|Tori Roze illustration: Graham Smith|
I illustrated the portrait of musician Tori Roze for the cover of her new album, from the Hip, created together with her band, The Hot Mess. The album is set to debut, so here is a behind the scenes peek at what it takes to put together artwork for an indy music project like this.
Above, is the finished illustration, and below, is a photo of me autographing a few of the pre-release CD's. (Poolside, of course.)
But I'll tell you, a lot goes into designing a CD package before you get to kick back and sign albums with rock stars. The good thing is, all the work is fun!
|Graham Smith - illustrator|
Three years later, the phone rings. "I'm in the recording studio now, finishing my album! Will you still do it? "
Making the B(r)and: To determine a visual direction, we started with a recon mission to watch Tori Roze and the Hot Mess rock the house at a club in Ocean Beach. Guitarist, music aficionado and champion pumpkin carver, Mike Aryes flew wingman that night. After soaking up the vibe, we scheduled a photo shoot to get some reference shots for me to draw from.
Style: We were lucky to get Photographer Teresa Heath for this shoot at the Bluefoot Bar in Hillcrest, California. Teresa's natural light shooting style was a great match for Tori's keeping-it-real vibe. At the same time, I shot illustration reference shots with my trusty Canon 400d. Hair: Omar Coronado rocked the hair style and makeup, knocking out an inspiring, rock and roll do. Fashion: Fables by Barrie provided Tori's super-fly, punky outfit.
|Tori gets her hair did by Omar Coronado.|
|Photographer Teresa Heath enjoys a private concert while shooting Tori Roze.|
|selecting reference shots for a portrait.|
Illustration: I like to draw the portrait with blue pencil before inking it, working out the composition while developing the likeness. I have the most fun during this part, figuring out all the little geometries, textures and values.
The blue under-drawing was drawn with General's non-repro blue pencil in an Aquabee Super Deluxe 11 x 14 sketchbook. The portrait is inked with Black Cat India Ink on Aquabee paper using a Hunts 513ef nib.
|Preliminary artwork - blue pencil on Aquabee paper.|
|It's all about her eyes....and her hair!|
|Tori Roze by Graham Smith, ink 11 x 14|
I inked up a few different versions of Tori Roze. This one (above) just didn't have the major dose of attitude needed to be an album cover. I did like the way her lips came out, though.
Graphics: I love hand drawn typography so, I wanted to brush the name of their album all in one go, like the old school calligraphers did. I used a #8 brush and 14 sheets of paper before I got it just right.
Type: Tori Roze's voice has a delicious old school flavor, and since most of the artwork is loose, I decided to set the bands name in an old typeface with 1930's flavor, as a visual counterpoint.
The Hot Mess: Serge McCoy - drums, Harley Magsino - bass, Johnny Alexander - guitar, Jordan Morita - trombone, keys, Lee Clark - backing vocals, flute illustrated by Graham Smith.
|album artwork in print ready template|
Promotion: 2 weeks later, Tori rolled out of bed to sign CD's after returning from her New York City tour. Hell yeah, Rock Star.
|Tori Roze holds up her new album "From the Hip".|
|Tori Roze. photo: Graham Smith|
Myspace: Tori Roze and the Hot Mess
Tori's Roze and the Hot Mess upcoming gigs on: Facebook