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View Full Version : WIP...CD cover for my SIL...


susme48
03-14-2014, 06:12 PM
My brother's wife is a Celtic musician, and thought for her newest CD, called Connections, that if I did the cover it would help us both. It's about family connections, and how they 'stretch' as people move around the country and the world, for jobs, because of wars, to the city, to the country...as many reasons I suppose as there are people. It's about roots (hence the tree) and ancestors (the tree folk) and telling tales of the 'old days' (the lady with the knitting). About the intermingling of lives and the kids, and the fun. Probably more than you wanted to know, but the songs are what I got my 'inspiration' from. I could not use all of them...so I tried to picture some different scenes and tie them together.

I'm to the point where I need suggestions on what I should tweak, and what I should leave alone. So not my strong point to know when to quit. Of course my SIL may have her own ideas on that... as she has all along. Merging two visions is not easy!

I'll put up the steps as I went...some of you may be shocked as I actually sketched for this one...:lol:

the sketch
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm1.jpg
blocking in colors and some rough details
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm2.jpg
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm3.jpg
Ginger wanted the kids to 'balance'...so started adding more on the firefly side...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm4.jpg
and more...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm5.jpg
Finally got to start on the tree...haha and discovered the sky was too light...sigh
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm6.jpg
so darkened the sky...so hard to blend once there are things in the way
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm7.jpg
sky not looking too bad...not quite what I wanted but about the best with the tree there
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm8.jpg
found the city scene was too light for the lights to 'show up'...trying to mimic the fireflies in the city lights...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm9.jpg
Held my breath and used a dark wash of burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and paynes gray to darken the buildings, and redid the lights...better I think...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm10.jpg
Started the tree people...and was not happy with the top 3...Ginger thought just one more looking at the center..
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm11.jpg
When I looked, it seemed to need more at the top, so added just profiles at the top to kind of balance it...they may not show as the title will go across the top...but put them in anyway
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm12.jpg
Had been gonna go with very little bark, but it was suggested that I put bark on...haha!
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gcdsm14.jpg

susme48
03-14-2014, 06:15 PM
So here's where I am now...I can see so many little things...but some are details that won't show when it's made small...but figure JUST in case anyone ever wants the original, it should be 'finished'...:lol:

So now's the time to tell me what you think needs work! :) I know what I see, but the more eyes looking, the better!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-gingercd15a.JPG

Here's some closeups of some of the details...

The kids chasing fireflies...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-kidsclose1.jpg
The kids playing ring-around-the-rosie in the city...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-kidsclose2.jpg
The lady knitting and telling stories...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-lady.jpg
The immigrants coming into Ellis Island...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/14-Mar-2014/51170-middleclose.jpg

Hope you enjoy the journey...:) and that I did not bore you too much!

Charlie's Mum
03-14-2014, 06:35 PM
Wow Susan - that's quite an undertaking!
I think you've planned it pretty well really to include so much and for it still to read properly when reduced in size.
There's a point in the WIP where you start outlining the buildings and they suddenly jump to another level - I'm thinking that, to tidy the figures - sharpen them - it might be an idea to think of them too being simplified with pen outlining ... but you'd need to try it out on the comp first to see if it would be OK.
My thoughts are that you don't want too many conflicting details while still retaining the stories - hence the idea of simplifying the figure shapes - perhaps flattening and sharpening - because I see most of the intricate detail as being the tree and woman.

I think I'm rambling!:lol: - first thoughts really!:) If they don't gel with your ideas, please ignore!;)

AprilJoy
03-14-2014, 06:53 PM
Wow, Susan! There are so many cool things going on, great job with everything from the idea on forward. Really eye-catching. :thumbsup:

susme48
03-14-2014, 07:01 PM
Thanks, Maureen!! If I had some decent pens and inks, I'd have done the faces and figures with them...sigh...I know what you mean...I think. I have tried, but the faces are soooo small that even my smallest brushes of one or two hairs are too big. Figured just lines for eyes noses and mouths, but even that's not easy. Did just read in someone else's post that you can use colored pencil on top of acrylics? wonder how you 'set' them so that when you seal they don't smear? and whether you could seal and then draw on top? so many questions...:lol: but might be easier to 'flatten and sharpen' with pencils? Tho I only have really cheap ones...

Thanks, April!

Dcam
03-14-2014, 09:02 PM
What a great progression to watch Susan; This is so creative and tells a great story about connections. Well done:clap:
Derek

drc8
03-14-2014, 09:12 PM
Wow Susan what a wonderful painting.

Magdalena Ladwik
03-14-2014, 10:03 PM
I love the tree and buildings, lovely painting.

ColinS
03-14-2014, 11:35 PM
Susan you have put tons of hard work into this and it's looking good. Hope your sister-in-law loves it.

AnneCross
03-15-2014, 10:57 AM
I love the faces in the trees looking at all the scenes. But as a knitter, I gotta tell you, she's doing it the "hard way." The detail is amazing! :thumbsup:

http://artacrosslife.blogspot.com/

doctoring in arts
03-15-2014, 11:06 AM
wonderful painting and really creative.. great work :thumbsup:

janinco
03-15-2014, 11:47 AM
Susan, I have read that water based sealers won't stick when colored pencils containing wax or oil have been used over acrylics. And solvent based sealers can dissolve wax. So the recommendation was Krylon fixative spray (archival satin or gloss).

Great cover - I'm amazed you were able to get all those details!

Jan

chammi kaiser
03-15-2014, 12:53 PM
Goodness Susie girl, this is really ambitious. Luck SIL. I love the concept and the bright colours. That tree trunk is super. This is like a tapestry of life. I really like it.

Achilleas
03-15-2014, 05:28 PM
Hi Susan.
Since this is a cd cover and Im a graphic designer, I though I should drop my 2 cents.

1 First of all you have a solid concept. You stayed on subject (something that its more difficult than it sounds, for many professionals) and this is the very first step to a good cover.

2 When illustrating a cover you must always think ahead and have the appropriate ''dead areas'' where the lettering and titles will be. In this way you avoid to waste time on areas of the artwork that are going to be covered and you insure the visual balance of your composition.
Right now you dont have enough space allocated to typographic elements. Bear in mind that there must be a bleed area at least 5mm around any cut or fold in order to secure that you wont lose something during the trimming process.

3 You have to keep in mind that your artwork may lose some subtle details during the printing process (offcourse that depends on the professionalism and equipment of the printing company).

4 If this CD is about to be sold in music shops the illustration must ''pop'' in the eye cause it will be surrounded by hundreds of similar products. If this is the cd of a small band that is going to be destributed among friends and a small circle of fans, you can get away with the fancy tricks and do whatever you really want.

5 Generally I like to say that there are 3 basic designing directions. The simple but clever one, the ''artistic'' and the spectacular.
In the first case you just need a good idea and a clever way to implement it. Generally this direction requires 90% thinking and 10% execution.
In the second case you can go crazy. Create something abstruct that will convey the emotion you want. Its all about emotion first and then about technique.

In the third case you need to have solid technical skills. You are aiming to impress people through a well crafted image. Go Ben Hur, throw anything you have in. This is the opposite of the case one. 10% thinking 90% work. Many times in this case you can get away with a weak or banal concept because people stay to the visual power of the piece.

susme48
03-15-2014, 07:11 PM
Derek, Denver, Magdalena, Colin, Anne, and Subi...thanks so very much for your comments!! :)

Jan...thanks!! Appreciate the info on the pencils...the more I read, the more I said, not with the cheap ones I have!

Chammi, yep, tapestry is the key word....thank you, my friend!!


Achilleas, thanks so much for the info, and for taking time to share. :) She sells her cd's when she does shows, and a few online, so not trying to catch the eyes of millions. She figured the name would go across the top, so we'd lose most of the sky. Not sure how much else, tho' she plans to have some of it inside as well? or so she said. She was hoping this would help me on a small scale, to 'get my name out there' a bit more...plus when you ask family, you get a deal...haha. Thanks again for helping!!

Well...she 'loved' it, but she and my brother saw things to change/tweak...sigh. Worked the rest of the evening and as much as possible today, got some kind of bug or something and feel yucky. Have found that when I paint I forget how bad I feel, at least temporarily...:lol:

Soooo...I re-did the ground around the city side, and lightened it, as she thought it was too dark; I put bark and moss on the roots, from a NEW reference photo...:lol: : I worked on the knitter's face so hopefully it's not as cartoonish, and redid her bottom and some of the rocker. For myself, I worked on the firefly kids faces and bodies a bit more, exchanged two of the shirt colors, as it seemed just wrong to have the redhead in an orange shirt...:lol: muted the grass in the far field as it seemed too green.

So here's where it is now...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/15-Mar-2014/51170-gingercd16a.jpg

If anyone sees something or has more suggestions, I am open to them! Thanks again for looking!

brusher
03-15-2014, 07:57 PM
Susan, I am just blown away by your illustration - so ambitious! And you have such a great sense of textures, the trees are so wonderful (the craggy trees in the foreground, and the tree in the back, left side by the house.) And the kids look great.

I am hesitant to make any suggestions, as you already have a lotta cooks, all of whom have given good advice. So do as you please - please!

But I would rather not see so much black, in the sky and the roof of the house on the left - My eye is pulled toward the black areas and It takes away my attention from your SIL, who should be the main focus, yes? I liked it better before, when the sky was dark blue. The kids are collecting fireflies, yes?
But please - go ahead with what you think looks best.

The only other thing I would say is to remember the roundness of the limbs (arms), which should show through, even when wearing a jacket. Make sure that the limbs of your SIL don't look too flat, you can do some round brushstrokes at the area of folds for the sleeves, which will make them look rounder.

Cathy

susme48
03-15-2014, 08:56 PM
Cathy...never hesitate to say anything...at least with me! :) I know it came out dark in the photo, but the sky is actually prussian blue...I have battled getting photos...sigh...either it looks black or the whole painting ends up with a blue cast. I admit, the roof is black, with a bit of transparent white, and the sea is paynes gray. Most of it I mixed my own darks...I will try to get a better photo tomorrow when I'm feeling better. And yes...they are supposed to be catching fireflies. :) I'll work on her sleeves. Thanks for your help!!

Not sure if I mentioned this is on a 24x20 canvas...I'd never have gotten any details otherwise! From playing around with some other paintings and pictures, it seemed that the larger ones looked better little than the smaller ones.

Achilleas
03-15-2014, 09:24 PM
Suzan a cd cover is 12x12 cm. Your original artwork should be bigger cause it will look better when shrink to real size. But bear in mind that when we shrink or blow up images over 50% of their original size we lose information due to pixel contraction or expansion.

I dont know the form of the logo of the band but unless its something really short and compact im afraid you are gonna lose the sky and maybe the liberty statue. You should make a quick mock up layout. When designing artwork for products one of the first thing you learn is how to not have your illustration hacked. I hope i helped.

Margaret 59
03-16-2014, 06:59 AM
I see a lot of good work Susan - doing very well!

susme48
03-16-2014, 12:25 PM
Achilleas, there is no band, only my sister-in-law...she sings all the different harmonies, plays all the different musical instruments, and then works in her tiny little studio merging all of it together. She is quite the talented lady. Here's a possible idea on how the cover would look...of course she will be the one who picks the colors, I was just playing around...:lol: She has no logo, and usually there is just the name of the cd and her name...
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Mar-2014/51170-possible_cover.jpg

When you say, hacked do you mean cut up, or stolen? Not quite sure...:)

Thanks, Margaret!

LavenderFrost
03-16-2014, 12:53 PM
That's quite an ambitious project. As you said, not always easy to merge ideas. You did a great job!

susme48
03-16-2014, 06:30 PM
Thanks, Michelle!!

Did some work on the lady's face, and some of the kids; then tried to make the lines of the lady's sweater a bit better. Worked like crazy to get a better photo, too....whew!! I need to study up on photography I guess!

Only suggestion today was to do a bit more on the lady's face...sigh...but then I think I'll be done!! Yay!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Mar-2014/51170-gingercd18a.JPG

Oh and as for the cover...thought it might be better to have a shot with her name spelled right....:lol: :eek: You'd think as long as that last name was mine, I'd be able to spell it :angel:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Mar-2014/51170-possible_cover2B.jpg

brusher
03-16-2014, 09:19 PM
Susan, it has turned out so well, and it really suggests "folk" music to me. I have many Irish and Scottish folk albums in my collection and this artwork really fits into that popular style of cover art!! Music of the people, evolving over the years. Yes, a little work on the face and you'll be there an all done!

Well, you have really earned a beer for St. Patty's Day tomorrow :) This was a tremendous project and it has been so much fun to see it develop, and your trouble-shooting at each step. It really is great.
Cathy

cem
03-17-2014, 12:02 AM
Wow, Susan, you have put so much wonderful work in on this! The colors are great as well as the composition. The only thing that bothers me is the color of the knitters eyes. They look a bit blank to me, but that's just me. Great work overall!

JimR-OCDS
03-17-2014, 11:21 AM
I love it. :clap:


Jim

susme48
03-18-2014, 01:24 PM
Cathy, Cindy and Jim....thanks!!

Tried and tried the lady's face and eyes, and just could not be happy...:eek: :lol: so listened to a friend's suggestion, and went a whole different direction and used my SIL as the model...still not sure about it, but like it some better.

Waiting on her input, and she may hate it...but who knows. Hopefully she'll at least be flattered that I tried....:angel:

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/18-Mar-2014/51170-gingercd20a.jpg

Pardon the glare...have been having a lot of trouble getting a good pic...sigh!! Thanks again for looking and all the positive comments!

jocko500
03-21-2014, 11:46 PM
wow this is wonderful and I like the way you photo each part of the way you painted this

jmclea
03-21-2014, 11:54 PM
I love it, Susan. It tells a story of family.
-Jean

Fox_eNova
03-22-2014, 05:46 PM
The mother looks 20 years younger...lOL
WELL DONE!

PattiLou
03-22-2014, 06:36 PM
Well done Susan. I like the final version best. :thumbsup:

susme48
03-23-2014, 11:13 AM
Thanks, Jock, Jim, Eric and Patti!!

I was pleased with how it turned out, in the end. And she was too...which is what counts!

gaykir
03-23-2014, 12:15 PM
:thumbsup:

cyandreas
03-23-2014, 12:36 PM
[QUOTE=susme48]My brother's wife is a Celtic musician, and thought for her newest CD, called Connections, that if I did the cover it would help us both. It's about family connections, and how they 'stretch' as people move around the country and the world, for jobs, because of wars, to the city, to the country...as many reasons I suppose as there are people. It's about roots (hence the tree) and ancestors (the tree folk) and telling tales of the 'old days' (the lady with the knitting). About the intermingling of lives and the kids, and the fun. Probably more than you wanted to know, but the songs are what I got my 'inspiration' from. I could not use all of them...so I tried to picture some different scenes and tie them together.

I'm to the point where I need suggestions on what I should tweak, and what I should leave alone. So not my strong point to know when to quit. Of course my SIL may have her own ideas on that... as she has all along. Merging two visions is not easy!

I'll put up the steps as I went...some of you may be shocked as I actually sketched for this one...:lol:



Very nice!!!:thumbsup:

susme48
03-23-2014, 03:16 PM
Thanks, Gayle and Cyandreas!

chammi kaiser
03-23-2014, 03:55 PM
That is just amazing Susie. You have done a fabulous job on this. Wow, patience personified!!! I love that tree and the bright colours amongst the neutrals. I am not surprised she was pleased with this. Lucky lady to have you as a SIL.

susme48
03-24-2014, 03:42 PM
Thanks, so much Chammi! I am glad now that I pushed past my comfort zone... :)

laf.art
03-24-2014, 04:14 PM
Great job, and I love the change you made to the knitter's face. I think your comfort zone is now officially broadened:thumbsup:

susme48
03-25-2014, 06:10 PM
laf.art...thanks!!

AprilJoy
03-26-2014, 08:56 AM
Had to peek in on this one again (you were still in progressive stage last time). Looks really good- especially the way you changed the primary figure, she's looking more lively and involved now (the position change helps).
Nicely done, Susan, you are so patient!!

susme48
03-26-2014, 12:20 PM
Thanks, April! Not always so patient...:lol: there was a bit of ummmm.....errrr....muttering at times! :)

ColinS
03-26-2014, 12:22 PM
Susan I agree with the comments about the central figure. I really like this new version. The portrait is very natural and real.

susme48
03-27-2014, 03:17 PM
Thanks, Colin!!

Charlie's Mum
03-27-2014, 03:36 PM
Knitter is much better Susan :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

susme48
03-28-2014, 02:26 PM
Thanks, Maureen!