Welcome to “Cover Stories”, where we allow a Figment player to describe an album cover he/she designed in their own words.  From the original idea to the finished product, we’ll hear the story behind the cover.

For this installment of Cover Stories, we sought out Figment player formerwageslave, whose cover designs not only netted him the 2011 “Album Cover of the Year” Figgie, but also the #1 selling album on Figment in 2011.  We allowed him to pick a cover of his choice, and he decided to give us an inside look at his design process for the Lucifer and the Long Pigs album “Occult Outlaws.” Take it away formerwageslave!

The cover art for Lucifer and the Long Pigs’ “Occult Outlaws” is one of my favorite designs I’ve done for Figment so far. The artwork was complete long before I had a name for the album, and even before LLP released their double-album “Screwtape” collaboration with Squidbitchez. I had already used old parchment and worn leather textures for previous LLP albums, and in continuing that Wild West theme I knew that using an image of distressed, weathered wood was inevitable. I sorted through a lot of wood stock art before I found one that clicked– it had to look really old and dry, but it had to still be light enough that text, etc. wouldn’t get lost in it.

I had this image in my head of the LLP boys as true hell-raisers and outlaws, and few images communicated that more effectively than the murder of a lawman, a sheriff. I sorted through pages and pages of antique badge photos for one that looked old and beat-up enough, and one that was taken at the right angle with enough resolution for me to work with. I had almost given up when I found one of those old 5-pointed star badges (which also subtly reinforced the usual pentagram imagery of the band). It was perfect, but cutting it out and getting the lighting and shadows right were a chore.
I also wanted to include a spent bullet casing to drive home the idea that the victim had been gunned down. It took a lot of searching to find a bullet with the same finish and aging as the badge, and though the lighting, shadows and size are probably not quite right, I think it does the job just fine.
Next was the all-important blood. I wanted a bloody smear behind the badge, as if the band had just walked into a saloon and casually tossed the gory piece of metal onto a table to show off what they’d done. There are tons of stock photos of “blood,” and most of them look extremely fake. The one I went with might have been a little too bright, but I really liked how it popped out and had the exact dynamic shape that I wanted.
You can’t have a badge smearing blood all over the place without getting some on the front, right? I then cut out a chunk from another stock image of blood stains for the drips on the badge itself. I was also reminded of the Comedian’s blood-stained happy face button from Watchmen, which was also a visual influence on this design.
The final piece was the standard LLP text above and below the main image. Their logo font and text size are pretty standard at this point– except for special releases like the Rapture single, it rarely changes.
I had originally intended the text to have a red gradient, but decided that it took too much away from the contrast and coloring of the blood stains. I instead opted for a metallic gradient that was similar to the finish on the badge and bullet casing.
The rest is history!

6 Responses to “Cover Stories – How to Make An “Occult Outlaw””

  1. theHoseman Says:

    An outstanding cover. I continue to thoroughly enjoy these Cover Stories. Thanks Formerwageslave for giving us the lowdown on the process for this great design!

  2. frizbee Says:

    I was beginning to wonder when we’d see the next Cover Stories post. I really enjoy these. This is a great cover, and it’s interesting to learn all the behind-the-scenes info. What program do you use, formerwageslave? Do you use Photoshop, or Gimp, or something different entirely?

  3. formerwageslave Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. I use Photoshop. I tried Gimp, but I didn’t like it.

  4. Furious Grace Says:

    Gimp is a pain in the buttocks. This, as all of your covers, rocks. Thanks for giving us a play-by-play.

  5. ChildofAlma Says:

    There’s a reason Gimp is free. Anyway, you are a god formerwageslave. Well done.

  6. frizbee Says:

    My brother-in-law swears by Gimp, but he’s also a cheapskate, so it’s probably because he doesn’t want to have to pay for Photoshop, lol. But he swears that Gimp is better than Photoshop. I’ve used both, and there’s NO competition.

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