How To

OMG! Are those hand drawn letters? – Getting your Artwork Designed

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock


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The first thing that I used to do when I purchased an album, cassette or CD ALWAYS has been to hold the vessel for these various physical formats directly in my eager hands.  I relished the tactile feel of the embossed letters and gaze upon the presented lucid hues. I remember constantly running my fingers across every single letter and image as my appreciation for the design was equal to that of the music inside.  With the modern day invention of computers that house a million and one fonts the use of hand stylized Calligraphy letters has diminished artisanal flavours.  I feel that this takes away from warm and perfectly: curved, blocked, bubble or even Old English letters.


The music that you compose for the masses is a direct reflection of who you are; similar to the cover art utilized to represent your work.  It is quite essential to have an image that is aesthetically pleasing to your optics, as that is the very first aspect of your work that buyers are going to notice right away in the absence of hearing a single note.  Something I would strongly recommend is to invest funds, in a decent and reputable Graphic Designer to artisanally represent your harmonies.

Getting the pro’s on board!


I know a killer guitar player named Sean de Burca who illustrates exceptionally exquisite covers with both letters and images all by hand.  A computer may be able to replicate that design easily however; there are little nuisances in the work that can not be duplicated from a machine which genuinely requires a careful touch more than anything else. If you are concerned about symmetry with regards to a hand made drawing never fear that is where tracing paper comes in to infinite play, something that will be looked into later.

It’s not all slap dab & voila!


I asked Sean for the process by which he builds his album covers so that you could all get a better idea of the methodology behind the final piece. Basically it starts with a fresh piece of sketchbook paper specifically 140 gram weight ensuring a sturdy and smooth surface; which I think is great as that type of paper is a heavier stock perfect for drawing.

Next for the purpose embellishments and symmetry Sean puts some good old tracing paper to use; a perfect way to balance those duplicate curves. Oops, almost forgot to mention that the pencil used for proper shading and sketching is a valuable piece of this equation as well Sean, normally has a Faber-Castell’s in between his digits.

Once he is happy with the final design Sean turns to his Illustrator program to redraw the entire piece then Photoshop to apply the finishing touches of hues and surfaces for those perfectly brushed organic looking clouds like on his Interstate cover.  Furthermore, when Sean constructs a cover for a client he is almost always listening to the melodies of said client in order to absorb the melodies for the purpose of inspiration.  I completely relish how Artists and various mediums always seem to piggy back on each other rendering a new breed of artistic fusion.

You can find professionals like Sean on Music Gateway by the way, so why not find a graphic designer through us?

11th Hour Advice



As with all things in the Music Industry don’t just go with the first artist’s work that you see; once again like with all things in creative based industries it is essential to research multiple industry professionals for the purpose of collaboration.  This will most certainly ensure that you are able to find the right person to work with; in order to achieve the best representation of your work through a quality product.  The one you select should have work which you feel resonates best with your music; ensuring a potential lifelong symbiotic relationship.  If you are still unsure give the artist a sample of your music and ask if they are able to cultivate one or two ideas for you based on what you have provided.

With a little help from Music Gateway


It can be a frightening endeavour searching for the perfect Graphic Designer to meet all of your visionary requirements.  Through Music Gateway’s public site you are able to post a project seeking such minded individuals. In this case it would be someone to produce a beautiful jacket to represent your body of work.  Moreover, one of the best qualities of the services offered by Music Gateway is that you can find a plethora of industry professionals just like you seeking someone in a specialised field including a Graphic Designer.  Query them out via that path, as it is quite the fulfilling platform to use!

I would like to close with a quote on the importance of artistic impressions from an exceptional virtuoso’s:

“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.”

Pablo Picasso

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