CD Artwork for Sempervivi "Always Alive" by Kentucky CD cover artistSempervivi

Lexington, KY

Since I began my career as a graphic designer, I’ve enjoyed being a CD cover artist. The CD artwork for my own band Sempervivi proves that I am very hands on with personal projects. I departed my previous band Analog Apostles in 2014 in order to start my own solo project. After self producing an acoustic EP, I wrote new songs for this record, which necessitated a full band. I designed my own layout for “Always Alive” in 2017. This album was, in every sense of the words, both a labor of love and a family affair.

CD artwork process for Kentucky rock music

Initially, I only knew that I wanted to use a bright green color for the album’s cover. This is because the record’s concept is evergreen life. I took my time on this project in between other work and music related tasks, since my goal was to hand draw as much of the CD art as possible. At first, I even hand wrote the credits, but I was not happy with how those turned out. However, I drew or traced each and every other element in the CD and jacket composition.

CD artwork incorporating natural elements

Many of these songs’ themes center around family, growing up, and the idea of continuing one’s lineage to future generations. I wanted to incorporate many elements that were found in nature. Therefore, I researched which animals represented immortality in different world cultures. In the end, I settled on the cicada. It is a winged insect which is common here in Kentucky that can be heard chirping loudly on humid summer evenings. I incorporated a pair of these bugs as part of the front cover heraldry.

The sempervivum plant is also known as a succulent or houseleek. I featured it in red, located front and center on the cover. It is a reference to the name of the band as well. “Sempervivum” is a Latin phrase that literally translates to “ever living” or “always alive”.

CD Cover Artist – Fonts and typography for CD artwork

I did not initially set out to draw the word “SEMPERVIVI” with a particular font in mind. Instead, I decided to emulate something I would have doodled on one of my old high school notebooks. I drew, scanned, tilted, and resized the letters a few different times to get the feel just right. The varying sizes and placements of the tall serif characters make it stand out in a way that a conventional font would not.

I set the arched title “ALWAYS ALIVE”, as well as the track listing, in the “Triforce” specialty font. However, I filled in the signature openings of the letters when I traced it. This is in order to give the characters more weight. I then completed the front cover layout with some doodles of light beams and bubbles. I also created a frame to go around all of the elements using the Adobe Illustrator program. Then, I retraced it by hand in order to continue the sketch art theme. The text, frame, and drawings all have a faint white shadow that adds depth, as well as creating a subtle embossing effect.

Jacket CD artwork finishing touches

I sketched a drawing of my young son’s face on the back cover as the focal point. This made sense, since two of the songs center around becoming a father and spending time with him. The drawing offsets the album’s track listing. I used the Paint tool in Photoshop so I could highlight his face and make it pop off of the cool blue background. I also redrew the Bad Apple Records logo, which I designed for the record label in 2002. Finally, many paint splatters blend into the background. My son actually painted them at the tender age of just one and a half years old. Thus, I  made sure that he was listed prominently in the album credits at the bottom of the jacket!

Disc CD artwork layout

Last of all, I painted the compact disc itself with a deep magenta hue. It was complementary to both the green and blue backgrounds on the jacket itself. Next, I blended in a few more paint splatters from my son’s art into the background. Then, I arched the artist name and album title, once again using my altered version of the Triforce font. I traced sempervivum stalks from some photographs I found online by using a fine Sharpie marker. The traced Bad Apple Records logo is again featured, centered between the drawings. One more time, I highlighted these elements in a lighter shade of Magenta by using the Paint tool in Adobe Photoshop. After I had put in many a long hour working on it, the album art was finally ready for the press.

CD artwork that screams “YOU!”

All of the elements of this sophomore record, ranging from the songs themselves to the art detailed above, encapsulate the story of who I am. I identify with many roles. Christian, husband, father, Kentuckian, musician, friend, and graphic artist are all labels which describe me.

Do you have a distinct vision of what CD packaging should accompany your next recording project? Let me be your CD cover artist! I have years of experience designing merchandise for bands and musicians in many genres. This includes artists performing everything from country to bluegrass to alternative rock. Whether you have photography and other elements ready or not, I can get the results you need. Contact me today so we can get started on your own CD artwork!

"Lessons on Gifts and Giving" Book Cover ArtGeorge Thompson

Greenville, KY

I loved working on this book cover art, another in a series of Christian book cover design. I created it for Western Kentucky pastor and author George E. Thompson. George is one of the first humans I remember knowing. My parents often took me to his home as a youth, and I attended preschool with his daughter in my small Kentucky hometown. Being his book cover designer really brought our relationship full circle.

Lessons on Gifts and Giving compiles a series of brief thoughts about the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament books of the Holy Bible describe these gifts in great detail. At the time George commissioned me, I was not doing as much print work as I would have liked. Plus, my family are voracious readers, enjoying a variety of topics. Because of these particular reasons, it was truly a privilege for me to create this religious guide’s artwork.

Book cover art – front cover fonts and colors

George gave me a lot of creative freedom for this project. I took a few steps back to ponder how I could properly depict such awe inspiring subject matter. First, I used one of my favorite color combinations, which is blue, orange, and yellow. The bright colors set against the dark background creates a stark contrast. This specific contrast brings the weight and power to the design, which the book’s theme called for.

Also, I jumped at the chance to use one of the many ribbon style fonts that were trendy at the time. This was an appropriate setting, considering that the focal images centered around gift packages. I also made use of the equally trendy Museo Slab font. It spells out the rest of the text content featured in the book’s layout. I set the main titles on the cover over parallel orange ribbon shapes, which rise upward at an angle. This effect makes the ribbons stand out even more. They have a positive, uplifting feel of forward motion.

Focal image and filter effects for Christian book cover design

Completing the front design, a dark and mysterious figure appears in the cover’s background. This mystery man represents the Holy Spirit. The Bible characterizes the Spirit as a comforter, as well as a guide to believers in Christ. The image of Him holding the glowing golden gift package really sums up the main idea of this book’s topic.

I began by selecting the perfect royalty free stock photo for the focal image. In its initial form, it depicted a businessman who is holding a shiny gold gift package. By using the Adobe Photoshop app, I then desaturated it. I followed up by cut the package out from the photo. Next, I separated it into its own layer, situated in the cover’s foreground. I recolored and darkened the background figure blue. After that, I faded him into the black background in order to cement its intriguing appeal.

Graphic design effects and filters for book cover art

Wrapping up the design for this tome’s front cover, I should discuss the effects used in the focal image. Let me clarify that I do not typically make use of very many Photoshop filters in my work. It is easy to overdo effects. Sometimes graphic artists make the mistake of throwing them in haphazardly. Because of this, their work can suffer. This is easy to do, even for seasoned pros. However, I felt that the halftone and glow effects were the appropriate finishing touches. They completed the design in order to convey the spiritual theme of this book.

The ethereal Photoshop filters come together in order to make the glowing golden package pop out. I drove home the spiritual theme on the book’s cover, while still retaining a clean and modern feel.

Book cover art – back cover design story

The quaint wrapped gift boxes on the back cover also reflect the book’s warm and inviting feel. Humble plaid and butcher paper patterns cover the presents. Each of them is wrapped with a tasteful blue ribbon. I faded them into the pale yellow solid background so they would not compete with the text.

The synopsis, as well as the paragraph describing the author’s credentials, are also featured on the back cover. These passages invite both believers and nonbelievers alike to learn about God’s many great gifts to us.

In conclusion, this Christian book cover design was a great opportunity to use my gifts. Specifically, I am referring to creating the perfect graphic design solutions for my clients. I am happy any chance that I get to both honor God with that gift and help a friend with their own passion project at the same time.

Head over to Amazon and pick up your paperback copy of “Lessons on Gifts and Giving”.

Need a book cover designer? Let me design your book cover art

You have finished the long and arduous process of writing the perfect manuscript. After that, you went through the steps of painstakingly editing that content. Finally, your literary labor of love has been completed. Every chapter and every page is now finished. Hold up, you can’t take your book to press just yet! Now you need the right cover design, and it needs to be done precisely to spec by a professional book cover designer. You have completed the hard part, so why not let me make your book cover art easy? I possess the education and experience, as well as the eye for detail to get the job done.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and contact me today.

"Lessons on Strengthening the Church" book cover graphic designGeorge Thompson

Greenville, KY

Here is another book cover graphic design for my old friend George. The author has also been a pastor here in Kentucky for many years. This is a short guide he wrote for growing and strengthening church congregations. As such, I chose to go the literal route with this cover design. Come along with me to the next stop in my journey as a Christian book cover artist.

Christian book cover artist – graphic design story

George liked my idea of juxtaposing a weightlifter along with a shining stained glass window overhead. I simplified the stock photo of the athlete lifting weights to a sepia tone. This makes it a subtle image without completely losing it in the black background, since the stained glass window and the title itself are the main elements. I faded the image of the bench press behind the description on the back of the jacket so the text in front of it is legible.

The title on the front cover has a red grunge frame similar to a rubber stamp. I used the LHF Pilsner Script for the words “Lessons On” for a weighty, vintage feel. “Strengthening the Church” is fittingly set in a strong serif block font. The red and white title pop on the stark black background.

His publisher has very exact standards for formatting. Since that is not his forte, the author requested my help. George entrusted me with the finished format of his original manuscript. I also arranged its indexes to the publisher’s specifications. Buy the book in paperback on Amazon. See also my design for George’s “Lessons on the Lord’s Prayer” cover design.

Hire me for your own book cover graphic design

I truly enjoyed working on this art since physical fitness and spiritual fitness are important to me. I also enjoy visualizing concepts that I am not as familiar with. In some cases you actually can judge a book by its cover!

No matter what your subject matter, I can help you make your work look its best for potential readers. Contact me today.

Analog Apostles CD Art for "The Other Side of the Sea" EP

Analog Apostles

Lexington, KY

I designed this CD art for Lexington, KY alternative rock band Analog Apostles‘ debut EP “The Other Side of the Sea”. Since I played lead guitar in the band at the time, it was a no brainer for me to do the artwork. I was also very involved in the music production side.

Ben, the main songwriter and rhythm guitarist, thought of the title long before we recorded the first note. The album name and many of the songs made references to water, so we decided together on a nautical theme.

CD art – setting sail for the high seas

The four panel digipak layout started with an antique style treasure map background. Then, I overlaid a classical pirate ship illustration in brown as the focal point. The “A” monogram mark from the logo I designed was later superimposed onto the ship’s main sail.

After that, I set the band‘s name in an antique “swashbuckling” style font face. The album’s title then materialized in a classic cursive script. I capped off the design with a ghostly image of the band’s “A” icon over the dark blue ocean background in the tray card. Since the record’s theme suggested high adventure, a hint of supernatural mystery put it over the top.

From start to finish, this record truly was a DIY project. We performed every aspect of the production, from the recording process to ordering the album duplication. Ben’s wife Amanda did a great job with the posed band photography. Our fan base fully funded the CD’s production online via Indiegogo, which is a great fundraising tool for artists on a budget.

Hire me to design your CD art

Are you a band or record label currently hoisting the main sails on a new album? Contact me today for a CD layout design that will shiver your fans’ timbers.