February 4, 2013

New Cover + New Techniques

It's time for another album cover!! It's been now quite a while since the last one. And this is the second album cover for my very talented sister, Ashia Grzesik.  Here is the work-in-progress of the first cover that we collaborated on.

For this new album, named "Diesel vs. Lungs", I decided to try two "new" techniques. The first was watercolor painting. I'd always been an acrylic girl, but wasn't getting the results that I needed with certain techniques. I wanted to do washes, and washes on washes on washes, and using acrylics for this was borderline dumb. I'd like to say that the adjustment to using watercolors was totally easy, but there was a bit of a learning curve, as you have to approach the layering in a different way, and get accustomed to the translucency and the malleability (or lack of it) once it's on paper. 

Here is a snippet of the background, pre-processing:

The inspiration for the background, as given to me by Ashia, was the city of Ostrava in the Czech Republic. It has earned the nickname “steel heart of the republic”, due to heavy industry there, and it remains one of the most polluted cities in the EU.

I also couldn't help but realize that after I had finished it, it reminded me - albeit loosely - of the hand-painted backgrounds of my all-time favorite children's cartoon, Krtek*, which hails from the Czech Republic (!)  Specifically, my all-time favorite episode of dear little Krteček, "Little Mole on the Town", which shows the transformation of a beautiful forest filled with adorable wildlife into a dirty, polluted city (!!!) 

Here is the entire 28-minute episode, which is totally worth your time to watch to the end.  But if you're ADD like me, just watch the first 5-6 minutes, which shows the adorable woodland creatures helplessly watch their forest home being torn down...so intense! {Please note: It may take a few minutes to load and currently, it won't upload with sound. Standby and pretend it's a silent movie for now and thanks for your patience!}
This isn't the first time that Czech cintematic talent has been featured by me...hmmm.

On to another element of the cover, a snippet of a spray of poppies:
The final watercolor painting was outlined by a dark brown pen, roughly à la Alfons Mucha (see a pattern here? ha!)  I felt like I was still reverting to old acrylic techniques while painting this, though, so looks like I have to keep working on my watercolor technique. Apparently, using watercolor pencils for years and years wasn't as big of a help as I thought it would be! And oh yeah, should have anticipated the paper buckling as much as it did with so much water on it ;)

More on the second "new" technique in a later post...

 * Have I talked yet of the genius of Krtek?? I smell a doozy of a great post idea.

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