but something interesting came out of our conversations. We talked about the juxtaposition of safe and dangerous elements. As silly human beings we tend to be attracted to danger wether we intend to or not. We tend to get into trouble. It’s almost unavoidable. However the experience is usually bitter sweet. At least you hope so.
Over the next couple of weeks I did several sketches that expanded around the idea of ferocity next to safe, non threatening items wrapped in a colorful, semi-chaotic atmosphere of oblivious adolescence items floating near Nicks’ tiger.
Once we decided on a layout and tiger I combined the sketches and notes to draw the actual artwork. They are hoping to have the album on vinyl so I chose to go with a square dimension and started to draw on 11 x 17 paper. it’s not square but I plan to crop in on the illustration. First with blue pencil to get the general shapes down. I then came in with a regular pencil to draw all the details.
Once the pencils were done I moved onto inks. I thought about doing it all on the computer but I really like the look and feel of going with ink pens.
Once all the inks were done now I can scan it all in and get it cleaned up. The paper was giving me a hard time with the blue pencils that would not erase for some reason. So I had to spend alot of time cleaning things up in Photoshop.
The colors was challenging. We talked about using alot of red but using a white tiger. I was worried that the album would end up being white and red. So I tried to use alot of bright looking colors and then saturate the entire image with different colors to tint everything. This gave it odd color combinations and would change the colors as I experimented with different tinting methods.
Ultimately the tints and saturations gave me this electric, glowing look that I really liked. I’m still working on it but it’s really close to being done. I hope Ghetto $lang likes where this is going.
What do you think?
I’ve been a designer for 15 years. I love creating & sharing. So, I’m hoping this site is a place to help me do both. I do freelance work as well. If you’re interested in what I can do, please take a look at my portfolio.
I started out years ago in print and have now designed in several mediums; including interactive experiences, as well as video and motion graphics.