Hello everyone. This is Ryan Clark from Demon Hunter and I'm going to be talking about the artwork for our new album, The World Is A Thorn, which will be available March 9th.
As some of you may know, in my "off time" from DH, I do graphic design for Solid State Records. I've designed many of the releases over the last decade for bands like Norma Jean, Haste The Day, Zao and August Burns Red, as well as non-Solid State bands like Throwdown, DevilDriver and Wolfmother.
Although I've lent my hand to some of the Demon Hunter releases that you've seen, as a member of the band, I'm given the opportunity to take a step back and get help from some of the designers or artists that I admire.
In 2005, we hired Dan Seagrave to create original artwork for The Triptych, and we were so stoked on what Dan had created for us with that release, we decided to hire him again for The World Is A Thorn. As you know, every Demon Hunter cover has featured our demon skull logo, and that tradition is of course continued with this release. In brainstorming about how I wanted the artwork to flesh out, I had the idea to make the CD insert a poster folder, where the cover appears on the center panel, and the rest of the image folds out around it.
When I was conceptualizing for the imagery itself, I kept getting visions of a cathedral of sorts. Something that appeared to be ancient and elaborate - some expansive architecture that stood as a refuge from the outside world. That's essentially all of the art direction that I gave Dan. We wanted to explore the idea of 2 different takes on this concept. One that looked man-made and one that had more of an organic, natural vibe- as if it'd built itself from the ground. So, much like The Triptych, this album is available with alternate covers. As a collector myself, I always love to offer as many options as possible for the fans.
Here's a look at some of the initial sketches that Dan did for the covers. You can see how the process began through some of these basic shapes and structures.
I absolutely love everything Dan does, so there isn't much of an approval process when dealing with him. Although he does show me work throughout the process, I know that I can expect nothing but the best. I trust Dan's creativity and his abilities, and that's very important when hiring someone to carry out your vision.
This is a more finalized sketch of the first image. As you can see, the cathedral has completely taken shape at this point. Dan's sketches leave very little to the imagination (aside from color and finite detail), and it's very nice to see a sketch that gives you a vivid idea of how the final image will look.
After a few weeks of diligent work, Dan sent over the final painting for the first cover, and we were all blown away. One thing that you'll notice is the inclusion of the "A" from the album title (which is also meant to be an upside-down Roman numeral 5) placed at the top of this cathedral.
Just a few short weeks later, Dan delivered the second album cover painting. Needless to say, we were floored. This painting features more thorns, which we thought was appropriate for this cover, given the natural element.
Once I receive the artwork from Dan, it's then my job to put everything together.
I created this custom typeface for the record, which is somewhat derived from Roman/Greek engraving letters that you see etched into a lot of old-world architecture.
This is an icon that I created from the "A" of the album title, which, like I mentioned before has several meanings. It's an A, but the center line is left out so that it resembles a thorn, and also doubles as an upside-down Roman numeral V (since this is the fifth Demon Hunter album). You can see both of those ideas combined in this icon.
These pieces served as the blueprints for every piece of artwork. I'm very big on cohesion, so I like to have a few elements that provide a certain element of continuity throughout a package. And with all Demon Hunter albums, I love to put a new spin on traditional elements, and add some new pieces as well.
A lot went into the creation of the deluxe edition box. I wanted to pack as much as I could into this version of the release and I'm really excited about how it all came together. The box features the album with 2 extra tracks and a DVD that features an interview regarding the making of the record, as well as a short acoustic set, filmed live at Compound Recording in Seattle. Also included is a set of 3 exclusive photo cards, posters for both album covers, an extended booklet with handwritten lyrics and more exclusive photographs and artwork, a sticker, a set of 4 buttons, and a handkerchief. Here's an advance look at everything included.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to pick up the new record on March 9th!
-Ryan Clark & Demon Hunter