29 April, 2015

Zombie for a Day

© Mikael Peltomaa

Being a zombie is not easy. You have lots of dressing up to do - not to mention all the make up to make you look like the part. Then you'll have to walk painfully slow (or sprint really fast if you're one of the more nimble ones!) and act like you're totally brainless. Well, at least that last thing I can pull out with reasonable credibility.

The event was called Zombie Run Pori 2015 and it was held 25.4. in Pori's beautiful Kirjurinluoto park. There were hundred or so survivors whose goal was to run 4,5km long route to the safe area guarded by military. Problem was, the area was riddled with obstacles and of course - zombies!

I'll walk you through my day as a zombie.

I said being a zombie is not easy. I might have lied. At least my day as a zombie was a breeze. Thanks to my sister who had set everything up (with whom I attended the event too) - I just needed to sat down on a make up artist's bench and wait for my decay. Hanna Mäkelä was responsible for my gruesome transformation into a living dead.

© TGphotography (www.gronmanphotos.com). Make up: Hanna Mäkelä.
© TGphotography (www.gronmanphotos.com). Make up: Hanna Mäkelä.
© TGphotography (www.gronmanphotos.com). Make up: Hanna Mäkelä.

The finished results. I went with a military look that I already had a suitable wardrobe for. Little fake blood and tearing up the clothes added the finishing touches. Foul attitude and mindless behavior came naturally.

With my sister we were part of the zombie group stuck in a corridor that the poor survivors had to run through. Being a zombie of course I didn't had any tactics - but I just might have tried few different approaches to spice things up. Sometimes I was in the front of the corridor and sometimes in the exit. Sometimes I was slow and sometimes I was fast. Sometimes I was just screaming from the top of my lungs and sometimes just looking idly into nothingness.

© Jarno Kylmänen

But probably my favorite thing was sit by the exit of the corridor, wait for the runners to go by me - and then just go after them like bat out of hell. I might have scared a few that way.

© Jarno Kylmänen
© Jarno Kylmänen
© Jarno Kylmänen

I probably should have started this blog post saying being a survivor isn't easy - that seemed to be the hard part of this event. I think being a zombie is easy, after all.


26 April, 2015


Thus far I've been working exclusively with various different metal bands. Mostly because that's where my roots lie and that's what I've been known doing. But I am more than happy try out different kinds of projects - so I was very pleased when blues influenced Finnish rock trio Six Minutes After approached me (with a little advertisement from my little sister) when they needed a cover for their upcoming EP "Rose".

Two things made this project special - it was going to be in colours and in addition to the cover I would draw designs for the whole EP. I drew inspiration from Art Nouveau and wanted trying painting with thin watercolour like paints that would create serene feel.
Hand With a Rose.
First thing I drew for this project was the skeleton hand holding a rose. I did it to demonstrate to the band what I was after and I thought it would make a great design for the CD.
 I wanted a continuous picture that would go around from the front to the back. The girl - Rose - would be one of the focal points in addition to the hand holding a rose. Rose field would wither on the other side of the picture and the skies would grow darker. But of course, both sides would have to work on their own too.
Rose 1/2.
Rose 2/2.
 For the final cover, the image was flipped as it worked better that way with the album name and logo.
Six Minutes After - Rose (CD EP, Six Minutes After, 2014). / Layout by Eero Kurru.

 All in all - it was fun project in many ways. I got to draw and test new things and the guys in the band were great. But one thing is sure - I'm not drawing roses anytime soon. I lost count at 330 roses.


22 December, 2013

Arkham Library

The opportunity to do cover art for Arkhamin Kirjasto was in a way dream come true for me. Not only because Jussi Lehtisalo is just great guy to work with - but also because H.P. Lovecraft is the single biggest inspiration for my art. Like the name suggests - the band 'Arkhamin Kirjasto' (Arkham Library) also draws its atmosphere and lyrics from the Cthulhu mythos.

It was also an opportunity to do something else. So far most of my works have included somekind of monstrosities and landscapes - it was clear from the beginning that I would want to do scene that would illustrate the library of Arkham. Maybe some monstrosities too, but in a more subtle way (we'll it ended up being bit more than subtle...).
Works of H.P. Lovecraft are great inspiration.

The artwork for "Undead Priest of Holy Trinity of Death" 7" EP shows a scene inside Arkham Library. A ritual of some sort has gone badly wrong (or working as intended, who knows!) and monstrosities are crawling out from their hiding places. The tendrils are drawn towards the elder sign in the painting - which is coming to life on its own, releasing who knows what cosmic horrors to this world.

Arkham Library.

