A friend and I took a trip last year to write and record some music. We’re putting out a 3 song EP with some of that material fairly soon. Here’s a little preview of an album cover concept I’ve been working on.

The Background

Basically, this cover is taking inspiration from old book covers from the 60s and 70s. I’ve always loved the colorful patterns, clear silhouettes, and flat design of these books. Here’s one cover that I really love.

Modern Nuclear Technology

Modern Nuclear Technology - cover by Rudolph deHarak

I tried to match that color scheme as closely as I could for the Pea Soup cover.

After selecting a color scheme, I knew that I wanted to use a flat pattern of some sort. Older books sometime have these really intricate marbled endsheets that are really distinct. These are made by dipping the paper in ink suspended on water, a technique that’s been around since before the 15th century. Here’s a good example of what these endsheets look like.

Extracts from Arte y vocabulario en lengua mame

Extracts from Arte y vocabulario en lengua mame

These patterns remind me of certain fractals, so I decided to use a fractal as the background pattern for the EP cover. So I used the GIMP image editor to explore a Barnsley3 fractal and found some settings that looked like ink. After finding the right fractal view, I applied a gradient of my selected color scheme to it and ended up with this.

Pea Soup EP background fractal


The next layer of the image focuses on the myself and my bandmate (not pictured).

Here are some examples that I drew inspiration from.

Clans of the Alphane Moon

Clans of the Alphane Moon - cover by Davis Meltzer (1972)

The Uncommitted

The Uncommitted - cover by Rolf Williman

Since the background fractal is so visually busy, I wanted the foreground to be simple and readable at a glance. A side view silhouette seemed appropriate. To provide even more contrast, I placed a flat circle behind my silhouette.

The final step was to make the cover seem even more aged by adding a sheen to the background fractal. Rather than place a cloudy sheen over the entire image, the sheen goes over the fractal and circle but goes under the black silhouette. This makes it stand out more clearly from the lighter background.

Pea Soup EP

Pea Soup EP - work in progress

Now all I need to do is add another silhouette for my band mate and decide on fonts and text placement.