Hand Lettering: All Is Not Lost Noisetrade Sampler

In News, Uncategorized by Paul Soupiset

This week I’m taking a personal break, vacationing in a spectacular redwood forest with a bunch of old friends at a Quaker retreat center north of Santa Cruz, California.

When you’re miles from your studio with limited supplies, but your illustration client needs something right away, what do you do? Here’s the story of the last 24 hours.

I’m thrilled to be working with Paul Demer and Galileo Church on an album packaging design for their forthcoming crowd-sourced LP, All is not Lost. Over the past 25 years, I have designed lots of album covers and have really enjoyed it. By taking on the illustration and design for All is not Lost,  I am making an attempt at a return to the joy of this form factor. While I’ve been doing some early, rough hand-lettering and illustration in anticipation of the project, as an interim project, they needed to create a cover design for their Noisetrade EP Sampler.

I turned in a first round illustration to my client yesterday: I had been on a hike that morning and snapped a photo of some redwood trees. I came back to where we’re staying, and got to work — I overlaid an initial type treatment that had the album title rendered in pigment liner. The only supplies I have with me are what would fit in my backpack. No tracing paper, no lightbox, no scanner, and a smaller assortment of pens than usual. But I was able to ink the letters onto watercolor paper, take a clear shot with my iPhone’s camera, and pull that into my Photoshop workflow. I’ve done that before, and it works really well for black and white lineart.

I got feedback on the first round illustration, needed to go off in a different direction, and was in a bit of a challenging situation: I had neither time nor materials to create the types of watercolor illustration they — and I — wanted to create for the EP cover … but what I did have was an archive of old, unpublished illustrations of mine from years past. I invited the client to point me to a few illustrations they liked from my library, and essentially I would create a seamless montage of the illustrations and re-contextualize it for the cover art.

That’s what I spent this morning doing. It ended up working very well. Scroll down below to see the second round illustrations, and some earlier process shots as well. Then, head over to Noisetrade, purchase the sampler and see what the finished sampler looks like.


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