Album Cover Art - The Most Unique and Creative Service
Original album cover art by visual artist Kenal Louis for bands and musicians of all genres. Here you will find the most unique and creative album art portfolio for musicians.
Kenalsworld was founded in 2010 in Omaha, Nebraska. The company is the brand/identity behind the original art I create. With over 8 years of experience in designing single covers and album cover art for countless of artists. My work includes illustrations, graphic design for musicians, solo artists, major and vintage labels and more.
Starting The Design Journey
The Designer & Artist For Hire
Kenalsworld's Art & Creative Designs
Art has always been a major part of my life growing up as a child. Following high shool, I begin a career in graphic design. Initially, I started designing Myspace pages for artists and later got involved in creating flyers, banners and album cover art for musicians.
My Art Is Published and Loved
Celebrities like Zendaya, Ro James, Trevor Jackson, Amandla Stenberg and more have liked as well as shared my art on Instagram. My work has also been published in Afropunk, Kaltblut Magazine and more (visit the Media and Publication page).
Below is an extensive list of my past album cover art and single cover designs. Some designs and artworks did not make the cut for this list.
The album cover thumbnails
For the best user experience, I decided to make the album covers showcased on this page small.
Why is album cover art important?
I would like you to take the time to reflect upon your favorite artist. Can you imagine their album covers or single covers? One of the most iconic figures in music is Michael Jackson and one of the most iconic bands is Pink Floyd. Now when I mentioned these names I am certain they visually come to mind of one of their album cover art works or single covers for one of their finals.
This is the power behind the importance of a great album cover art. The power to be unforgettable. When you create an awesome album cover art for your music project, you are creating something that your fans will recognize you for and that will also be a tool that is forever memorable.
The Benefits Of Great Album Cover Design and Art
· A great album cover art is unforgettable.
· Creating a great album cover art captures the attention of those who judge the book by the cover.
· Look professional and show people that you are serious about the identity of you Music.
· Potential sales with those who judge the book by the cover.
Album Cover Art #1 – “Washed Away” Mixtape
About Washed Away:
The first project in this list of album cover art projects is entitled "Washed Away". "Washed Away" was a personal music project I released in the later part of 2012, which featured seven original songs. Creating the cover art for this project I wanted to illustrate something visually that was emotional, creative and one of a kind.
Washed Away the Mixtape
The "Washed Away" mixtape features a song that I wrote out of love and inspired by emotions felt from personal experiences. Music distribution seems to be getting further and further away from print to fully digital. At the time I created the designs for this project, I also produced some copies of "Washed Way". Below is an actual disk label design I set up with a mirror look to the album cover art.
Inspiration From The Japanese Artist Hokusai
Album Cover Art #1
The Mixtape Cover Design
I used a self-portrait photograph to do a vector line drawing of myself animated, which is in the design of the music project. One of my inspirations as a visual artist has always been Hokusai Katsushika a Japanese artist born in 1760 in Edo, Japan. I first learned about the Japenese artist taking an art class in middle school.
"The Great Wave Off Kanagawa" was the painting that I saw in class. This artwork pushed my love for art even more to its development. I incorporated a small piece of the wave-inspired artwork into the album cover art and design of "Washed Away". Other elements included the cupid style hearts and stars.
The music project featured seven songs all originally written by me and some by producer Will J, with soundtracks/instrumentals that were provided by three other music producers. "Washed Away" was my first actual music project release. Prior I released a few songs online through Myspace and Reverbnation.
"Washed Away" Available for download through Datpiff. Listen download the project; it has accumulated over 9,900 downloads and counting.
"Washed Away" at the Grammy Awards
I was fortunate to collaborate with the print and press company that produced the 55th Grammy Awards program book for the music project and its promotion. I did not receive an award from the Grammys, but hopefully one day I will have the opportunity to work with the organization.
Kenal featured in the 55th Grammy Awards Souvenir Book
For a while, I confused considered my music equal of value to my art but realized I needed to focus on one thing. I decided to give all of my efforts was art.
Mock-up Grammy Hall of Fame Book Cover Designs
A year later I created a few mock-up book cover designs for the Grammy Hall of Fame, which never got published. However, creating the designs for the book helped me further increase my creative vision as well as composition.
Album Cover Art #2 – “Friday” by Rebecca Black
The Viral Song "Friday" Single Cover
The design for "Friday" I was very simple, and I wanted to make it pop with the color red. The song was repetitive and about one day of the week, which was obvious through the entire song. Nothing was poetic about it, and visually I made it a goal to creative a cover art for the project that would have similar effect visually.
"Friday" was a viral song and internet sensation in 2011. The song went viral following a post by Comedy Central's Tosh.0 made making fun of the song, it blew up. When the song started taking off it was not yet uploaded to iTunes or any other online music publishing store, while I was working with Ark Music Factory, no one thought this song would be a hit.
The song became a hit for all of the wrong reasons. "Friday was the most infamous song of the year." There was a rush at that time to get a cover design for the song uploaded on iTunes and Amazon. I had some original photographs captured by the photographer for Ark (Barry Wayne) at that time, I created the single cover and submitted it to Patrice Wilson, and he decided to go with that design for the cover art of Friday.
Friday on Billboard
"Friday" peaked on the Billboard's Hot 100 up to the 33rd spot for the most sold record. The song was pronounced to be horrible from many online sources.
Album Cover Art #2
Artist: Rebecca Black
Friday Single Cover Design
Created for Ark Music Factory
There are many parodies on Youtube ridiculing the song. Some sources compared it to Justin Bieber's "Baby", but I could not understand why people compared the two songs. Justin Beiber had Ludacris on his song and Rebecca Black had Pato, while Justin Bieber had always started becoming a famed artist pre-teens loved.
