Shane Koyczan and the Short Story Long Cover Story
Shane Koyczan and The Short Story Long are on their Canada wide tour to support their new album Remembrance Year, so I thought it a good time to blog about the process of creating the album cover I did for them last year.
At the risk of being wordy I decided to blog more about the thought process that went into the imagery, rather then the technical ins and outs (something I’d love to hear from more illustrators).
This is the sketch I sent Shane back at the beginning of 2011. When we talked we spoke about some of the themes of the album being memory, time, love and loss (y’know, poetry stuffs).
Initially the title of the album was going to be ‘Remember How We Forgot” and Shane talked about wanting the imagery of the internal workings of a pocket watch to act as a metaphor for memory.
Now, I’m just going to be honest. The appeal of drawing a lot of interlocking metal gears was daunting to say the least, so I was relieved when the title changed to ‘Remembrance Year.’ I immediately wanted to tie the mechanical workings of the watch to the organic cycle of poppies.
The initial colour sketch established sepia tones contrasting the red of the poppies.
I wanted the colour to make the piece feel far away, like a memory that could be forgotten at any moment. Like the last thing you see before you wake up.
The pocket watch became, in my mind, a valuable object rendered worthless by a moment of carelessness. A man-made device for marking the passage of time surrounded by the natural world’s cycles of growth and death.
Refined graphite sketch with vector pocket watches. I liked the idea of the life cycle of the poppy, from seed to bloom, replacing the numbers on the face of the watch. These graphics were repeated on the CD label.
The child was intended to tie the cover to the many stories of childhood and the difficulties of growing up that crop again and again on the album. Though looking at it now I could see the cover working just as well without him.
Final artwork with textures. See it full size here.
SLP @ ECCC
I’ll be at the Emerald City Comic Con March 30th-April 1st with my friend Laura Bifano.
I’ll have prints and postcards on sale. Find us in Artist’s Alley at table K-13.
Time to start playing catchup after nearly 6 months of downtime. And by downtime I mean working full-time as a storyboard artist and production designer. I wanted to share this great drawing by Morgan Jeske who I work with at Zeros2Heroes. I brought in this halloween mask made out of a cardoard box I had lying around and he transformed it into a homicidal maniac. He’s really good a transforming things into homicdal maniacs.
See further proof here:
Poetry in the Raw
I just finished up a poster for Not You Grandma’s Poetry for their upcoming Poetry in the Raw 5: The Best of Poetry in the Raw.
Poetry in the Raw is an annual night of spoken word where poets preform, as they said in the Garden of Eden, “sans fig leaf.”
Thumbnail concepts. Blue pencil and ink on bond. Various sizes.
The client wanted a clean, simple poster that enticed with intelligence rather then sexiness. We both agreed that the gist of the poster was literary rather then simply burlesque.
We settled on the second to last thumb, the concept of the female form emerging from a husk.
Rough sketch. Col-erase pencil on bond. Approx. 2 x3.6”
Refined sketch. Col-erase pencil on bond. 8.5 x 11”
While working the thumbnail up into a rough sketch I felt the husk idea created a cluttered composition and moved away from the simplicity the client had specified in our initial meeting.
I took the pose from the thumbnail and positioned the figure emerging from a pool fading into the negative space of the background. The challenge then became how to visually represent the spoken word with out resorting to the written word. I went with a “word” balloon filled with an organic filigree.
Blue pencil on Rives BFK, 22” x 30”
I drew the final drawing at a large scale and un-cropped in case I wanted to play around with the composition.
Photoshop CS5, 22”x30,” 400dpi.
I wanted the contents of the balloon to represent the emotion contained in performed poetry rather then simply the written word. I also liked how the filigree had a visceral, internal organ or fleshy tongue feel. Like she’s really “spilling her guts.” I like finding a balance between the compelling and the repelling in my work.
Final poster composition. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS5. 11 x 17”
Metropol asked me to design an image for the light box in the window of their print shop at the dazzling Atrium building. After pulling a much appreciated all-nighter, Steve Webb got the giant-sized print up and it looks great!
Stop by their shop at 1311 Blanchard Street and have a gander, then order some new business cards or a glorious poster.
Prints are available there as well!
Here’s a bit of process:
Sketch. Blue Col-erase pencil on Strathmore tracing paper. ~19”x27”
This piece started out as a large, random, warm-up doodle on a large piece of tracing paper I had on my drafting table. After playing around with it I stumbled on the coincidence that swallow tail butterflies have a natural CMYK(ish) colouring. Perfect for a digital print shop poster!
Pencils. Graphite on Rives BFK, 20”x26”
My scanner had a brain fart and created an odd stepped patern. After a stern talking to it sorted itself out.
I originally did a 3 diminutional text treatment of metropol’s CMYK logo but Steve wanted to keep Metropol’s branding consistent so we decided to remove it and replace it with their ‘M’ logo in the top corner (not shown).
And here it is up and shining at the Atrium!
Prints available at Metropol, 1311 Blanchard Street, Victoria BC
The Corner of Here and There
:S:L:P: Check out the East Vancouver inspired site I designed for Shane Koyczan at www.shanekoyczan.com.
Emerald City Comic Con
Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle was a blast! Check out picks of PUPA |ˈpyoōpə| with costumed con goers!
Jake from Adventure Time!!!!
Frank of Donny Darko
Phoenix Jones! The real-life Seattle Super-Hero!!!!
Doug Tennapel!!! Creator of EARTHWORM JIM!!!!
Can’t wait for next year!