How To's · Tutorials and Posts

Princess Leia Step by Step

Princess Leia Step by Step
Line drawing.  Darkening some of the shadows.  This drawing is on bristol board.
I went a head and did the midtones in the background.  Doing this helps me get a nicer contrast with the shading.
I went right in to the hair.  Normally, I wait until the end to do the hair, but this time I just dove right in.  I also darkened the eyes a little.
Some more of the hair and midtones on her face.
Working on the hands and completing the hair on the other side.  It’s time to start on her face.
Adding some shadows and midtones starts bringing her to life.  She is starting to look like Leia.
Working on darkening the midtones before darkening the shadows.
Starting to go dark on the shadows. I like my darks almost black.  I love contrast.
Here’s te final.  I threw in a stylized background.  I like the viewer to see it’s a drawing and this rough style depicts that.
Back to the Drawing Board with Gary · commissions/freelance

Across the Pond

As an artist, I do tend to wear a multitude of hats.  Illustrator, graphic artist, painter, layout artist, business man, accountant, sales rep, etc.  It’s all in a days work.  I get projects thrown at me of all kinds.  Some really surprise me.  But recently, I had a friend of mine, we will call him Dan, because that’s his name.

Dan is in a local 3 man Celtic Band, Across the Pond.  Nikki and I go see them play when ever we can.  We got to know the other band members too, Mike and Chuck. And for the record that’s their real names too.  (I pick fun of this because you read stories where the author changes the names to protect or cover up the real people in his/her life.)

Anyways, Dan asked me if I could help design their CD cover and packaging.  Again, I’m an artists with many hats and I’m not talking about fedoras either.  Of course, I love these types of projects, especially the ones where I have alot of creative freedom.

Dan presented a photo they found on the internet.  It was a low quality photo but not too aweful bad.  The first thing we had to do was track down the owner.  To ask permission and to offer some kind of compensation.  Finally, after a few days Dan tracked him down.  We (and I say we because I really don’t remember if it was me or Dan that email the fellow) contacted him and he more than willing granted us permission. Along with a short story about the photo. We offered him money and he turned it down.

CD cover Across the pond
CD cover Across the pond

Now, mind you I said I had creative freedom. So the first thing I did was slap together a layout.  Ok, I didn’t really slap it together. I had been rolling it over in my mind from the word go, so when we got the ok to move forward I was more than ready.  So, I slapped together a layout 🙂  It was an automatic hit.  Everyone loved it.  I’m an artist with many hats you know.

For the inside cover where the about the band and credits go.  I used a photo that Nikki took of the fellows in the band after a gig they played at Reid’s Orchard and Winery right here in beautiful historic down town Gettysburg.  Which I might add was very good wine and all around nice atmosphere.  Anyways, I use a photo she took of the band.  It was one of those goofing off photos.  It seemed quite fitting.  If you ever get to see them and talk to them, especially when they are performing, you would know what I mean.  They are fun guys, who love what they do and have fun doing it. Anyways, onto the inside tray art.

Across the Pond cd
Across the Pond Inside CD cover

 

The inside tray art, I used another photo that Nikki took.  This time it was a photo we took while visiting Ireland. It was a photo of two row boats laying on the shore, turned upside down.  When Dan told me that they wanted a photo under the clear tray to show through, believe it or not, this was the photo that popped into my head.  I layed a transparency of the band logo over the photo.

Now for the back cover, pretty simple just a revised version of the front.

Now, I had creative freedom.  Usually this is where the time consuming part is.  Which is why I usually ask for it to begin with.  It cuts down on the back and forth of me transposing the client’s artist view and slowly steering them in the direction I want.  Pretty clever, huh?  But the time consuming part was, the copy editing.  My eyes were opened to how much of this actually happens.  The times, the credits, rewording things, etc.  This is where patience is a virtue.  (this reminded me of the commercial from the 80s of the Chocolate Quik Bunny.  He was so crazy about Quik, the kids told him Patience was a Virtue.  Am I showing my age?)

Across the Pond CD Tray design
Across the Pond CD Tray design

Dan and the guys used an online CD publisher.  (I don’t remember who) There was a few back and forths with the layout template but all and all, they were so easy to deal with.

The first run of CDs were with the old Jewel Cases.  You remember these, the plastic cases that would crack when you drop them or served as an ice scrapper in a pinch on a winter morning.  They sold out of those very quickly.  I’m not sure of the time frame, but it made even my head spin.  I would like to think it was that fancy CD cover that did it.  But I’m pretty sure the music played some part in it.

The second run was to be on DigiPaks.  These are the cardboard with the plastic tray inside.  Now mind you the first run did not have the transparent tray with the tray art or was the CD itself printed.  I will get to the CD design in a moment. The DigiPaks served a better purpose as far as transporting them from gig to gig.  You could fit more in a box because they weren’t so bulky and there was no plastic case that would crack.

Across the Pond CD design
Across the Pond CD design

Now, the CD design itself.  The original design was to have a knock out in certain parts of the design.  A knock out is where the silver of the actual CD is showing through the design. The first run did not have this.  Not sure if the service didn’t have the means to screen print it or if it was a time factor. But on the DigiPaks we had the chance to do this. And they came out fantastic.

Note: on the photo the knock out is everything that appears white.  It’s hard to get a picture of something shiny.

You can download this CD Album on itunes if you aren’t into CD anymore.  Just go to itunes and search for Across the Pond.  Now there’s quite a few bands will show up.  Just look for the CD cover.  The name of the album is Kid on the Mountain. Like I said, look for that fancy CD cover they have 😉

Across the Pond Front CoverIf you are interested in seeing them or booking them or purchasing an actual CD (with handsome CD Art included at no extra charge) check out their website CLICK HERE