Illustrations for Molly Drake Album – Part 2

March 24, 2013 § 14 Comments

Drawing the teacup for the Molly Drake album.

Drawing the teacup for the Molly Drake album.

Last week I posted my illustrations for the Molly Drake album recently released by Squirrel Thing Recordings. This week I’d like to share my process and the preliminary work involved in this project.

Molly Drake (1915-1993) was the mother of the late singer Nick Drake. Her music is beautiful and somber and you can listen to / buy it here.

Two images for Molly Drake printed with letterpress on the inside of the album jacket.

Two images for Molly Drake printed with letterpress on the inside of the album jacket.

All told I made three drawings for this album featuring a teacup, a weaver bird, and a portrait of Molly Drake. The portrait of Molly was not included, but the other two are printed with letterpress on the inside of the album jacket.

Portrait of Molly Drake, Sumi Ink on Paper, 6 x 6″, 2012

Portrait of Molly Drake, Sumi Ink on Paper, 6 x 6″, 2012

When making a piece I first concept and design the image with thumbnail drawings.

Thumbnail drawing for the Molly Drake album.

Thumbnail drawing for the Molly Drake album.

After I have a solid visual I then make quick mock up drawings using photoshop. This way I can immediately cut, chop, and paste the image together to capture the correct ratio, size, and shape of the forms.

Often I use the original thumbnail as a guide during this process so as to keep the essence of the form from getting lost in translation. As seen below I ended up reversing the composition of the original thumbnail as I felt it had a better flow considering that there would be the weaver bird facing it on the opposite page.

Odd ghost image from blocking in the essential bits of the story I wanted to tell.

Odd ghost image from blocking in the essential bits of the story I wanted to tell.

Digital sketch for the Molly Drake tea cup.

Digital sketch for the Molly Drake tea cup.

When I am satisfied with a digital sketch I then place a grid over it and redraw it on paper by hand. Once the image is sketched in I ignore the digital mock up and let myself just draw and feel out the forms.

From a gridded digital sketch to the penciled in final image for the Molly Drake album.

From a gridded digital sketch to the penciled in final image for the Molly Drake album.

Using sumi ink and brush to ink in the final image for the Molly drake album.

Using sumi ink and brush to ink in the final image for the Molly drake album.

Both sumi ink drawings for the Molly Drake album.

Both sumi ink drawings for the Molly Drake album.

About concepting the teacup– I wanted a simple image that held a lot of information. I chose to draw a teacup in part to reference the artwork on the cover of her son Nick Drake’s album Pink Moon (1972).

It is also a reference to Molly’s song Breakfast at Bradenham Woods and as a symbol for British colonialism– as I learned that both Molly and Nick Drake were born in Yangon, Burma. Coincidentally, I recently spent 15 months (2010-2011) living on the Thai-Burma border working with migrant youth from Burma— and had spent a lot of time contemplating the history of Thailand and Burma and how they became what they are today.

The landscape on the cup is of a famous lake in Yangon, Burma called Kandawgyi (The Royal Lake) with a view of the Shwedagon Pagoda– two visuals Molly Drake would surely have seen often while living there. Pictured below is one of the photos I used as a reference. I replaced the tree with a willow and gnats alluding to Molly’s song I Remember.

A fisherman and colonial architecture at Kandawgyi (The Royal Lake) in Yangon, Burma.

A fisherman and colonial architecture at Kandawgyi (The Royal Lake) in Yangon, Burma.

The rest of the imagery on the teacup are all nods to Molly’s beautiful songs. The moon and stars reflected in the tea relate to Night is My Friend (my current favorite song of hers . . . *sigh*) as well as a line about the moon chained to the tides and “if you can see the strong and wearied starlight” from Ballad. The swallow and cuckoo are from Cuckoo Time.

Molly Drake set poetry to piano chords– I love her music and feel so fortunate to have been able to work on this project! I listened exclusively to her songs while working on this artwork hoping they would influence what I drew and help me to honor her music.

<<<>>>  Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!  <<<>>>

Advertisements

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

§ 14 Responses to Illustrations for Molly Drake Album – Part 2

  • Scritch says:

    wow I had no idea you painted all that detail, it looked like pen. I always love a behind the scenes.

    btw – have you seen the behind the scenes of the john mayer album cover? it just about killed me

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thanks for the comment, Janine. I am a big fan of behind the scenes. After your last post I still want to rustle up some of my old sketchbooks to photograph.

      Besides pencil I really only draw with brush and ink. I love the variation of line you can get with a single movement– thick to thin, heavy on the ink to a very dry line . . . there is just so much I love about brushwork!

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thanks for sharing this. I hadn’t seen this video yet and was pretty blown away by it. What a craftsperson! And he seems like a really nice fellow too. : )

  • jackbaumgartner says:

    Good stuff, my friend. It is always nice to learn a little bit more about how you are working these days.

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thanks, buddy. You know that I basically keep this blog to show you what I am up to anyway. : ) I feel like I have my method down to a science these days. It is still a lot of work, but I have a clear order of operations and technology has been an incredible gift and tool for me to use. I got really excited when I saw some of Titian’s preliminary work and he had made a drawing for a painting and then gridded it out in red lines like above image! Same technology just a little faster.

      Anyway, I could use a studio visit. <<>>

      • jackbaumgartner says:

        A studio visit to Titian’s studio?! That is what I am talking about!

      • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

        Man, I wish! I just watched a great little Titian documentary talked about his studio in Venice. What a painter…

  • oliverowl says:

    Mike, you put so much thoughtful, loving work into this, it is wonderful!I I ordered the album, after I listened to the CD you shared; waiting anxiously for its arrival. I especially love the weaver bird!

  • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

    Thank you! I can’t wait for you to sit and listen to it all the way through. Please let me know what you think of her songs, would you?

  • Dean Volker says:

    I just shared this post with a friend of mine in Portland when I realized the illustrations for this album were done by someone from PDX. My friend & I both discovered Nick Drake’s music in the 1980s and have been absorbed with the new Molly Drake album.
    I appreciate the way you’ve laid out your process. Nice work & a treasure of an album!

    • Mike Schultz Paintings says:

      Thank you for such a thoughtful comment, Dean. It was a gift to me to be able to work on this album as Nick Drake’s music has meant a great deal to me over the years. And now I adore Molly Drake’s music just as much. I agree that her melodies, her voice, all of it are a treasure and I am so glad it has come out of the woodwork for us to enjoy. Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading Illustrations for Molly Drake Album – Part 2 at Mike Schultz Studio Blog.

meta

%d bloggers like this: