Album Artwork Design - DHXP - Solitary
With the recent release of DHXP's album 'Solitary' I want to share some of our behind the scenes process of how we came to the final artwork.
DHXP came to me with initial ideas about presenting a broken face, looking to portray themes of depression and anxiety. We talked about potential styles to do it in photocomposites to help with the realness of the album's content.
We looked at some initial ideas, sketched out fast and rough for overall impressions on the key themes. It's impossible to get a sense of how something will look from a basic stick-man style sketch, but stripping it down to the key themes it represents can help determine which direction to go in. The two that DHXP liked most conveyed turbulence and isolation best, as doodled above, and he also enjoyed the symmetry of them, and asked to combine them.
Exploring the photocomposite angle first, while a great picture, ultimately proved a bit too extreme of a look for the project.
Creepy and dead. It hit the vibe, but was too extreme for the project.
We switched tack to try a more animated style (which at the time of the project was not precisely a forté of mine, but something I am upskilling in for 2021).
Still keeping the overall theme but in this more anime and bright style was a big step in the right direction, and following DHXP's feedback we began exploring toning it down and adding space elements. We substituted the falling girl for a floating & falling astronaut (original source image for this element sourced from Shutterstock, with our own modifications), and had the white of the eye replaced with a night sky shot.
And while we wanted the astronaut to be falling and sinking into this vacuum of space / outer hurricane, he was becoming a little lost. So adding some brighter extra details around his suit helped him to contrast against the black hole. After that it was simply a case of finding the right text, a few tweaks to colours and masking, and presto we had the final look for DHXP Solitary.