Chromacle T-Shirt Design Process (part 1)

2016.10.26 2:08 pm


As an artist and a musician, I’ve always been influenced, to some degree, by metal and other “extreme” music. While the music that I make generally doesn’t fall directly in line with a lot of what’s considered to be in these genres, I’m still drawn to it as an aesthetic, and a sort of anchor point. A while back, I decided to draw a logo for Chromacle in something like a black metal style.


I was super excited about this design, so I burned a screen and made a test print. My plan had been to release this design as a t-shirt alongside the upcoming Chromacle EP release, “Volcus.” While I was procrastinating getting the EP released, a conversation came up where it was pointed out that what the design needed was a ridiculous illustration to go with it. While the conversation was almost entirely joking, it got me thinking. Any worthwhile metal t-shirt of course has some kind of wild fantasy illustration that takes up most of the shirt, which the band logo otherwise incorporated. If I wanted this to be a real as hell metal tee, I would need to step my game up.

Volcus is about life in a future where the primary means of remote communication is facilitated by a bio-interface device called the Volcus. Moreover Volcus is about how people change themselves to fit the medium through which they are communicating. Essentially Volcus is a musical piece about the consistency of inconsistency in human communication, and the extreme emotional highs and lows that such inconsistencies bring.

I decided that for this illustration I would want to stick primarily to just a straight up metal aesthetic, but tying in elements of the Volcus story. Trying to keep things spooky, I started my initial sketch.


And so began the iterating process. Starting first in Photoshop, doing a rough digital sketch


I was much happier with these proportions, but was trying to figure out the best way to bring in the clean but still definitely spooky aesthetic that I was looking for. I began redrawing it in Illustrator.


This style I was very happy with, the decision to bring into a 2-color design, I felt, gave it a much greater sense of depth and life. But it still didn’t have exactly the line quality that I was looking for. In order to better match the quality of the logo, I knew I would need to go back and redraw this refined illustration with pen and paper.


This is where I’m at now, and I’m super excited about how this is going. I’ll be posting a followup with the final steps in making this design, hopefully around when it’s ready to print. Hopefully I’ll be posting more updates here in general about the projects I’m working on. I’ve got a few things that I’m very excited about, and that I will hopefully have time to make a lot of progress on all of them this winter.