autobiography Blog reviews

this is water, by ian wilson

A while back I casually mentioned my friend Ian Wilson was releasing his first full-length album, This is Water.  I like making big announcements with an understated, New Englander nonchalance; I think it’s funny.  Time passed and Ian worked like an unpaid intern, tweaking a beat here and a backing vocal there.  Well, dear readers, Mr. Wilson has officially released his first magnum opus!
Ian asked me to return for album art duty and I wasted no time accepting the offer.  Listening to the demos, I was determined to draw something as grand as this was going to sound.  Ian added to the expectations when he dared me to dream in technicolor.  As you can see, I went with a muted, two-tone blue.  When you listen to the album, you’ll hear why.
The album has six panels, of which I drew six.  Here are the finished drawings before text was added.  I inked them using two (maybe three?) brushes of different sizes on Bristol board. Color was added using Photoshop.
And here is what the inside panels look like once text, including a quote from Mr. David Foster Wallace, was added.
There you have it, spoilers galore. Ian believes, like myself, that there is something inherently special in physical works of art, be they albums or books.  There are some things best enjoyed when not displayed on a screen.  Pop This is Water into your player (or, okay, put the CD on your ipod) and look at the album art while you listen.  It’s a fulfilling experience.

Purchase This is Water on CD Baby!


autobiography Blog Uncategorized

this is water

My dear friend and fellow Obie Ian Wilson is releasing his first full-length CD, titled This is Water.  Readers of this blog may remember Ian’s EP, The Crater, a five song appetizer for this album.  Ian apparently liked my cover design for The Crater enough to invite me back for This is Water.

Ian took his title from a commencement speech David Foster Wallace gave at Bill Watterson and Paul Newman’s alma mater, Kenyon College.  (Kenyon, like Oberlin, is located in the great state of Ohio.)  I find Ian’s album title to be apt.  Not only are there mentions of water in most of the songs, but like DFW’s speech the songs illuminate without explaining, leaving the listener much to ponder long after the running time has elapsed.

Of course listening to This is Water is much better than reading my words about it, but words are all I’ve got.  Oh yeah!  And pictures.  This is the sketch that became the cover image.
Ian liked the idea of a windblown tree on the (possibly Oregon) coast.  Following his approval, I drew up a few more polished ideas.
Ian hated all of these.  Just kidding.  He liked them.  We both knew the final was going to be in color, so I drew up my final image with that in mind.
This was inked with my tool of choice lately, a Raphael sable hair brush.  After scanning it, all that remained was to choose a color scheme.  We decided a monochromatic scheme would look good both on the printed package and on a tiny thumbnail that people will see on the internet.  After a few variations of blue, we agreed on the final design:
You’ll notice I removed my hand-drawn lettering to make way for a much clearer typeface.

This is the cover, but you’ll have to wait to see the other five panels I drew for the package.  Soon!  Check back here and at Ian’s blog for information regarding the release.