Credits

Writing these here, for future use.

Will Kerin: Graphic design, photography

Harrison Haynes: Project coordinator, advisor on photography and design, supplier of camera, photographer of Cover No. 3

Tina Bessias: Project coordinator

 

Harun M.: Additional graphic design consultant

Claudia S.:  Concept for Cover No. 5

Prompt (Cover 5)

A few days ago, I asked my friend (called in the below screenshot “Johnny Truant”) to give me a prompt for a cover. She gave me an incredibly specific and strange set of instructions:

I used three photos of my own dog (Charlie), “The Barn” by Adriaen van Ostade (dated 1647 according to The Met, making it public domain), and the diagram on the Wikipedia page for Cold Fusion (called public domain in its description).

The result was this:

I tried to make the placement of the photos as random as possible, and tried not to obscure vital details in the painting.

Cold fusion chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion#/media/File:Cold-fusion-calorimeter-nhe-diagram.png

“The Barn”: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/396334

Collage

After the first three, I felt I earned the opportunity to make something more unconventional…

My main inspiration for this cover was the work of the musician and visual artist Patrick Totally. I have included two examples of his album cover work below:

I appreciate the freeform “collage” nature of these covers, and their usage of both images found online and personal photography. This was my first attempt at a collage piece:

Sources for these are all photographs I’ve taken, including photos of notebook doodles, a Chinese worksheet, an empty Bojangles box that I saw in a parking garage, and a photo of a bird in a tree.

When I showed this to Mr. Haynes, his main concern was that it looked too uniform and orderly. While I personally like this “organized chaos” method, it’s not what I was originally going for. I think the above draft is good, but I wanted to experiment more with purposeful messiness. This was the result:

I feel very satisfied with this result. There is significant variation in the texture of the three photos used (a notebook doodle, a photo of a printed digital piece, and a photo of nature), while still maintaining a motif, namely birds. The warping of the tree photo also makes the bird in it more visually obvious, which is good.

I like both of the covers I have created. However, the second one is what I will be treating as one of my final pieces.

 

Orionis

I wanted to make something inspired by covers of the genre “space ambient” in the 70s, particularly covers of Klaus Schulze albums.

What I noticed about these covers that caught my eye was the usage of unnatural lighting and the sharp contrast between different colors.

Because I am not an illustrator, and I am avoiding using copyrighted materials for this project, I found it practical to work with photography rather than illustration. I first talked with Mr. Haynes about different lighting techniques. I decided on the color red, both because of the Cyborg cover above, and because it was a color I hadn’t used yet.

I sat in a stool very patiently as Mr. Haynes took some photos of me from the waist up. I purposefully brought a red sweater that day when I went to school, as I felt it would be fitting and match the lighting well.

Here’s the photo I used, cropped, before and after I adjusted the raw .CR2 file and added some grain.

And then, I added an overlay, making the final product.

I added the border and label in the top right to make it more “retro,” once again inspired by Klaus Schulze covers. The fictional label “Gator” is named after Claria Corporation, a defunct spyware company. “Will Cirenes” is just a variation of my real name. I chose the title from looking up names of random stars.

Ciar, Continued!

I have made a lot of progress on the cover of my hypothetical metal debut!

Firstly, Mr. Haynes graciously lent me one of his cameras to use. I took the camera and went down to the woods near the tennis court. I made sure to not get any man-made objects in the frame – I wanted it to be naturalistic. It also happened to be a very foggy day, which also was helpful for the mood I wished to capture.

Then, with Mr. Haynes’ help, I edited the colors to my liking.

I found that putting the photo in a small white border (in the style of the Akitsa cover from my previous post) wasn’t working, especially not with my desire to include the logo alongside it. Therefore, I cropped the edited photo to make it the background of the cover. Here it is with no overlay:

The above image would make a fantastic cover in its own right; however, I wanted to incorporate the logo. This was difficult. My attempts to include it often didn’t mix well with the background at all, or just otherwise looked unappealing. Here is an example of this:

When I showed my progress to some friends of mine, specifically my fellow artists in the 7Form community, they had two suggestions that stuck out to me. The first was to make the logo white (and, in turn, the bar black), and the second was to make the bar semi-transparent. I then made even more variations of the cover, eventually arriving at this, which I am incredibly happy with:

I love how the transparent black bar blends in with the background, leaving the woods still fully visible, while also making the logo more visible. I appreciate how the graininess of the background mixes with the black bar.

My friends at 7Form were happy with this result too. However, if I decide to tweak it further, I still have the Photoshop file, and several other possibilities: 

In-Progress: Ciar

Hello! I decided that I wanted the second cover in my series to be influenced by the look of Metal records, Black Metal (a particularly dark and gloomy subgenre) especially. The first thing I needed was a name for my non-existent (as of now…) metal project. The name I chose is “Ciar,” which has at least two meanings to it. According to Wiktionary, it means “dark” or “gloomy” in Scottish Gaelic, and it’s linguistically connected to my last name, “Kerin,” which is also related to the given name “Ciarán,” which is common among Irish people. I also checked the Rateyourmusic database to see if there is any musical project (metal or otherwise) with the name Ciar, and I found none. I felt satisfied with the name.

Then, I needed to design the logo. My primary inspiration was the logo of my friend’s Black Metal project “Moon,” on the label 7Form. The Moon logo looks like this:

What I enjoy about this logo is how, while the name “Moon” is plainly visible if you know which letters are where, it is still illegible on first look. I wanted to make a logo that imitates this logo’s messiness and semi-legibility. I designed an angular base of letters, and then, using a Photoshop brush, made a messy design over my trace. The two steps of my process are shown below:

I’ve played a fun game with my friends seeing how quickly they can figure out what the Ciar logo and the Moon logo say. They seemed to have an equal amount of difficulty with both, making me feel as if my imitation of what I like about my friend’s logo was a success…

While my taste in Black Metal is not particularly expansive, another Black Metal release I like is Goétie by the Canadian group Akitsa. I’m inspired by its cover style as well:

Specifically, I enjoy its simplicity, extremely limited color palette, and usage of photography against a solid color background. My next step for this project is to, with my fairly high quality digital camera, take a photo of the woods behind my house, and then consult the Internet, Mr. Haynes, and/or my additional consultant Harun M. on how I can achieve a similar limited-color effect as on the above cover.

Semi-Final Draft of Cover No. 1

Hello! This is the semi-final draft of the first cover in my series:

“Corporate Account” is a musical alias of mine, but I’ve very rarely used it. The main inspiration for this cover is the cover of the electronic album Shader by Sacred Tapestry, which also uses a varied land of geometric cubes accompanied by a frame and simple typography:

For my cover, I also used the “Halftone” effect, which evokes older print media (such as magazines), making images seem more retro and organic, rather than flat and digital. Here is a zoom on the cubes to see the halftone effect more closely:

There are other small, mostly unnoticeable tweaks I hope to make in the final version. The most noticeable tweak is that I want the “frame” around the cubes to look more organic as well; I can do this by taking an image of a paper texture and layering transparently it over the frame’s edges. This effect can be seen on the cover of Shader: