Saturday, September 4, 2010

Pancake Breakfast Album Art

A couple of months back I did some album art for my friend Mike Midlo. We worked together on Time Team, but he also runs this awesome, rocking band called "Pancake Breakfast" out of Oregon. The album is called "Fire in the Barn," and Mike asked me to make a painting to go inside the LP and CD of a barn on a hill that had something unearthly going on with it. For inspiration, he sent me the 1937 Disney cartoon, "The Old Mill," which you should look up on youtube if you haven't seen it.
I love working with musicians. They almost always have such different ideas than visual artists, and such good feedback. I had tons of fun working on this piece, too, and I dig the music, so I hope I get to do more projects like.

Here's Pancake Breakfast's website. Check them out.

I thought I would show some process work on this one, since it was such a good back and forth.

First, I sent Mike and another band member (and the web/album designer), Christa, the following thumbnails. These were all fast, simple color and composition studies to get some broad stroke feedback from them and get a sense of where their minds were going. It also helped me figure out what I wanted to do with the piece.

We took the ones liked best from the thumbnails and I developed them further, testing the waters for what we'd want to push further into the final piece.

From there, we combined elements that we liked as inspiration for the direction of the final, big one (and I do mean big. This went into an LP, so it was a large file).

After looking at it, though, we didn't feel like it was otherwordly enough, so we tilted everything and added a lot more value and strange light. The idea was to make it feel like something ominous and fantastic was on the very verge of breaking loose.

Then, with that settled, it was time to polish it for the final piece. Mike had one last bit of feedback, which was to add the feeling of wind. That's actually very difficult in a still image, but I'm glad he pushed for it. It made the final painting a whole lot better.

And that was how it went.

When he mailed me the finished LP, Mike wrote me a poem about the piece, posted below:

A storm mounts. Bones ache ... Howling souls. The wind heaves a heavy sigh.

¡There's a Fire in the Barn!

And a murder of crows scatter into the watercolor sky.

Thanks for the chance to do this, Mike, and good luck with the album release!


Jessie Jordan said...

AH that tree... those birds!

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