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,


30 August, 2012

In The Tomb

Slowly, quietly working my art on my catacombs. My blog updates are far in between but I am always working on something new. This is one of the more recent ones that draws from a very classic elements of a graveyard scene. It was a welcomed change to do something without monsters and such - really had to pay attention to the scenery which has always been my weakness.

It was as fun as I thought - and great input from the customer helped to really bring it the finishing touches it sorely needed. It was also a challenge, could I bring the graveyard into life (hehe) and still keep my style. Without tentacles and all!

Well, what do you think:

In The Tomb (2012)
 It was originally intended as a magazine cover. You can easily divide the picture in two, like so:

 The magazine being on hold - what comes out of the art remains to be seen - but whatever it is, its certainly called "In The Tomb"!

I'll keep this short this time - I have a Wall of Text coming up so be prepared.


17 July, 2012

Anthropophagy of Doom

There's one thing in common with the bands I've had been working with so far - they've all been great and they've all been something I really enjoy listening to. Sepulcral is no exception to this.

Sepulcral's new album has been out now for a while but somehow I got around listening to it just now. But what a great album it is. The band hails from Italy and draws from the same influences for their music as I for my art - old school death metal, old horror movies and works of H.P.Lovecraft. The band really got that grinding "death metal groove" which I love.

I started working with this cover at the end of last year and its been published as a CD and LP both. The band requested a cemetery like atmosphere with zombies and other 'classic' elements. I liked the basic idea but didn't want to make it too general - so I added few elements to make it bit more 'special'. A huge hole with tentacles rising from it: either spawning and animating corpses or devouring and dragging them down to hell - what is happening, its really up to you to decide.

Anthropophagy of Doom continues the same basic atmosphere as the last Stench of Decay cover - it has lots of wide open space and light.

Sepulcral - Anthropophagy of Doom (LP, Terror From Hell/Unholy Domain Records  2012; CD,  Razorback Records 2012)
In the picture is the LP cover. CD cover is very similar - red lettering instead of blue. Here's a pic of both of them:


23 May, 2012

Visions Beyond Stench of Decay

Well, not quite. I got one more chance to illustrate Stench of Decay's morbid music for their upcoming Visions Beyond Death single.

From everything you do - there is something to be learned. This is especially true if you draw as little as I do, you learn a great deal from previous art pieces you do and try to implement what you have learned to your next piece. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

I tried to apply more 'open' feel to the Visions Beyond Death cover, trying not to get too crowded. Well, that might have worked but the open space lacks detail and the picture works quite a lot better as a which it was supposed to be - as a cover. Just because the dead space is being cropped out of the picture!

The original artwork for Visions Beyond Death. I've had a quite a long 'dry' season in art before this one.

Stench of Decay - Visions Beyond Death (7" Single, Detest Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records 2011)
 From Stench of Decay just came out a compilation CD that puts together all of the recordings I've been part of by making covers, but also the excellent first demo. Great release by EKTRO Records (http://www.ektrorecords.com/).

My collection of Stench of Decay recordings (minus the first demo). Cover for the compilation CD is taken from the T-shirt design. 

Every piece I've done so far is done basically using the same technique. I work with ink and a brush. Not pens, but with brushes. I start with pencil sketch - nowadays I draw lot more detailed sketches, before I might have started working from a quite rough sketch. When I'm happy with the sketch, I ink over it. And big is always better, not A4, way too small. Not even A3 but closer to A2 if possible. The thing with brush is that its not as detailed as a pen might be so bigger is just better in all aspects. Easier too. Well, also lot more work too - obviously.

I like the brush because with that you really get the line going on much smoother - and you have the ability to easily adjust the thickness of the line. It just tends to be much more intuitive. My style to draw very 'cold', 'rigid' and even 'awkward' - but with the brush I get bit more 'life' to the final artpiece. Well, to be honest I do the final touch ups with a fine tip pen. Just to sharpen out some things and fill up parts that Ive missed with the brush. But its just to give the artpiece bit more polished appearance.

Well, that being said, my next piece was weird. Its small - only A4 - I only made quite rough sketch of it and I finished it up with ink pens, not brushes. And it's not a cover for a music album! Well, still music related - might be a cover for upcoming MUGRE zine. Here's the piece:

 That's all folks, at this time. We will continue on the cover artworks next time - not for Stench of Decay but something else altogether. Until then.


07 January, 2012

Ascended, T-shirts and Detest Records

Right after Where Death and Decay Reign I got several new designs to work with.

Ascended's first (and sadly last) EP was to be published as a tape alongside CD and the tape version needed a cover. Tommi Sookari already knew me because of the Stench of Decay covers so he asked me to do it.

It was fun to draw but considering the actual size of the final cover, I got bit carried away. So the image is quite crowded. I sent them a version with the logo in but it didn't really stand out so the final version was just like this, no text or logos. I think it worked out better that way.

Ascended - Temple of Dark Offerings (EP Tape, 2009, Detest records).

After doing several covers, I got a chance to do couple shirt designs. Stench of Decay wanted an original T-shirt design and the shirt was to be white. On a white shirt, I think the image shouldn't be too dark so I went in with a different kind of atmosphere than my earlier works but tied the image to the Where Death and Decay Reign demo cover with the building on the background. So its kind of a zoom out of the demo cover. The image itself has much more space that in the works I had done before and also the desert atmosphere is quite different that I was used to. But I guess the haunting feeling in this picture comes from that, the vast space with no life signs around (only dead!) - so i named the artwork Where No-one Hears You Scream.
Where No-one Hears You Scream. Design for the Stench of Decay T-shirt.
 And this is how it looked on the final product:

Stench of Decay T-shirt (2009)

With Stench of Decay and Ascended I also got to know Jerry from Detest Records as he has been putting out records from both of the bands. Jerry is very enthusiastic about music so It was easy to accept his work for a Detest Records T-shirt. And for the design, I had pretty much free hands, Jerry just said that come up with something grim, morbid and evil! I had learned from the Stench of Decay T-shirt that a T-shirt design is definately something else than doing a cover but I took the challenge and had fun with it. Around the time I started sketching this work I was reading H.P.Lovecraft's fiction and I guess it influenced me quite a lot for this bizarre tentacled monster. Nowadays I tend to draw more pictures with tentacles than without! Iä! Iä!

Here is the design:


The image was inverted for the shirt:

Detest Records T-shirt (2010)
 Looking back, every single commission work I had done this far was for Detest Records in a way or another! So I owe a great deal to the bands for a possibility to work for them - but also Jerry of Detest Records who is publishing good bands (and artwork alongside with it) and supporting the good old death metal. \,,/

Until next time,