Hey everyone. It's been a hot minute, hasn't it?
A couple months ago, several musician friends and I, all part of the video game music collective GameGrooves, worked on various pieces of music for the album that I am going to talk about today, Select Adventure, which comes out 15 October!
So I figured I'd do a four-parter. This first part is going to cover the artwork I drew for it, as well as the process by which it was done.
Here it is, in all its glory!
The tentative title -- which was, in fact, the full title and subtitle, Select Adventure: A Celebration of Identity was first floated about in the GameGrooves Discord server in mid-August. Roundabout that time, each musician was in the midst of finalising their tracks, and they were encouraged to write a short description and a long description for their tracks. When I'd mailed off my short and long descriptions for my track, I was asked in reply if I knew an artist.
I chimed in, saying "I am an artist," but I also informed GameGrooves that I was, and still am at the time of writing, strictly nonprofit due to legal circumstances; nonetheless, if they would have me, I would be happy to help them.
They said yes!
The process of overseeing the making of the album, as well as the artwork, was spearheaded by Rahul Vanamali, and had full support of the other GameGrooves staff, including Allen Brasch and Ro Panuganti (the former was whom I liaised with for the album artwork, though I did liaise with Rahul for my track a good bit).
On a side note, both Rahul and Ro have tracks on Select Adventure -- respectively, 5-3 and Heaven Knows, which are tracks 3 and 6 on the album.
For the making of the artwork, I was given access to the premastered versions of all ten tracks, and I was encouraged to draw based on what I heard. The album art was meant to look like "...an old-fashioned map... (something) that looks like it could belong in an RPG or table-top game."
Brief detour: for the typesetting -- which I would do a good bit later -- it was recommended to me that I use fonts used in well-known JRPGs; the example presented to me was that used in the title of the original Secret of Mana, but I couldn't find said font. Instead, I settled with Enge Etienne and Rodin -- two notable fonts. The former is the typeface for Final Fantasy game titles and subtitles, while the latter is the UI text for the Nier games. I also drew the stylised sword in the centre, which serves as the T for both the words Select Adventure.
With the logo and typesetting out of the way, let's get back to the drafting stages of the artwork.
I started by drafting the artwork in good ol' MS PowerPoint -- I found a free-to-use parchment background, copied that into PowerPoint, and drew on it. I also had an asset that I'd drawn several years ago, a classical 12-direction compass rose, that I felt would be fitting here.
I fully intended on adding some notable landmarks to each island / locale, but before continuing, I needed to listen to all ten tracks. I spent the next hour immersing myself in the music of this album, and during the hour, this happened.
I noted that for one particular track, I was struggling to pinpoint details because I didn't want to deviate too far from the actual influence of the track. Nonetheless, I did my best. Once I'd finished scrawling it down, I saved the above as a separate PNG, imported that into Autodesk Sketchbook, and began laying down some rough detail:
And when I'd done up the rough detail, it looked like this:
After that, the process involved me outlining and colouring each island separately so that it could be slowly revealed with each individual track. The next post will cover all of the islands, and what tracks they were based on!