I also designed some posters for some email blasts for Ark Music Factory. The entire visual designs and brand identity for the indie label came from me as their graphic designer at the time.
Creating The Visual Identity of Ark
Ark Music Factory for a short period was accepting members on their site. I design the logo for the company as well as their website layout at the time the site was receiving a lot of traffic due to the over-exposed song.
On the company logo design page a few variations of logo designs I would create for Patrice Wilson's brand PMW(Pato Music World).
Many more of my brand logo designs for other labels and musicians are also showcased on the company logo design page.
Album Cover Art #3 – “Crush On You” by Abby Victor
About Crush On You:
Working with Ark at the time as a designer, I got a chance to create a few more designs for the other artists that we promoted by the label at the time. One of these young musicians Abby Victor, her video on the original channel where it was released received over 4 million views. Following the release of "Friday", all of the artists that had contracts with Ark Music Factory published singles online.
Similar to the cover I created of Black's "Friday", I designed the unique cover for "Crush On you" using a photograph I received, of the young artist. "Crush On You" well-received songs by the massive group of online trolls that bullied Rebecca Black and Pato for their song "Friday."
The other artists caught a bit of the wave in buzz, which I assume was good for them financially. A majority of negative attention and energy directed towards "Friday" allowed the other singles released by Ark received less harsh backlash. The other songs were considered much better than "Friday."
"Crush On You" by Abby Victor was one of those songs.
Album Cover Art #3
Artist: Abby Victor
Crush On You - Single Cover
Album Cover Art #4 – “Ordinary Pop Star” by CJ Fam
About Ordinary Pop Star:
"Ordinary Pop Star" by CJ Fam was another pop song produced by Ark. The song was about a young girl wanting to be a pop star without all of the dramatic and overwhelming pressure that comes with it. Although we all know, fame doesn't come with much privacy and is something that changes your life forever as a public figure.
"Ordinary Pop Star" Single Cover Design
The single cover design for "Ordinary Pop Star" designed to represent the concept of the song for Ark. The cover's objective was to show CJ Fam as the sole focus of the cover without surrounding distractions. "Ordinary Pop Star" would eventually be pulled from the original channel because it also started to receive negative attention.
Album Cover Art #4
Artist: CJ FAM
Ordinary Pop Star - Single Cover
Album Cover Art #5 – “Butterflies” by Alana Lee
"Butterflies" by Alana Lee received the best feedback on the songs produced by Ark. The exit strategy for the song from the chaos that occurred during the whole viral moment for "Friday" was the most successful. Alana Lee's management re-uploaded "Butterflies" to their channel in time and today the video have over 1.3 million views and counting.
She continued to create music two years following this record.
The cover design for “Butterflies” was bright, simplistic and creates visually to reflect the pop record the best it could. All of the single cover designs for the record label included photographs of the artists for branding purposes.
Album Cover Art #5
Artist: Alana Lee
Butterflies - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #6 – "Convertible Sos" by Sosa
About Convertible Sos:
It's obvious that Hip-Hop is different music genre than Pop. This cover was created sometime between 2007 and 2009 for an Atlanta-based rap artist named Sosa. I created the design for the project entitled "Convertible Sos" to be flashy. And to showcase the lavish lifestyle famed rappers live.
The visual for the "Convertible Sos" album cover art is a design I created as a composite through the use of stock images. One of the sources I used for the stock images is officialpsds.com. An image of a BMW, lavish mansion, and grass field were used to compose the design.
Every hip-hop artist that are ambitious about their position in hip-hop wants to be the best. Often rappers are associated with looking the best, sounding the best and showing that they are the best. Visually the design was created to show the confident hip-hop artist in an environment of luxury with the richest that he valued.
Album Cover Art #6
Convertible Sos - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #7 – "Contact" by Daven Wilson
"Contact" is among my simplest designs that I have ever created for musicians. Out of the many designs, it is one of the few where the title is the artist's name and just the photograph. I collaborated with Daven's manager to create the design for this artist.
As a creative artist, I have to be balanced when working with others to bring their visions to life. I've worked as a freelance graphic designer for the past six years and creating art since I was a child. Whenever I look at this cover design for the "Contact" project, I think it's too simple. However, it was the result the client I worked with wanted.
The direction of this single cover was created to be clean and to focus purely on Daven. Daven Wilson started acting at a very young age on the ABC television show Barney and Disney's Drake & Josh.
Album Cover Art #7
Artist: Daven Wilson
Contact - Album Cover Art
The most important thing is not always the creative freedom or artistic direction sometimes for clients. I've come to respect that when commissioned for a project if I accept to work on a project I must be open to suggestion. Clients in the past have given me complete creative freedom to take them in the right direction for their projects.
Creative Art Development
I mentioned earlier that art had been something I've been doing for years. Through these years I developed many artistic styles I adopted as my own. One of these art forms is digital painting. When I first started digital painting I hated using a tablet to paint or draw. I always thought that the tablet felt too unnatural.
After creating many artworks through the digital art form of painting as well as drawing, using the digital pen became something that felt natural to me. In 2016 I got this bright idea to create illustrations of celebrities, public figures, and friends as Kings, Pharaohs, and Queens.
The first of these illustrations is this artwork of musician and entertainer FKA Twigs. This illustration was one of the most difficult for me to create because I had to figure out how to illustrate her in gold and keep the lighting consistent. FKA Twigs is a unique artist; her sound is very distinctive along with her persona as a musician.
Creating her like a queen I thought was too subtle therefore I decided to make her artwork stand apart from the other illustrations I had seen previous online of the artist. It would have been even greater to have this piece used for her album cover art, but it is a personal visual arts project I created for my royalty art series.
