Music Portraits

Music CD Cover Series

CD Album Cover Series
20 portraits in 40 days. This is a series of 20 portraits of music stars in a graphic style that I am completing in the summer of 2012. So far, I am on number 19 and having fun using only flat color and line to develop expressive images of various celebrities from all musicĀ  genres. See my jazz series project for portraits 14 through 18.
Debbie Harry, Blondie

Portrait number 14 in this series. This is my homage to the 1980s, Blondie, and Debbie Harry. The cold tones of her face and hair are like silver glitter on straw.
Jim Morrison

This illustration is the second in the series of proposed CD music cover portraits that I am creating. The concept is really a justification for creating some fun illustrations of famous people. In this image I shifted to a more minimalist graphic style that contained only flat bold colors. My inspirations were the art of Doug Johnson, Daniel Pelavin, Peter Max, and most of all, Siggi Eggertsson, a wonderful illustrator who was born in Iceland and now works in London creating an endless array of inventive images and designs.
Kanye West

This was portrait number 3 in my new music CD series. When I chose Kanye West for a subject I was not familiar with his music or his persona. When friends saw this portrait I quickly discovered that this guy elicits strong and immediate reactions--many negative. Oh well. I just liked the image I found of him and the challenge of interpreting the subject in a geometric style.
Lupe Fiasco

Who is Lupe Fiasco? I really did not know when I chose him as a subject for portrait number 4. As it turns out he is pretty good rap artist with a smooth sound. I just loved the name and the challenge of capturing his likeness in a geometric style. This is portrait number four in my Memorial Day weekend illustration marathon. I am shifting my color palette on each work to explore different harmonies and tonal relationships. A bold black shape is always the first element I begin with, adding color only after this first visual element creates a satisfactory design. This technique was inspired by the black and white design exercises that MACA students do in the intro to design course at Macomb Community College. Thank you MACA design instructors for posting thee wonderful little creations in the showcase every year!
Chris Brown.

Chris Brown was interesting subject for a portrait number 5. He seems as much businessman as rapper in the photos of him. He wears glasses and when he has a suit on he seems like he could be an accountant at a Fortune 500 company. He will probably be worth as much as one of those companies before he is done. I returned to a more geometric style with this portrait. The brown and blue hues are restrained but still take advantage of complimentary color contrast to give the illustration some tension and energy to match the sharp corners and hard shapes.
John Mayer

Now I know the music of this artist. My ipod is loaded with about everything he has ever recorded. A real virtuoso talent. I wanted to do a portrait of Mayer and this front on view showed his melancholy personality and deep gaze.It also came together more effortlessly than any of the portraits I have created so far in this series and is the forth so far in five days. I chose a monochromatic color palette with a hint of violet to complement the beige and yellow ochre hues. I am fairly satisfied with portrait number 6.
Jessi J.

Jessi J. is awesome! Saw here "Price Tag" music video online and had to do a portrait of this vivacious high energy singer and rising star. Now that I am familiar with her music I here it everywhere. Changed my style a bit on this portrait to adjust to the exaggerated expression on her face. The very pale skin tones required using carefully chosen shapes and tonal shifts to describe the structure of her face. The eyes were especially important to get right and required a bit of trial and error in defining the eyelashes. This image is getting the most views on Imagekind where i show my work.
Jessi J.

Just can't get enough Jessi J.--what can I say. I wanted to capture the aggressive quality of here music in this portrait and the playful lyrics. This one is portrait number six in six days. To all my MACA Rendering students who might view this page, I really mean it when I say I create art just for fun! I would make art even if I were not paid to-Don't tell my clients!
Ringo Starr.

Had to pay homage to the Beatles for portrait number 9. Ringo Starr as a young star seemed like a good choice for portrait number eight. The hair is what attracted me to the subject. Ya gotta love the wavy wild thing happening with that hair style.
Norah Jones

This subject just blew me away. Although the likeness may be harder to see, the subject was impossible to resist. Lighting is everything in a portrait and in this graphic style shapes and forms must be defined with clean edges and fine attention to details. The eyes are everything. No black in this one-only a deep electric blue to define the hair and shadows around the eye.
Charlotte Church

Just got back from a week on vacation and had to get back in the groove with another portrait. Charlotte Church seemed like a good choice for portrait number 11 with her pale complexion and deep green eyes.
John Coltrane.

Here is another Coltrane illustration for portrait number 12. I am engaging in a bit of reductivism, finding more minimalist ways to portray the subject here. Jazz suggests a more abstract approach, especially Coltrane's music causing me to limit my color palette and reduce the forms to geometric shapes. Note the instrument Coltrane is playing in this illustration. After a little research it appears the instrument is a bass clarinet which accounts for the high hand positions and the black body color. In all, he was expert with the Tenor, soprano, and alto saxophone, and bass clarinet-and of course, he was a genius. I may alter this illustration a bit to describe the clarinet's structure better, especially the bottom section which has small upturneJohn Coltrane playing a bass clarinet.
Miles Davis

Portrait number 13. Miles Davis is a natural subject for a graphic style. I sampled colors from the "Bitches Brew" and "Kind of Blue"album covers from the seventies to get the color palette and simply improvised from there. The eyes are unbelievable-like a cat's in this dark lighting.
John Coltrane

I am working in Adobe Illustrator only on this series of portraits and broke out the Wacom tablet to render the first illustration in the series using the pencil and brush tools. Illustrator is capable of a great deal of painterly expression if you get into the brush presets and develop your own unique brushes. I use a set of bristle brushes, some of which I created from watercolor and acrylic washes. This Coltrane portrait incorporates a combination of a loose drawn line and graphic shapes.
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