I like paintings where there is new details to be found each time you look at it. Sometimes they can be subtle hints of mood, sometimes just lots of details which tell a story of their own. This was probably the first time I really wanted to add as much details as I could - as previously I have mostly tried to concentrate on the mood and bigger picture with maybe a single focus point. I did my best not to hold back, just add everything that came to my mind. The center of the scene is less crowded, I intended that the logo would be added there but as the artwork became more or less finished it became obvious that it wouldn't work.

Arkhamin Kirjasto - Undead Priest of Holy Trinity of Death (7" EP, Full Contact / Ektro Records, 2013). / Layout by Musta Kirahvi.

It was great fun to make this, and hell of a lot more work that I anticipated - details can be very time consuming. But like I said - lots of fun. Hope you like the end result.


25 November, 2013

Swallowed by the Void

"Swallowed By the Void" by Lie In Ruins originally came out as a CD 2009 - but finally 2013 the LP version saw the light of day.

I contacted the band after a live show in Pori several years ago - and after few years of long wait it finally paid off. I got mail from the band asking me to do the artwork for the LP release of "Swallowed by the Void". I pretty much got free hands to work on the LP cover.

Original artwork of the Swallowed by the Void CD done by Roni Ä.
I wanted to stay true to the original - just make my version in a bigger scale. With gatefold covers I was able to do the biggest artwork that I have done so far. Originally I planned to do it as a one big picture but it would have been too big for me to work on - it was more practical to do it in two separate artworks that - if not seamlessly, atleast story wise - continue where the other one ends.

Swallowed By The Void 1/2
Frontside of the artwork is actually where the story ends. Swallowed By the Void - be it the gaping chasm or devouring vortex - the poor souls are still devoured in a way or another.

Swallowed By The Void 2/2
Backside is where the story starts, people drag themselves towards the impending doom.

Lie in Ruins - Swallowed By the Void (LP, Nuclear Winter Records, 2013). Cover. / Layout by Tlmnn.

Lie in Ruins - Swallowed By the Void (LP, Nuclear Winter Records, 2013). Backside. / Layout by Tlmnn.

28 December, 2012

On the Edge

"Abyss" is the art for the German death/grind band Depression (http://www.depression-grind.de/) for their 2013 7" Split "Abgrund".

Its a strange piece because I had no idea what I was about to make - until I started making it. Even though the band requested in something in the vain of "Left Hand Path" by Entombed, it only gave me a basic idea that I want something organic - but I didn't want to make a direct copy. It was very inspiring (beause Left Hand Path is a great cover!) and difficult at the same time.
Left Hand Path
I mean, I just basically started drawing with really no idea what I was doing. I rarely get anything feasible done that way but this time I guess it worked. First, the giant "ribcage" started to emerge from the landscape and the roots followed soon after. The figure on the center was the last thing missing.

Original sketch for Abyss.
 Minor adjustments were made and details were added to the final piece but the basic idea and composition remained the same.
Art waiting to be inked

Okay, I promised to dwelve little deeper on my actual inking techniques - even though Im not sure if there's much to tell. Like I revealed in my previous posts, I use only size 4 brush - it seems to do th the trick for the most part. But before that, I like to have a clear idea what Im doing - ie. the sketch needs to be detailed enough. Its not fair to say that the creative process stops when the inking starts - because its not true - but it still has some validity in it. Mainly its following the footpaths you've created using pencil - speeds up the inking process when you really have thought through what you are going to do.
The way I do it, from top to bottom. First I usually line the edges in one certain area and continue from there.

With my first ink pieces I painted over bits I didnt like with white paint and re-did some parts. But not anymore, if something doesn't work - I make it work somehow! Mistakes can and will happen and you just have to make it work, redoing something too much will make it loose its edge. You need quite a lot of patience at times. It is still much about creating with the ink, no matter how detailed the sketch is. Because different things and techniques work when you are using pencil - and other when you are inking. You have to be able to see that while you are working and not get too fixated. I am not a great inker but I've found my "comfort zone". But I constantly try push it because its the only way to learn.
The background done. It sets the tone but the devil is in the details which are yet to be done.

Detail of the background.
It takes quite many hours to do the inking alone but its fun to see as the image builds up.

Depression - Abgrund (7" Split with Eroded, Suffer Productions, 2013). In the release version the logo is red.

Hope you like it - if you do, please leave a comment. Heck, you can leave a comment if you don't like it.

Also, I've recently opened my Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ArtOfEeroReiniaho) - please go and "like" to stay updated.

Until next time,


17 October, 2012

From Sketch to Chaos

I rarely show my sketches but this time I make an exception. Just to show how my work progresses from an idea that I talked back in my previous blog post, using the tools that I have (again, previous blog post) to a sketch that I can show to my customers - and hopefully finish too. Don't worry, you'll get to see that finished art too.

Creative process isn't always straightforward. More than often, it needs time to grow - either with time or with some other methods. Sometimes its a combination of may things. Black Chaos cover art for example, that I did for Italian death metal band Profanal, took a long time to finish. Mostly because it wasn't meant to be cover art for anything in the first place!

