Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Amanda DuFord approached me months ago to do her first official full length. Through our hashing out of ideas we built the record on the foundation of not having the album look like anything typical to the singer song writer stigma that is rampant in design (zoom in photo on face and slightly modified text, jus think disc makers design). For a month we poured over concepts, type, color, textures, placements, there wasn't one thing we didn't talk about. Amanda has a gift of scrap booking so the physical texture and lift off the page became a theme to build around.

I read her lyrics and drifted into so many places. The theme of the record is to not be overcome by doubt and it's numerous circumstances, to accept the vulnerability that comes with growing, and to accept the strength of grace in the good & ruff. I thought there should be a visible gradient of the ruff to deliverance. I did this in 2 ways: 1) Her lyrics reference a run down shack that's a safe trap, I conceptualized that with barren trees/stormy clouds/jagged mountains and then built a heavenly city where the final outcome lies 2) obviously color.
I put the whole imagery in a single drop of rain for reference to the album title. I kept the edges scrappy & incomplete to mirror the scrap book theme.

BASIC METHOD: Thumbnail, build in Illustrator, print each piece out, transfer to water color, water color each piece, arrange by laying each piece on top of the other, send to VANJA. in Michigan to shoot in 3 diff. formats digital/35mm/Hasselblad (we chose the 35mm for the grittier grain), edit film, add type. VOILA. The tear drop alone is over 2ft tall.

For the back of the record I thought it should reflect the outcome of the themes: the Heavenly city. I didn't want to jus zoom in on the city for the back, so I made the city out of each piece where as the cover is 1 piece with the city painted on it. Both the cover and back have a small path in them, 1 to lead from the shack up, and then seeing the path again but in gold leading into the city, kinda pilgrims progress path of sorts.

Working with watercolored paper naturally bends it, so when laying it down it created these excellent depths by the unique shadows from those bends. This is my second all watercolor album cover (with VANJA. shooting it as well, this is the first ALBUM we did) & it's the biggest project I've done. I want all my work to be considered a natural extension of the client I'm working with. I never want my work to be blaring NO THEFT, I want people to think of my client more than they have before and this I consider the greatest accomplishment of my work.

Amanda is having her album release show at the Q Cafe | Nov. 5 | 8PM | $8, my GV brothers will be backing her up and she asked if Thomas Carr Stiles would open, I'm in.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

NO THEFT x Paper Astronomer

(click to view larger)

Paper Astronomer are hard workers. Strict long practices 3x a week, they put their songs under brutal attention, and they're constantly releasing new material for their fan base. These attentive efforts are going to pay off soon, there's some good things for them in play.

They asked me to do their self titled EP with the Tiger Astronaut I did for their Tractor Tavern show. I decided the best way to keep it clean was to only have type on the back, keep it curved- san serif-vintage NASA style. I kerned each track to have equal width with the others and that brought another space dimension. To keep it close to the Tractor print we decided to screen print it ourselves, I wanted to push it further by putting a blank off white square under the Tiger making a frame within a frame. I then thought while we're at it lets do a secret print on the inside that you can only see if you cut the tabs off. I came up with a special type for their initials and made an antenna with visible audio waves. I had Casey (lead singer) come over and write out some lines that he and Brian (bass player) had wrote for the EP (I had him write out everything on their last EP as well) and put it on top. I'm really proud of how clean the designs transferred into printing them out. The smallest font size I did for the print was 9pt, SWEET.

(click to view larger)

I'm always inspired by Paper Astronomer's work/songs/performances. This album isn't up at their site yet, but will be hopefully soon. Pat on the back boys, you did it again.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NO THEFT x The Voetbergs

Liddy Voetberg
asked me to do a poster for their show at the R.E. Bennett Auditorium that will also feature the incredible talents of the Konzelman Brothers & Hanneke Cassel. It was a challenge working with 3 diff photos that were very diff from each other and make the piece design friendly. I decided old playbill and rustic orange were my allies. This is going to be a talent explosion, go, be challenged & inspired!

Monday, October 18, 2010


My friend Amy Seeley asked me to do a special cover for her digital release of "Catalinas" that was 1st made available on her birthday. It's a new direction for her, same rich wonderful voice surrounded by subtle electronica landscapes. I listened to this song on repeat while I thumb nailed and dissected the lyrics AND you know what? I'm still not tired of it :) The song explores an experience she has at the mountain scape of the Catalinas and how this inspires her to draw more life out of hers.

Visually I decided to make a key hole out of the mountains and the setting sun against a layered backdrop of the sunset sky, I then made a skeleton key out of a custom calligraphic 'C' for 'Catalina's' to represent that experience/place being the catalyst of her pursuing newly discovered inspirations. Spatially it almost follows the rule of thirds with the descending Sun breaking the tension of the top third as well as breaking the mountains to give slight depth to the landscape. I really enjoy the color choices, it really makes it for me. I'm also proud of how cleanly it matches her song musically & lyrically.

Amy Seeley is an absolute gem to work with. She's prompt on communication, willing to explore the design her music makes me feel, and always honest. Please have a listen & support her.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Lower Lights Burning asked me to do a poster for their big home show. For some reason whenever I have thought of his band I've thought of old lanterns. I finally was able to put that vision to use when I found an old lantern at Goodwill for 3 bones. This is the most time i've spent on a poster before, all drawn besides the text, it's one of my favorite pieces. I thought the fall leaves would be a fitting replacement for fire that would naturally come after a lantern was bashed.

I'm taking the time to think more before getting on my computer to create, it's allowing me to pull from so many more places.

I'm going to this show AND was jus asked to play some Thomas Carr Stiles songs before LLB's set! NICE!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Todays Inspiration

While rolling 2 tires across a street into the back of an old Honda Vanja is selling (takers?) I saw this color tattered leaf. It stayed in my car all day till I started sketching my latest piece for Lower Lights Burning. A sweet purchase from Goodwill joined the sketch too, I'll share later this week.

I've been looking at things outside of blogs/ffffound/design heroes lately. To do so I've been picking up my pen more, just sitting around and thinking, resting, praying more, getting outside, connecting with strangers. I'm excited to share how these changes are impacting my work. I'll be sharing the latest very soon with a few album covers for 1) Paper Astronomer 2) Amanda DuFord 3) Amy Seeley, couple posters and other printables.

A note on nature: It will always have the best design, the best color swatch palettes, and the best inspiration. When in a slump, step outside.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I usually don't dig the NIKE's except when the Chi-Town Dynasty was cementing it's empire with the Jordan/Pippen cornerstones ->I was wearin every endorsed pair LOYALLY<-

Since my hoop dreams dissipated from the results of low ups and other interests flooding I've left the laces & soul of the NIKE realm. Couple days ago I stumbled on these NIKE AIR WILDWOODS and I've been peeking at them on my desktop 3x a day. HOLLA!