Creating Art Series
Choosing the artists, I decided to begin this illustration series with is a very selective process. Each piece I create is unique to each artist and requires a lot of research before creating the artworks. I found that FKA Twigs was a Sagittarius and found many reference images of the artist.
The FKA Twigs art illustration published on Kenalsworld in an earlier post. The artwork is also available for purchase in the Kenalsworld online art store.
The key thing that I looked for in each image was how her facial features were structured, her body figure, and various hairstyles she had. All of this stuff was imperative in knowing and having embedded in my mind to create the artwork. This artwork took between 20-24 hours of work to create.
Album Cover Art #8 – "Drop Da Guns" by Aaron R
About Drop Da Guns:
"Drop Da Guns" by Aaron R was done at the time of the Trayvon Martin incident and countless other shootings that became nationwide news. It's unfortunate that in the 21st century that racism, as well as hate, still has a significant hold on people. The cover art for this mixtape was an abstract digital composition, which was created to serve as a remembrance of the lost ones and the injustice of the justice system.
We discussed creating a cover art that would be made of imagery surrounding the tension of gun violence. In the piece I decided to include a few black political leaders who forever changed history. The artwork also featured imagery showing people marching and standing for something bigger then themselves.
Album Cover Art #8
Artist: Aaron R
Drop Da Guns - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #9 – "LA Confidential" Song Cover
About LA Confidential:
"LA Confidential" is a song originally by musician Tory Lanez. I covered the song and also created a design for it visually using two of the primary colors used in printing, Cyan, and Yellow. The song is about cheaters and unfaithfulness.
Tory Lanez is an artist born out of Toronto, who have made his mark in the music industry as a rising hip-hop star.
I created this cover for a song cover track. The design of the cover is simple with a photograph with text overlay.
Album Cover Art #9
LA Confidential Song Cover
Album Cover Art #10 – "LA Confidential" Song Cover
Jazz music has been around for many years and Jazz artists like classical music. It is one of the highly respected genres in music, but not the most popular genre that the masses choose to listen to in today's days and age. The cover art for "Vibranium" was as simple as the "Contact" single cover I created for the artist Daven Wilson, which can be seen earlier in this post.
The major different between the albums cover art was not just the photographs of the artists themselves. The big difference was the complete overall project.
Wilson's creative project was for his single cover, while Chris Massey's "Vibranium" was for an album.
Album Cover Art #10
Vibranium - Album Cover Art
The complete design for the project included the following:
Back Tray Card Design
CD Insert Page Layout Designs
Front Album Cover Design
Disk Label Design
Time In New Orleans
I spent a year living in Louisiana in a city between New Orleans and Baton Rouge. I found myself traveling to New Orleans for live music events and to enjoy the art culture of the Southern city. The combination of European horns and African drums created the sound. Of course, some pioneers brought a strategic as well as innovative direction to the music.
The origin of Jazz music is New Orleans and since the late 19th Century the city has embraced its sound of Jazz.
You can listen to "Vibrainium" and other sounds by Chris Massey and the Nue Jazz Project on their website.
Need The Best Album Art?
If you are looking for a great album cover designer, look no further. I will work with you one on one to bring your vision to life in the most creative way possible. The amount of creativity I have is unlimited and whatever your vision is I can visualize it in an artistic manner. I am an artist for hire.
Album Cover Art #11 – "Cold Artillery" by Mike F The Hitman
About Cold Artillery:
In 2011 I created the following album cover art illustration for a music producer Mike F The Hitman. The project as seen below was entitled Cold Artillery." Mike sent me a headshot of him and from there I created the illustration drawing of him.
“Cold Artillery.” Album Cover Art Drawing
The artwork was done to illustrate him as a royal king and behind him was the world and the depth of space. The sound behind the music project was Hip-Hop, and we agreed on creating something visually that would summarize the tone of the project.
Album Cover Art #11
Cold Artillery - Album Cover Art
I mentioned earlier that most hip-hop artist or producers see themselves as the best. This mentality starts from the independent/underground artists and goes all the way up to the music moguls as well as big time super-producers.
Being confident is essential if one wants to go through the jungle of the mainstream music industry and survive attacks that come with the fame.
"Cold Artillery" was among the first digital painting projects I created in photoshop for an album cover. Since 2011, I've gained a lot more skills as well as knowledge on how to produce detailed and more visually appealing artworks. Take a look through some of my digital illustrations and line drawings to see the growth as well as recent works.
All in all, Mike was pleased with the look of the album cover art for his instrumental music album.
Listen to "Cold Artillery" on Reverbnation.
Album Cover Art #12 – "The Compilation" by New Era Global
About The Compilation:
"The Compilation" album cover artwork created for a non-profit organization who provided creative services as well as education for creatives. "The Compilation" was composed using a set of photographs of different individuals from this group working. I created the album cover art through the use of digital collaging.
Music was a big part of this organization's premier focus of support. I discussed the concept with one of the founders or the company along with his vision for this projects album cover art. I composed a speaker box shape out of the images and microphone with a cord also with the set of photographs.
Album Cover Art #12
The Compilation - Album Cover Art
I worked with New Era Global Foundation for over six months on many creative visual projects. The projects ranged from brochures, flyers, album covers, logos and photo-retouching to name a few. All in all, they were pleased with the visual outcome of the artwork composite for the cover of "The Compilation".
Album Cover Art #13 – "FTL" by Ricky Arenas
"FTL" was futuristic hip-hop album project I designed. The artist well received the design for the mixtape, and he liked the direction of the composition.
Influence of The FTL Concept
Growing up a fan of Star Trek I never imagined I would be creating album covers for artists and art. I went through several moments in my life where I thought I wanted to go school to be an architect, animator or another direction in career selection.
