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How to: Make an Album Cover

August 3, 2010:

For as far back as I can remember I’ve always been obsessed with making things harder on myself for the sake of the experience. In digital age where photoshop can place the empire state building on the moon and special effects can make the entire world blow up, I find myself using my hands more and more to create things. My latest album cover art is no exception. I adapted an idea that I used for a skateboard design several years ago and brought it to a larger scale. It’s the idea of an organized mess. A jumble of equipment all connected in one way or another to create a stand-alone studio recording system. What made me most excited about this cover was the fact that it’s not too far off from my actual setup when I play.


I grabbed my friends EB and Rachel to help for the set up. We started with nothing more than a bunch of equipment, wires, and an idea. 3 hours, a roll of tape, and several glasses of wine later we had the entire setup ready to shoot. It took another hour to shoot, as well as 15-20 hours of photoshopping to make it work. I will be using this piece for a large photo-print down the road so I wanted as much quality as I could get. Also I wanted a certain look that you get from taking sever photos from straight above each piece of equipment. It’s more of a scanned in look and less of a photographic look. Like most things in my creative world lately if I had way more money and time this would have been much easier. A light-box and a painting scanner would have made this project a cinch. I digress.


Once I lined all of the photos together I had to rework several of the wires and clean up the shadows. 40 hours of work later you have an original album cover. I’ve attached several behind the scenes photos. Also I’m including all of the individual shots that were pieced together to create the finished product so that you can get and idea of the daunting task it was to piece them all together. Enjoy!


The big picture




















And here’s the final product. You can see it in action at www.jonathancombsmusic.com and download the free 3 song EP.