Building Jetty’s “La La Lu and the Lazy Moon”

I recently had the good fortune of working on some album art (and “insert”) for Jetty Rae. Here’s the process leading to final art for her latest release, which is a children’s album, called “La La Lu and the Lazy Moon.”

First, following a series of rough sketches we landed on this concept. Oh, keep in mind we had already defined the “chibi Jetty” style. Along with the type of hat the moon would wear, plus the look of other elements…well, long-story-short, we arrived at this…

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A rough, chibi-style version of Jetty. With ears. On a moon. And that’s when a few mild revisions began…cause it jus’ wasn’t gel’n with our goal. But it was cute though.

ud_110506_02Next we removed both the ears from her head and hat from the moon. I have to confess, there was a cute “panda hat” design that was going to be implemented. But since this sketch had gained traction we decided to move forward. Plus I didn’t need anymore jokes about pandas from Paws.

ud_110506_03The above is a quick color test. Which simply helped in confirming placement of tones, gradients, and overall balance. Typography came next. Since I couldn’t settle on a font I decided to write-out everything using a Sharpies Chisel Tip on laser paper.

ud_110506_04Once the general direction was approved it was time to redraw and ink the original rough sketch…
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…and here it is. Yes. Plain, flat, and filled with mistakes. Mistakes that were correctable digitally. And while I really dislike correcting pieces digitally it’s better than break’n out the white acrylic and having to re-ink.

ud_110506_06Next. Coloring. But before you can color ya have to establish a color library. In this case I decided to stick with Pantone (PMS) “Solid Coated.” The above is a type of “color forensics” of an image, namely Jetty performing, to uncover values comparable to PMS colors. By the end of this step I had every swatch necessary to move forward.

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And this is where the first stage of color landed. Which I immediately didn’t like. The presence of the lines were too strong, the mixture of star styles were working against the piece, the pattern of the stars themselves weren’t convincing, etc. So. I made some alterations.

ud_110506_09Which lead to the above. Now, typography. After testing the previous layout I learned my “L’s” looked like “Z’s” to some. Meaning there was a strong chance viewers might say “Za Za Zu” as opposed to “La La Lu.” So I broke out the Sharpie agin, Tawny Port, a stake of paper…and the results were this…

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Snippets of working type…23 pieces of paper later. Guess my penmanship failed me that night. D’know. So the above was “assembled” in PS and inserted into the layout.

ud_110506_10…and now…a look at some of the finer points of the above.

ud_110506_11Jetty is a “Capricorn.” So I added the “Capricorn” constellation behind the art. I tried looking for the exact pattern in the sky based on the time of her birth plus location…but I didn’t want to ask too many questions ‘n freak her out. So the above seemed fitting. And since illumination in a night sky reduces the visibility of stars I masked the ones within the middle to emulate this effect. Hence the vignetting. A subtle drop shadow was placed on the type to help it pop (aka “pop-pop!!”). The opacity of the lineart was dropped a bit along with a few other tricks. And finally, it was tested on the iPhone (and iPad) for placement issues…

ud_110506_12S’okay. Done. N’ shipped to Team Jetty. They dug it. I smiled big. And shortly after that it was released on iTunes…

ud_110506_13…which makes this my first piece to appear within iTunes. N’doubt.

But the job isn’t done. There’s a stack of Jetty art on my desk for the CD insert project….which I look forward to sharing soon. Meanwhile, enjoy the above along with this lil’ piece. It’s a deviation, created while generating other concepts, and kinda makes me smile…

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