The artwork of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards 2012 that I created recently has been one of the most rewarding client based work I’ve ever done.
Not only was I happy with the actual illustrations, but the campaign was literally plastered all over NYC and LA.
I’ve never seen so many of my illustrations in a single area before – and I even caught them in Chinatown, my old stomping grounds! Having my work displayed there gave me a feeling of satisfaction like no other…it felt like I was bringing a trophy home.
This wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for my good friend and Depthcore’s creative director – Justin Maller. Justin has been a great help in my career and he hooked me up with this opportunity for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, so I can’t thank him enough. Please take a second to show him some love – he does great work and did the Adele and Bon Iver posters for the Grammys this year.
I had the pleasure of working with renowned international ad agency – TBWA/Chiat/Day on for the artwork of the 54th Annual Grammy Awards 2012, and they were wonderful to work with. When I was initially approached, artists like Kanye West, Lady Gaga and Adele were still up for grabs, so I was super excited to be illustrating them. I was especially stoked with Kanye because I am a big fan myself, and have listened to his music since “The College Dropout” in 2004. Unfortunately it turns out that he would no longer be an artist involved in the Grammys print campaign. I did however, score something just as amazing:
I learned that I was going to be creating illustrations on the legendary Sir Paul McCartney and The Foo Fighters! What an honor!
I’m going to start breaking down how I approached the Paul McCartney and Foo Fighters illustrations starting with the Paul McCartney one:
The concept of the Paul McCartney artwork for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards starts with the fact that many people around the world consider him to be the father of rock/pop. Paul in this case is like the elder tree, where the vines and growth emitted from him symbolize the diversity of artists today, which all seem to lead back to the source – the father of rock/pop.
I was initially approached with a mood board for this Grammy illustration, which gave me inspiration to set the mood for the piece. Included in the board, was my piece for Desktopography, “Adaptation” which has the similar growth/vines treatment and depth.
CGI + Photo Matching
I knew right away what I needed to do for this piece – and it was going to be created with a blend of 3D, photos and digital painting.
I started touching up the Paul McCartney photo in Photoshop and setting up the canvas, then once that was done, I switched over to Maya to work my CGI magic.
I had to setup a scene to match Paul’s photo and created vines and other elements to match his body. It was definitely not an easy process as I don’t have access to an exact replica of Paul McCartney as a 3D model, but I did what I could and made up for any flaws in Photoshop. As an artist, it is impossible to be great at everything, so it is important to know your limits and strengths, so you can produce smartly.
I wrapped up round 1 of the Paul McCartney Grammy illustration and delivered it to the client. With no surprise, there were client requests for changes needed to be made. Over the course of the next 3 revisions, the visual for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards 2012 got better and better and my overall vision for the illustration came together very nicely. I developed a better atmosphere, lighting, background, details like back-lighting on Paul’s hair, and overall flow of the vines and growth. As the final version approached, I went in at 100% to make sure all the details were spot on, and that I didn’t overlook any masking errors.
Navigate the buttons to see the steps.
The Paul McCartney Grammy illustration took me a roughly a week of working day and night to complete. It was definitely ambitious of me, but in the end it was well paid off.
The highlights of the project was that these Grammy illustrations had to be approved by the actual artists themselves, so my image was actually seen by Sir Paul McCartney himself. Not only that, but the agency told me that he loved it!
That is flattery on a whole new level for me – the fact that Paul McCartney has seen my work and loves it, means so much to me! You can be sure I was smiling from ear to ear!
Paul McCartney – The 54th Annual Grammy Awards
The Foo Fighters Illustration
After the Paul McCartney illustration for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, I went on to tackle The Foo Fighters illustration. Them being a rock band, it was only right that we went with a “chaotic” theme. The mood board reflects that:
As you can see, the mood board is definitely very appropriate to give a rock band vibe. I really wanted to ride with the idea of them being integrated with glass shards and debris on a dark background, and that is what I went for. The creative process started with me cutting out individual images of each member of The Foo Fighters, as all the images were from different sources. After that, I arranged them into a nice composition, then set off to match the scene up in 3D as I did with Paul’s illustration.
It was through Maya, that I created a scene with glass shards and debri and matched it up with the lighting and atmosphere of the photos.
Compositing + Finish
After the glass shards and debris were rendered, I started to composite them in Photoshop to compose the illustration. From there it was just freestyling through the illustration until I was satisfied with the results. There were definitely times in this illustration where I felt like it was too messy for my liking, but towards the end, I did break through and found a way to create this “controlled chaos” look similar to the Paul McCartney illustration.
The Foo Fighters illustration for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards took a few revisions to mature into completion, but the end result came out great! I definitely enjoy the result and think that it is very suitable as the Grammy illustration for a group of musicians like The Foo Fighters.
Navigate the buttons to see the steps.
The Foo Fighters – The 54th Annual Grammy Awards
So that about sums up the creative process of the artwork for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards 2012. This project has been one of the most important projects I’ve ever taken in my career, and certainly one of the most rewarding. It is one of the most rewarding because of several reasons:
One of it being that I got a chance to create illustrations for such legendary artists. Not only that, but they actually got to see my artwork and enjoyed it. It was also rewarding because of the sheer number of posters and billboards that were plastered all over NYC and LA. I believe there were at least 1 or 2 in every few blocks – that is absolutely amazing! And finally, it was rewarding because all of the artists involved in this project are senior members from Depthcore. I am so proud of my Depthcore brothers and to be able to share this opportunity with them, means a lot to me.
I hope this entry gave you some insight on the creative process of the Grammy illustrations, and feel free to leave your thoughts here and share this with your friends! You can read more about this project and see the details of the artwork by visiting the actual project. I leave you with some photos of the actual artwork used in the real campaign for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards 2012.