Album Cover Art #13
FTL - Mixtape Cover Design
Went I created this album cover art for the artist I felt proud of it. Still today I think I made an excellent composition with the materials I had to work with when I put this creative design together.
I found myself creating some flyers and posters for Ricky Arenas. Myspace was still alive and as popular as Twitter is now at the time I created this album cover design.
The Software Used To Create The Album Cover Art
I am very proficient in the use of Photoshop not just for photo-retouching, but for graphic design, photo manipulation, and digital painting. Sometimes depending on the creative project, I will draw the sketch of my composition or illustration and then scan it to the computer. I've done my digital art using the same method because I am comfortable with drawing freehand with a pencil and pen.
I believe there are a unique signature and beauty sometimes in not having a line that is completely smooth and looks digitally drawn. Although, I respect both traditional forms or art and the digital arts as well.
The Tools Used
· Adobe Photoshop
· Adobe Illustrator
· Corel Painter
Album Cover Art #14 – "I’m The S**t" by Grief
About I’m The S**t:
When I look at this mixtape cover, now I think of world domination. The design concept for this had a militant tone in its direction. A couple of stock images were chosen for the composite of this design to make the artwork for this cover come to life. The idea of having a riot feel war zone in the city was the route that the artist's manager wanted to go.
During the time of creating this project, I was also into design flash banners with Adobe Flash for animated banners. Before flash animation became a thing of the past, I also created several animation projects in Adobe Flash.
Album Cover Art #14
I’m The S**t - Mixtape Cover
Below is the back cover design that I did for the project with layered effects and cutout images through the use of Photoshop.
Album Cover Art #15 – "Inner City Kid" by J. Clancy
About Inner City Kid:
New York is a city that has birthed many of the greatest Hip-Hop/Rap artists. Artists list Run DMC, Salt and Pepa, Nas, Biggie Smalls, and Tupac Shakur. The origin of hip-hop and home of the entertainer culture is evident in New York City.
J.Clancy From New York
J.Clancy is a client I had in 2014 for a mixtape project he released entitled "Inner-City Kid" and at the time I was experimenting with one of my many styles of art. I had done many personal art projects in this style before working on the album cover art for the "Inner-City Kid" cover. Below is the album cover I created for his mixtape.
Album Cover Art #15
Inner-City Kid - Album Cover Art
I begin creating line drawing and digital illustrations in 2012, just two years before working on this project. I developed this style in drawing after attending Omaha Fashion Week event I would go to be inspired. You can take a quick look at some of the fashion designers I featured on the Kenalsworld blog from the event.
I never was a big fan of colors and incorporating colors into my artwork, but after many art experiments, I became intrigued with color combinations, color harmony, and understanding color meanings.
You can stream "Inner-City Kid" on Datpiff.
Album Cover Art #16 – "Young Black & Gifted" by J. Clancy
About Young Black & Gifted:
The “Young Black & Gifted” was completed at the beginning of 2016 as a follow-up/continuation to the “Inner-City Kid” album cover project I created for J.Clancy.
The artwork is a symbolic piece representing black power and the many things associated with being a black person and hip-hop culture. 1973 was the year Hip-Hop was born by DJ Kool Herc in the west Bronx, New York City according to History.com.
Hip-Hop Influence Black Culture
Hip-Hop has influenced clothing design, fashion trends, personalities, poetry, and art. This project for one is an example of art being influenced by Hip-hop. Presentation matters in every business venture. How well you appeal, or your product appeal to others is crucial on validation of your brand.
Album Cover Art #16
Young Black & Gifted - Album Cover Art
"Young Black & Gifted."
J.Clancy contacted me roughly two years later to work with him on the album cover art for “Young Black & Gifted”. I was surprised but eager to take on the project for him. The result was the artwork you see below.
We went through the process of color selection, adding and removing elements, and trying different fonts to see which better suited the overall composition.
This project for the musician was something he wanted to be symbolic but also very creative visually. When I spoke to the artist before creating the artwork, he said he wanted to continue the direction creatively similar to the album cover art we did prior. He mentioned the reaction from those who saw the album cover for "Inner-City Kid" provided him with great feedback.
Why Is Presentation So Important?
Having an official look is imperative for musicians when it comes to their brand and visual identity. I believe every professional in their field should have excellent visual representation to support their business.
I learned while working in retail that merchandising is a big factor in helping sales as well as building customer loyalty. Not everyone shops at thrift shops. I have nothing against thrift shops; some people would rather go to a retail store that cost a bit more because they feel like whatever is presented to them subconsciously looks better, and the atmosphere makes them want to come back.
When you are on a budget you are limited to how much you can spend, so it's normal to want to get the most you can for your money. However, sometimes that's not always the best more to make.
The budget shoppers are usually the customers that come into a store and head straight to the clearance section of the store that they enter. I've experienced watching people come into a store and do the same thing.
Is There Anything Wrong With Clearance?
No, I don't believe there is anything wrong with clearance merchandise. It's where you want to go to get the cheapest deals in a store; though they may not be the best.
Clearance serves as a place where merchandise that was not purchased by other customers carried over. These are the items that some either did not find attractive, thought was expensive, or simply did not interest the majority of the demographics in customers. The last aspect of this is that clearance items are sometimes the things manufacturers send an abundance of, which did not sell.
Items in retail in today's day in age move fast with their turnover times.
I mentioned the previous style in art being influenced by my first visit to Omaha Fashion Week. Below are some of the fashion art illustrations I created in this very same style. Fashion is something I admire because of it's contribution to the arts like music. I know that all of the various forms of art link to one another. Dancing links to music which links to fashion and fashion to dancing.
Album Cover Art #17 – "Get Your Own" by Kaela Freeman
About Get Your Own:
Kaela Freeman is an art I had the opportunity to help build an identity for with her singles. Her mother, also her manager contacted me in 2010 to design a cover for her single “Why Should We Bother” and after that we worked on a few more projects together.
