The Way It Was

Illustration of a barefoot boy on a 1980's era three-wheeler with a cane pole and a cricket basket

It’s been over a year since my last post, and things have changed on this website. I’ll write about it in another post, though. Instead, this one is going to be about the image that is just above.

This is the album cover for Frank Foster’s newest album The Way It Was. Frank contacted me last October wanting me to illustrate his album cover. The album itself is a detour from his usual work, being very acoustic and back to the roots of country music; so, he wanted the album cover to be a reflection of this. His direction was to have the cover be painted and of him as a child on an old 1980’s Honda 185S 3-wheeler. He’s from Louisiana like me, so the dirt has the appearance of a lot of red clay in it and the sky is perpetually threatening rain. I treated the composition like a traditional painting straight on and staged almost like those old paintings of generals on horseback with the “camera” slightly low. I really enjoyed working on this. It was especially a challenge to paint his likeness from a few photos of him as a child and to paint the 3-wheeler. Frank was very descriptive in what he wanted, and he was a joy to work with.

I painted this entirely in Krita which is an excellent (and FREE) program strictly designed for digital painting. I’ve tried Krita over the years, but I never could really work in it because of its lack of hardware acceleration. It made the application sluggish for me because of the enormous sizes I typically paint in. It has had hardware acceleration for a bit now, so I put it through its paces painting this one. Don’t let the free aspect of the application fool you; it is a fully professional application with color management, and its brush customization puts Photoshop to shame. I plan on using it a lot more in the future.

If you’re interested go out and buy his album. It is available on his website.