I'm supposed to do a 7" cover for a band from Germany called Tristan Tzara, I think they're a good band, but there's some strange things about it. They broke up in 2002, and this is a repress of their 7". It will be pressed by a DIY label in Mexico. What really bothers me about it is the art they already had is really cool, and suiting for their dada theme. How am I supposed to top that??? I am excited about this project, though, because I like the dada aesthetic and it will be a fun and challenging project for me to try to make something in that style, while still making it my own. The bright side of this is that since they've been broken up for a while, they aren't exactly going to need the art for tour or something, so I don't feel rushed. I decided to do it for free, it's a small label, and I figure that with the exchange rate even a small amount would seem steep. It would have been bad when I was trying to make a living solely on Illustration, but I started picking up web design contracts, so I don't have an immediate need for money or anything. It's better this way too, because they can spend more money on making a better release.
This album will hopefully look something like this. It's a gatefold 12". I haven't gotten feedback from them yet, so this may change. I didn't do a lot of the conceptual work for this one, it's a, LP version of a CD, so they wanted the art to relate. I feel like I did a pretty good job with it.
Basically this band told me exactly what they wanted. That kind of thing is hit or miss, but I've decided to not do ideas that I think are dumb or can't imagine coming out well. This one looked good in my mind so I went with it. They also wanted a guy strapped to an anchor in the scene, and I city scape above. I thought the city scape would be way too much and it needed some open space, so I didn't do that. When I imagined it with the city scape it looked like the kind of indie comics outsider art style where they try to cram everything into one drawing, like here's a bunch of people with spots on their shirts and there's garbage cans and a banana peel on the ground and a cat and a dog and some ladies silhouette in the building window etc. I didn't want to go there. You can see in the scan that I actually did the guy on the anchor, but they asked me to take it out of the finish b/c it didn't look how they imagined. I had a hard time even imagining that in there, which is maybe why it didn't work out. It didn't make sense to me to have a guy on an anchor, with no water around or anything. If he was in the ocean... that would make sense to me. They wanted their name in roots. I've been seeing that a lot lately, roots or sticks, or something, but most of the time it's illegible. Luckily they didn't want that. Still I don't think it works graphically, it's very hard to read, especially from a distance. The original painting is brighter and has a pink sky, I de-saturated it in photoshop because I thought it was too chipper for them. Maybe it still is.
This as a demo for a band called Heiress. They said they like the stuff I do with dismembered people. I'm not doing a lot of that these days, but I had fun drawing these all the same. First I did the green one with the trees, but they wanted something else because it looks too much like the Blues cover I did, which is on the same label, I didn't even think of that. So then I did the castle. I think it's a strong design ( I imagine it folded in half, since it needs to cover a CD) but looking back on it, I don't think it makes any sense, which is kind-of what they thought, or what they said is that it didn't suit the band. I still really like the headless guy and I would have liked to have seen that drawing used for something. So then the guy in the band says he has an idea of crows in trees with hands hanging on strings and a guy in tall grass with no hands pounding the ground. So I went back to sketching, as seen in the sketchbook page. My sketchbook stinks, I think someone hid a slim jim in it when I was in New York. I've started doing my thumbnails and brainstorming in sequential/comic form. It helps me develop a story around the image. And painting them, there's more that I've been doing for the new Blues CD. So that takes us to the brown ones. The scratchy logo and the larger figure is the final. They really liked those letters from the original piece so they asked me to put those in, and they thought the stick hands were not clear enough because they looked too much like the grass, so I made him larger and I like it a lot better. I didn't want to just do no hands, and I really like that movie "Titus" so there you go.