“Get Your Own” was the last album cover project I worked on for the artist in 2013. Since then we’ve work on a total of 5 album covers, which 3 of the five can be seen below.
The cover for "Get Your Own" was classy and to the point.
Album Cover Art #17
Get Your Own - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #18 – "Tear It Up" by Kaela Freeman
About Tear It Up:
One of the other projects I worked on for Kaela Freeman was "Tear It Up" dance and pop record. With this design, I used a license free photograph of laser light stock photo in the background of the subject. The fonts are chosen through DaFont and trial and error. We made some revisions, and I added some motion effects in photoshop to visually give an impression of the fast paced environment the song was suitable for.
Dance music covers majority of the time have vibrant colors, which make them appear to pop out and be more alive. This was the reason we decided to go this direction with the cover art for this project.
Album Cover Art #18
Tear It Up - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #19 - "Why Should We Bother" by Kaela Freeman
About Why Should We Bother:
“Why Should We Bother” was the first album cover design I created for the young artist. It was a big of a mysterious image in a sense, although it was very clear this was a young girl beginning her journey through music. Since creating this album cover, I’ve seen much growth in her persona as well as music.
Her manager and I established a trusting relationship when it came down to my work through graphic design.
Take a listen to the song on Bandcamp.
Album Cover Art #19
Why Should We Bother - Single Cover Design
Album Cover Art #20 – "Weekend" by Kaela Freeman
Developing Client Loyalty
Whenever I have clients return for more work, I feel like I did something right. I always to my best to provide the best visual work I possibly can deliver. I give my best creatively because the work I produce is a reflection of my talent, skill and the quality of my portfolio.
Occasionally I look through my hard drives and find designs or art that I created in the past, and I ask myself "what were you thinking?" and "why did I create this that way." I always believe I could have done a better job. I don't dwell on that too much because I also see the progression in my work and notice the growth in my compositions as well as creative vision.
Album Cover Art #20
Weekend - Single Cover Art
Let's Talk Digital Painting - An Art Form
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Willow Smith is a very eccentric young talent. Being born of two stars I can't even imagine the things she experienced growing up as a child surrounded by her parent's star-studded friends and colleagues. This illustration art of Willow Smith is another symbolic piece specific to her. Similar to the FKA Twigs art illustration I shared earlier, I made this artwork very reflection.
How Long Did It Take To Create This Piece?
The time it took to figure out how to get the impressive of bronze was lengthy. This is one of the artworks that took me over 20+ hours sitting in front of the computer painting. Although, I must admit that I am glad I didn't have to use oil paint to create this artwork because it would take my most likely over 100 hours to create this piece.
Why Would AnyoneTake This Long On An Artwork?
Because of passion and vision.
Small Detail Equal Big Idea
Sometimes I come up with ideas by accident during the process of creating the artwork that I produce. In the eyes of this illustration, I thought of adding some depth into the eyes pupil. I also wanted to give an impression that the world is in her eyes. From a distance and at first glance of the artwork one will not see the detail in the eyes, but I thought this was a clever idea when it came to me.
If you are a fan of Willow Smith or just love this piece it is also available for purchase through the store.
Album Cover Art #21 – "Number One"
About Number One:
I mentioned earlier that I enjoyed the many forms of art. Music is also a very big part of my world. Even as I write this article, I am listening to Ludwig Van Beethoven to help me focus on the thoughts that I write "Number One”.
"Number One" is another personal music project I released at the beginning of 2016. This project is a mixtape featuring 40 songs that I wrote and recorded as a songwriting experiment to showcase my writing ability musically. I am a fan of music and in this project; I have a mesh of hip-hop, r&b, alternative r&b, rock and Creole music.
All of the songs in "Number One" took roughly nine months to record, mix and master from the mixtape release. "Number One" can be streamed on Datpiff.
Album Cover Art #21
Number One - Mixtape Cover
The mixtape can be streamed on Datpiff.
Album Cover Art #22 – "Change The World"
About Change The World:
"Change The World" is one of the songs from Number One that I released on Bandcamp and Soundcloud. The song is about me changing the world through my music. Although I think the gateway to this is my visual art pieces and illustrations.
The song was written inspired by the great black men who changed the world with their voices. The likes of Bob Marley, Racy Charles, Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela. These men are iconic figures and are quoted as well as put on pillars only visionaries can accomplish.
One day I hope to be among the likes of these men who spoke for something profound during their times. The world is a very dark place, and I hope to be a light in it. By affecting a change in the world one song at a time.
Album Cover Art #22
Change The World - Single Cover
Aside from the cover art, I created for "Change The World" I also made a wallpaper and background design to promote the project in small advertisement campaign I launched to drive listeners to the Soundcloud page and Bandcamp.
"Change The World" is available as a free download on Soundcloud and through the download of the "Number One" mixtape via Datpiff.
Album Cover Art #23 – "I Cried"
About I Cried:
I grew up listening to Babyface, Luther Vandross, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, and many other great R&B musicians. All of whom influenced my musical direction a great deal. I was introduced to these great artists and bands by my older siblings. Though I keep an open mind to the variety of music, I listen to as well as share online with my peers.
This song is the only official single I ever released on iTunes and Amazon for sale. When I wrote this song, it was intended to be an emotional record with a melancholy love tone as an R&B ballad.
Designing The Single Cover For "I Cried."
Album Cover Art #23
I Cried - Single Cover Design
When I was getting ready to release this personal music project I did not have any recent photographs and wanted to create a cover that would be memorable for others, whenever they heard the song or thought of it visually.
