Whether you like it or not, the visual side of things is really important when you release your music. The album artwork especially will, rightly or wrongly, give people a strong idea of what kind of thing to expect when they listen to your music. Because of this it’s really important to put a lot of thought and care into exactly what your artwork is going to be. I personally also see the artwork almost as an extension of the music – it’s an important part of the album experience and coming up with your artwork can be just as creative and fun as writing the music!
When thinking up artwork ideas for our new release, I started with the title, ‘More Than Just An Ape’. In the context of the album there are a few different meanings for that title (but that’s something to talk about in a later article!) but one of them is a reference to a lyric in one of the songs on ‘The End Of Days’ EP (available for free here!) which says “after all, you’re just an ape / Augmented with technology”. It got me thinking about a very literal interpretation of that line which would feature some kind of cyborg ape. After considering a few alternative ideas and mulling it over for a while I had a good idea of how I wanted it to look so I decided to run with it and see what happened.
I would like to state for the record that I cannot draw. At all. Not even a little bit. Here’s the absolute best effort I could come up with just now:
Clearly I needed an artist. After some Googling and searching online forums I found Brent Noll. I have never commissioned a drawing ‘blind’ like this with only online recommendations to go on so I had some slight worries about what might happen but they vanished very quickly after trading a few emails with Brent. He was able to ask the appropriate questions to supplement my deranged ramblings and decipher what it was that I actually wanted him to do. We agreed a price and payment method and he set to work.
A quick ‘soap box’ point – don’t be that band that asks a freelance artist to work for free because it’d be ‘great exposure’. It’s not ‘great exposure’, it’s you ripping off an artist who deserves to be paid for their hard work in much the same way that you do.
I received the finished artwork this week and was astonished to find that Brent was apparently some kind of mind-reading sorcerer and had somehow drawn exactly what I had imagined.
So after all that, it’s time for the big reveal!
Is that cool or what? Tell us what you think by posting a comment on this post!
The next step will be to turn this into the actual album cover and to sort out the rest of the CD inlay, but that’s something to be covered in another post.