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.

autobiography Blog

Ian Wilson at Martyrs’

martyrs-6-8-posterI bet you thought today was going to suck. Get ready to be proven wrong.

Faithful readers of this here blog know that Ian Wilson is the greatest folktronic piano pop musician not only in the Chicagoland area, but the world. Sadly for the world but happily for Chicago, he will be playing at Martyrs’ on June 8 at 8pm.

Ian, in his infinite wisdom, enlisted me to design the poster for this gig. You can see this very design all over Chicago, and now thanks to the internet you can see it wherever you are now.

Go see Ian play! You won’t be sorry. He’s already got an awesome CD (with half decent cover art) which you can purchase online or in person right after you see him play at Martyrs’. If you see him in person, he may even give you a kiss.

What? You want more? Well, head over to Ian’s blog and check out a brand-new MP3 for your listening pleasure.

Christmas just came early.

NOTE: Friday Robots have been delayed to make room for this important announcement, but fear not! They will appear before the stroke of midnight. Have a great weekend everybody!


Ian Wilson, Musician Extraordinaire!

Ian Wilson is a good friend, fellow Oberlin alum, and the discoverer of radium. Now we can add published musician to the list.

That’s right! Ian has a BRAND NEW ALBUM out, called The Crater EP. Since I’m part of his inner-circle of confidantes, I had a chance to hear his fantastic album already. If you like piano-based pop but hate Billy Joel and really wish you get that awful Joel taste out of your mouth, give Ian’s album a listen. Also, if you want to increase your street “cred” by listening to the latest underground musician before he explodes on the scene, here is your chance. Go quickly, now, because he will be opening for the Rolling Stones in 2010.

As part of his Coordinated Marketing Quick-Strike Task Force, I was hired to conceive and draw his album cover. Now, for the first time, here is the official album art for The Crater EP.

The cover:ianwilson_Crater-EP_Large-Sized-Cover
Front and back cover, including tracklist:ian_wilson_craterCD imprint:ianwilson_Crater_CD_imprint

Want to know what those fish are about? And where the comet fits in? Please refer to Ian’s myspace page to hear his new album. Enjoy the swinging grooves.