Album Cover Art #24 – "How It Was Supposed To Be"
About How Was Supposed To Be:
"How It Was Suppose To Be" originally performed by the super producers and artist Ryan Leslie is a cover I rendered.
When I begin exploring music as a hobby, and something I wanted to for the rest of my life Ryan Leslie, Usher, and Ne-Yo was that artists I looked to for inspiration. Ryan Leslie has been a great inspiration to me because his story makes me realize that success is possible if you work hard, sacrifice certain things and invest all you have into the thing you love the most.
Being creatively unlimited is something I truly believe I have. The mindset that we as human beings are unlimited in regards to a number of things we are capable of doing and learning helped me evolve as a creative individual.
Album Cover Art #24
How It Was supposed to Be
The cover of this song can be found on Bandcamp.
Album Cover Art #25 – "Karesse"
"Karesse" is a song I composed and penned in Haitian Creole. I created a cover for this song using one of the erotic couple art pieces I produced in 2011 for an art series. I thought the drawing was the most suitable for the album cover art for the record. It is a sensual and romantic song, and the illustration I created was perfect for the cover.
The reaction I've received from others regarding the sensual drawing has been great. I've had poets and authors contact me in the past to use this image for their book covers or as a part of a project they want to publish. Others have reached out to me to create an artwork similar to them.
The art piece itself is available for print orders through my Fine Art America art store.
Album Cover Art #25
Karesse - Album Cover Art
Cover Designs For Personal Projects
The next six album cover artworks and designs were all created for personal projects I released online as songwriting or recording expressions.
Album Cover Art #26
"Princess of China"
Album Cover Art #27
"Remedy of My Heart"
Album Cover Art #28
"Skip A Beat"
Album Cover Art #29
"Thinking About You"
Album Cover Art #30
"Welcome To The Party"
Album Cover Art #31 – "Legend City"
About Legend City:
Yung Legend was one of the artists I had to design for during my time working with New Era Global (the non-profit entertainment and media company). I created an illustration with him as a digital painting with an upside down city underneath him as the first concept for "Legend City" his album. However, the team decided they wanted to come up with something less artistic. The route we went was with something more luxurious in order to focus on Yung Legend in a different light.
Photograph vs. Digital Painting
A design with him sitting in the driver seat of the Rolls Royce or Bentley was the concept they chose over the digital painting. Although my favorite cover was the one with him painted, it's not always about what I like or wants to create as a creative artist when collaborating with others... not unless I am the creative direction and have the final choice to make for the brand or company I am working with.
Album Cover Art #31
Legend City - Album Cover Art
This concept with the red background took far longer than it took to create the design seen above. In the end, the client was more satisfied with the tone blue design.
Album Cover Art #32 – "Girl Swag"
Album Cover Art #33 – "My 1st Love"
About Girl Swag:
"Girl Swag" was another single cover I create for Ark Music Factory the label that was responsible for the Rebecca Black viral song "Friday."
Girls Swag - Single Cover
About My 1st Love:
"My 1st Love" is an artwork I created for a singer/songwriter Lost Star of David. This project was collage piece I put together for the artist to be a visual narrative as a direction of the song.
My 1st Love - Album Cover art
The following designs are a few more concepts I created for a dance music artist called Maor.
Album Cover Art #34
The Project Title
Working with Maor
Maor is a trance/pop/dance musician I've also worked with several times on digital art projects. "Exit" is the last album cover art concept we worked on together. Every design we've done are unique to the song he released.
Album Cover Art #35
The Project Title
“Victory No More Rain”
The overall direction for the design was to create something sleek, edgy, and slightly futuristic.
Every time I look at both of these cover art, they remind me of the Matrix for some reason. It is one of my favorite projects in the body of work that I've created for musicians. The minimal design aspect behind it and the clean look makes it a unique design.
Album Cover Art #36 – "The Many Faces of Love" by Pamela Kirlew
About The Many Faces of Love:
"The Many Faces of Love" is a gospel music album I designed for in 2009. In the design for this project, I create a style in gold for the text of the artist's name. The album cover art is classy and touching with the photograph used as well as the gesture of the artist. This is one of the few designs I've ever done for a Contemporary Christian/Gospel musician.
Having a great design or artwork for an album cover is something every musician in a mainstream level value, whether they make Pop, Rock or Gospel music.
This design for Pamela Kirlew was created to symbolize and inspiring music project. The photographs were shot for this album cover ahead of time and were provided to me for the formatting, styling, and composition of the album design.
Album Cover Art #36
The Many Faces of Love
Album Cover Art
Overall the artist and her manager were pleased with the outcome of the album cover art for her gospel album.
Album Cover Art #37 – "Lose Control" by Pato
About Lose Control:
"Lose Control" is the first project I created for Pato (Patrice Wilson). Following this design, I created a few more work with him for various artists. The design contains the Nigerian flag and an abstract highway photograph. I composed the album cover art with a direction and tone of a dance record.
The song we created this design for was an international world song. This album cover art for Patrice led to other graphic design related projects we created together, which would eventually lead to the creation of Ark Music Factory.
Album Cover Art #37
Lose Control - Album Cover Design
Album Cover Art #38 – "Blast Off" by Renee
About Lose Control:
"Blast Off" is a project I designed that in unreleased. I am not sure whether the song was ever released, but this design is something I was very proud of because of the through behind the project. A photograph of the singer/songwriter was sent to me on a backdrop holding an umbrella. From the photograph, I built a composite of a rainy night with a car behind and rocket launching for taking off.
When composing work like this album cover art, a lot of research is required and a good amount of time is necessary for finding the right images that will work to make the composition seamless. This design is futuristic and a bit stylistic in fashion.
