As I was leaving a party a couple of months ago, my friend Shannon, the lead singer for awesome local rock band, Since Antarctica, informed me of the rise of Art Nouveau inspired album cover art. She mentioned Mucha and my ears perked up. I LOVE Mucha’s work – feminine, intricate, design/print oriented, organic…I remember painted a sketch once for Illustration Friday for the word “Homage.”  I’ve not done anything in this style since.

I love portraiture and having the pleasure of painting people I know in real life, whose depth, creativity and passion inspire me is a great, fun challenge. I’ve known Shannon for almost 10 years and our first meeting is one of the most memorable ones. I have hundreds of pictures of Shannon from our past group photoshoots, and at the moment of our conversation, a particular image of her immediately came to mind. Just like that, I’m hooked and told her I will try my hands at a different style of watercolor painting.

This piece was inspired by Shannon’s geared heart necklace that she often wears during performances or parties. The Rockhopper penguins are Since Antarctica’s “minions.” The flowers are one of my favorites, the beautiful and deadly nightshades. The three regal-looking gentlemen at the top are Frantzie, Walt, and Chip. They are talented members of Since Antarctica. While I had absolutely no clue about album cover art or had that intention in mind for this project, I mainly just wanted to paint some awesome people that I love and enjoy knowing.

Below is the finished piece. 23 cm x 31 cm Watercolor on 140 Lb Cold Pressed



My snapshot of the project in progress:

I designed the layout in photoshop first with reference photos I found on the web, or images I have already. Shannon sent me a picture of her necklace, which became the heart of the painting. The image of Shannon is one I took 6 years ago. Reference images of Frantzie, Walt and Chip were taken from their website with their permission.

Then, I turned the layout into a pencil sketch, flushing out the rest of the design during this phase.





I, then transferred the drawing onto my watercolor paper, and inked it with waterproof pens. I used Pigma Microns pens. I don’t have much experience with inking in this manner and this is probably where most of my mistakes were made. Due to the permanence of ink, once the mark is made, it can not be undone. Also, places that were meant to be finer, recede into space have become flat and for a while, I didn’t know how to deal with this. I ended up adding varying weights to different strokes.



This is a blurry (sorry) in-progress snapshot that I sent to Shannon after I started adding on watercolor.



I’ve been working on this project, on and off since October. I wanted to take my time with it, from designing, inking to painting, as well as being aware of mistakes and challenges along the way. In the end, it’s one of my more rewarding work. Despite all the mistakes, and clumsy hand/eye coordination, I enjoyed every minute of it. Thanks Shannon and Since Antarctica for the encouragement!