I have very little time for my own projects but "Black Chaos" the artwork started its life as a random idea in my head that I tried to translate onto paper. I didn't had any comissions going on at that time so I kinda forgot it after I wasn't entirely happy with the sketches.

Original sketches. I made atleast four sketches I think - two of which are shown here.  The idea didn't really had any name yet, but it had been given birth.
Black Chaos got lost and the idea didn't emerge again until some time later when Stench of Decay needed cover for their "Visions Beyond Death" 7" EP. I started pondering with the idea how to incorporate Stench of Decay elements to the image but the things I tried didn't feel right, it just didn't work. So I did something else for them (http://eeroart.blogspot.fi/2012_05_01_archive.html).

Again, the sketches and idea was lost until the band Profanal approached me with a need for cover. Right after they revealed their album title - "Black Chaos" - I knew that my sketch had been given a name. I knew just to what to give to them. But the nice part is that even after that, the idea continued to grow thanks to the input of the band.

This is the actual sketch I offered to the band Profanal.
The feedback I got from the band was to lose the planets and make the island more prominent, evil and gross. Those were valid points, its all about the island that is chaos. With the claws and huge spikes protruding from the island it made it much more sinister and much more like a living, gargantuan organism that sole purpose would be wreak havoc and chaos.

The actual artpiece just before inking.

There you have it - sometimes its a very short and direct road but with this, lets just say it had time to mature. Finished art:

Black Chaos - all done.
As you can see, once I am committed to my final sketch, very little changes are made until the art is complete. Finished cover art for the soon to be released album:

Profanal - Black Chaos (CD and LP, Iron Tyrant Records, 2012)

Next time - you might have guessed it, its all about the actual inking process. Until that time, feel free to leave a comment!


06 September, 2012

Tools of The Trade

I don't have any art education - im self taught - and it shows! When it comes to learning new techniques, drawing new things or trying new approaches it takes a considerable amount of effort because I'm just clueless at many occasions. It is easy to stick to what you know how to do - much harder to something new. But I dont mind, somehow I manage to finish things which always isn't a given. I have tons of drawings from my early days - not many of them are finished. Now, I get more pride just to bring a conclusion to an artpiece Ive been working on for a long time.

I use quite simple, basic items to do my art - here's pretty much all I need:

Things start with a sketch. Well, to be precise - not quite. Things start with and idea. Usually not a very grand or original idea - if its up to me - but an idea altogether. But mostly I'm lucky - customer has usually an idea what they want and its a real big help. Sometimes very detailed, sometimes just broad guidelines - but its  a starting point anyhow. Then comes the sketch where I try to grow the idea and give it life.

It can be a rough sketch:

Or it can be just a detail of the bigger picture:

But a sketch anyway. After that Sepulcral cover I've been drawing much more detailed sketches which seems to be helpful. In addition to the details I get a much better feeling how the final piece would look like. Nothing fancy when sketching, just a HB pencil - and a 2B to bring out the details. I could use much harder pencils but somehow I just tend to break the paper with them so I just stick to my trusty HB.

I do sketches either A4 or A3 - it depends. Like I mentioned in my earlier blog posts - I like it big. It gives me freedom. Details. Continuity. Lots of things. Bigger the better.

I re-draw the sketch to my (roughly) A2 size paper and start inking from there. Just basic Indian ink and a size 4 brush. I bought smaller size brushes but I never actually use them. Size 4 can hold decent amount of ink in it, so I dont have to constantly dip my brush to get more ink - and if its a good quality brush, its actully good enough size for details too (given that you're painting on a big enough paper!).

Ive yet to find a successor to my green brush - its amazingly durable, its been in my hands trough every single of my works Ive done with ink! I can't believe its still working - I've bought couple new brushes but they hardly seem last one session - let alone thru the entire work. And they've been made of badger or whatnot! Sadly, can't even remember where I got that green brush or let alone what's it made of...

Paper I use is bit more thicker than normal watercolour paper. I really don't know what is proper good quality paper for this kind of art - I just check that the ink "smudge" is minimal - so it goes where I want it to go. Paper just has to be thick enough to handle all that ink and not too coarse so It wont affect details. I have a wooden tablet where I tape down the paper - and it stays there until its finished.

I dont like ink pens a lot (well I do like them, just that Im not any good with them) but I still use them - mostly just to give few finishing touches, sharpening few edges, giving some soft shadows. Usually not much - just to give the "final touch".

My pencil pouch is self-made - from a sleeve of a Bundeswehr combat shirt!

I will go into detail of the actual techniques - how my sketching goes from idea to actual art and how the inking progresses from start to finish - little later. But other than that, this is how I work - or atleast the tools that I work with.

Until then,