Album Cover Art #38
Blast Off - Album Cover Design
Album Cover Art #39 – "Melinda Madness"
Album Cover Art #40 – "Stripped Ballad"
About Melinda Madness:
About Stripped Ballad:
Melinda Madness - Album Cover Art
Stripped Ballad - Album Cover Design
"The Ghost Within" is another album cover art I produced for a dance/trance sound producer. He came across a cover he wanted to create something similar to, and we worked around the concept that he saw. The piece is a digital painting I created using Photoshop.
"Stripped Ballads" is another album cover that was unreleased. This cover is one of my favorite covers in my portfolio. Her photographs along could have been the cover for this music project. I spent some time figuring out how to create her name in the gold effect. The color selection of gold, tan, yellow and red was the core focus in the direction behind this design.
The Art of SZA
This Illustration of Sza is another piece from my Royalty Art Series of the songstress. Like the Willow Smith, and FKA Twigs art pieces this artwork took over 20 hours to complete. Although it is not the official cover for the artist, it is one of my many original artworks I have for sale in my art store. I've had a few suggest this style of art could be an album cover.
I did create an album cover for a rising artist in this very style, but cannot release the design until the project is complete.
Capturing Sza's beauty was the goal in the artwork. Her freckles, lips, eyes and essence makes her unique as a musician. As a creative artist and illustrator, I wanted to magnify the beauty that was already there.
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Album Cover Art #41 – "Cruise Control" by TBA
About Cruise Control:
The concept design for the project’s album art starting as a drawing. "Cruise Control" is a digital painting I created of the hip-hop duo to illustrate their journey through music together. Driving towards the horizon as the sun sets for a new day. Immediately seeing this cover art I could not remember why I added the train tracks in front of the car.
The idea of a cruise control was something automatic that worked with a guide. This is also a reflection of the musicians heading on the right path. "Crusie Control" is one of my works using digital painting as a style in creating album cover art.
The group was also pleased with this project, and I created the logo design as well for their record company along with promotional flyers for a few other ventures they had.
Album Cover Art #41
Cruise Control - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #42 – "Unorthodox EP" by N.PA
Album Cover Art #43 – "Main Bravo"
About Main Bravo:
"Unorthodox" is another Dance/Trance album cover design I created for a track/beat producer. The design composition is abstract, metallic and dark to reflect the mood of the music album. Creating a city in deep darkness surrounded by stars with one light source was the inspiration. The approach of this album cover art was a minimalist direction in design.
"Main Bravo" is the first design I created for a music album cover for New Era Global. This cover served as a first design for the non-profit organization. The design represented the closed curtain, which would be opened through the exposure of this brand and company. I thought the theater was a great way to show visually the transition that N.E.G was going through at that time.
Unorthodox EP - Album Cover Art
Main Bravo - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #44 – "My Perfect Mistake" by Y'lloh
About My Perfect Mistake:
"My Perfect Mistake" is an album cover design I created for Y'lloh a singer/rapper. This cover has been developed using a merged technique in photoshop combining four different photographs of the artist onto one blended image. The metallic texture of the font in gold is a similar technique I created in a previous design for another artist by the name of Sonya Kahn in an earlier design.
Her style, as well as persona alone, made the album cover design unique.
Sometimes the most powerful thing in the brand and marketing of an individual is their visual presence. It had long been said that sex sells. Most mainstream artists are led to believe that they are idols, which their fans want to be like them or fantasize about being with them as stars.
Album Cover Art #44
My Perfect Mistake - Album Cover Art
Below are two other designs that I created for Y'lloh for other projects.
In the past, I've found myself not taking on many projects and passing on working with musicians because of the poor quality of their images.
Again, this thought that the work I provide to others is a reflection of me as well as what I am capable of doing. One of the things I normally do when designing or illustrating album covers for musicians is provide many prototypes.
I believe in being able to deliver multiple options. As a creative artist I am unlimited in creativity. Therefore, I take pride in being able to deliver alternative concepts with different art different for my clients.
Album Cover Art #45
Rockstar - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #46
This Life - Album Cover Art
"This Is Life" is one of the only designs I've created with some 3D implied graphics. Although the text is the only part of the design that is 3D, it is one of the unique works in my album cover art portfolio.
Album Cover Art #47 – "Becoming Thurston Ray" by Thurston Ray
About Becoming Thurston Ray:
Thurston Ray is a Neo-Soul musician I created this album cover design for. Although, the design for this album cover is not abstract or visually overly artsy for an artwork it’s clear in direction. The design is original and represents entirely the direction the artist wanted to convey. "Becoming Thurston Ray: A Human Experience" is about his journey. We collaborated in thought on creating a design that illustrated a diary look in design.
Using the written font and black paper texture was all the artwork needed to complement the photograph. The font I also in white was done in purposely to look visually like chalk on black.
You can listen to this album by visiting Thurston's music on his website at www.thurstonray.com
Album Cover Art #47
Becoming Thurston Ray - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #48 – "The Cook Up" by Chris Rogers
About The Cook Up:
"The Cook Up" is an album cover art I created for a Hip-Hop Artist by the name Chris Rogers. I cannot recall much about the project other than the sleek look and direction of the design.
Creatively the goal for this project was to illustrate the artist in a business attire. The business attire and the placement of the chalkboard behind him was to signify a class in session.
In a way the objective was to convey that the listening was going to learn through the music.
Album Cover Art #48
The Cook Up - Album Cover Art
Album Cover Art #49 – "Heart of The Ghetto" by Yung G
About Heart of The Ghetto:
This project was one of the first mixtape cover designs I did. It was done in the method of collage that many common mixtape cover designers would do. However, my objective was always to create album covers. Whether it was a mixtape or a single I wanted when a viewer saw my work they thought "album" first.
The cover for the mixtape featured the artist Yung G as well as two of the hottest rappers at the time, Lil Wayne and Kanye West.
"Heart Of The Getto" is a mixtape cover I created for a South Florida hip-hop artist. Visually I wanted the project to be close to seamless with the two major rap artists behind Yun G. I used some effects and filters to create a blended look as well as feel for the cover art.
Album Cover Art #48
Heart of The Ghetto - Mixtape Cover
4 Things To Avoid In Creating Album Art
No URL's or Full Web Addresses
Avoiding using long URLs is something that I recommend when creating album cover art. This is a big no for the front cover especially. If the music project being published is going to be print, it is also not recommended to have websites on the project cover art, even in the back.
In some cases, if the project is going to be released only digitally and used to direct traffic to a particular site it could be done (I still would not recommend doing something like this on the front cover design).
Do You See The Cover As a Thumbnail
I once learned in illustration class that when designing a logo or graphic design for something like an album cover, it is good practice to envision the artwork as a thumbnail. This is a test to make sure that regardless how small the design make get it will still be clear, and the direction/impression does not change much.
A Name or Title Not Always Need
With more contemporary artist today and the development of minimal art, a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes allowing the viewer to come up with their perception and figuring out the message behind a project is a strategic way to market a music project.
The only drawback to this is if a brand has not yet been established for the musician or band the project belongs to.
Face Value or Art
I am a believer that new artists should always debut their albums with a visual of themselves. Your facial features are the most unforgettable thing about you as a human behind. In the case where you have a distinct persona and visual presence, this alone will make you memorable.
Faces on album cover art get more attention than any form of cover designs. The connection that comes from someone’s eyes as mentioned in this post on sonicbids creates an automatic engagement with the viewer.
Album Cover Art #50 – "Memories of The Future" by Young Blaze
About Memories of The Future:
Before I share the details of the last album cover design. "Memories of The Future" is one of the rare designs that was never used the artist. He envisioned a cover design that had some world-wide monumental symbols in a scene as he stood looking at them from the distance. We also discussed a movie poster feel in regards to the creative direction.
Designing For Clients
I created quite a few variations of the design, but the musician decided to go with another design for his album cover suggested by his team of supporters. Overall I was very pleased with the outcome visually of the album cover art.
Album Cover Art #48
Memories of The Future - Album Cover Prototype
However, the final product of any of the artworks I create for clients is mostly never my call. I can't recall I time where I chose the final design for a customer. I have given suggestions in the past, and some of what I suggested from the many revisions we create were selected for their final projects.
The artist did decide to go to another designer, which was a disappointment. However, this was a challenge for me creatively in regards to utilizing perspective and scaling.
Conclusion of The Album Art From My Portfolio
Why Is The Look of An Album Cover Art So Important?
Album covers are meant to be memorable and a creative visual representation the talent behind a project a musician or musicians put together. A lot of time, resources, collaborations, money and creative production goes into producing quality the music. Having the right album cover art is very important to musicians. It is the equivalent of the logo design companies creates to represent their brands and corporations forever.
When designing for artist and musicians here are a list of some of the things I require.
- There visual goal/purpose
- Quality photographs if using their portrait
- Clear direction of the style they are looking for
- Great communication back and forth regarding the revisions
Iconic Art of Famed Artists
There are a countless amount of mainstream artists who have released music in the past with iconic album covers. Some album covers were simple and others very complex.
My favorite genre of music is R&B and when I think of my favorite musicians and bands I see not only their faces but I see the album cover of the best song I associate with these artists. Most of their album covers were portraits, but we have gotten more complicated with brand identity and music personas.
Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and FKA Twigs are some of the most eccentric and peculiar artists I think of when I think of unique musicians.
Michael Jackson’s Album Cover Art
I was born in the Caribbean and even on a small island, we knew who Michael Jackson was. Michael was a mega star who impacted the world through his songwriting, voice, and talent in entertaining. He used his ability to touch on sensitive topics and help liberate the minds of many through his musical gift.
As a musician, I love Michael Jackson for his music and as an artist, I admire him because he was a fan or art. Not many years later after his death, his art was made public. Michael himself would draw and paint images. The man was a very creative being who became both famous and infamous for certain things, but a legend as well as an iconic figure he was indeed.
"Escape" and "Dangerous"
These two album cover art pieces created for his music releases "Escape" and "Dangerous" are some of the most creative covers I have ever seen. Though "Escape" was not direction by Michael because it came after his death, I believe he would approve of the cover chosen for this music release. "Dangerous" was an abundance in symbolism incorporated into the illustration of the cover. It was a magical as well as very mystical cover representing the things that Michael represented as well as his music.
Controversy of The Cover
There have been some individuals who claim that Michael Jackson was part of the Illuminati and that this album cover was too symbolic of many dark things. I do not know what every image represents, but I do agree that there is a heavy amount of symbolism in this album cover art.
Janelle Monae’s Album Cover Art
Whether it is her music video production and art direction or the wardrobe she wears to an award show, she stands apart. The power behind her visual representation and identity as an artist is consistent as well as very creative.
Janelle Monae is a distinctive artist, and she values creative direction. These are two designs that were done by artists she hired to bring a creative vision to life for her music albums.
Experience In Creating Album Art
In 8 years I’ve worked with many musicians as well as labels on creating creative art for their brands and artists. The range in the body of work produced is from Hip-Hop, R&B, Pop, Rock and various other styles.
A Composition Expert
Whether you are looking to create a design or artwork that will be for promotion online or in print; I am familiar with multiple formats as well as compositions. I consider myself an expert in composition and layout designs.
Quality Work Worth The Price
From brand consultancy to art direction and graphic design, we’ll help to refine and develop your existing identity in the marketplace, or design a complete refresh and overhaul for your brand – or band. We offer a creative full service, including digital and print marketing, logo design, tour merchandise and apparel design.