Regarding the artwork, I considered various methods. For the background of the booklet’s outer pages, and the ocean/sky panorama of the inner pages, I knew I wanted to use colored inks. When they are still wet, they have a way of merging with one another that is perfect for the type of effect I had in mind. All the other illustrations and elements, on the other hand, were done using colored pencils (contours drawn with pencil, then replaced with Indian ink). I could have stuck with colored inks, but for more precise illustrations, using them can take more time. Indeed, if two colors are going to touch, the first one must dry completely, otherwise the other might bleed into it. It seemed to me like pencils would get the job done much faster.
I say “seemed”, because it turns out that the pencils provided their fair share of difficulties. Given their texture, the colors have an aspect that is not as “smooth” as what one obtains using ink or paint. Not much of a problem to the naked eye (any kind of irregularity can contribute to making a picture seem more realistic), but a tad more complicated when captured using a scanner. Once in the computer, each image became more sharply contrasted, and some of the subtleties didn’t appear as I had hoped.
With the aid of a couple of photo programs, however, I managed to obtain some highly acceptable versions. And when I printed a few as a test, the end result was even better. This was quite a relief, as I wouldn’t have had the time to redo everything using another technique. I simply spent a few extra hours perfecting some of the drawings to make sure the scanned result alone would look better, and therefore be much easier to perfect with the photo programs. Once I had everything I needed, the programs nevertheless remained in use. Indeed, I had to add a few more little details here and there (the lights in the luminescent marsh, for instance), superimpose various elements (the ship and sun onto the ocean and sky), and also assemble all the images and text to create the booklet’s layout.
Parallel to all that graphic work, I was also thinking really hard about how I was going to construct the pouches. For the front and back, I already knew I wanted to use flat canvas panels. As a matter of fact, it was those very panels that had given me the idea for the pouch. The big remaining question was : how to assemble them ?
For a while, I had my mind set on ribbon strips (glued along three of the sides), but I kept wondering how I would successfully manage to glue each piece on two opposite sides without one of them slipping out of place. I figured it would therefore be more practical to use thin strips of cardboard, folded in a manner that would make them slightly extensible. That way, I could glue them on one panel first, then lower the second one on top. I had my doubts regarding the durability of simple cardboard, so I finally opted for photographic printing paper. Its plastic-like surface felt sturdier and looked more elegant.
I wanted to try making at least fifty copies of “Ebsythria” in time for the Imaginales, and I also wanted to have a few extra panels as a precaution, so I ordered 120 from an arts supplies store (many thanks to Le Grand Cercle in Eragny). By the time I finally received them, I only had a few days left to paint as many as I could. In that short time-span, the apartment found itself strewn with blue rectangles drying all over the place ! By comparison, the logos and titles took very little time to dry, since I drew them directly using acrylic paint markers.
In the midst of all this, I also passed my orders for the booklets and the CDs. The booklets arrived at home, and as for the CDs, I picked them up at the manufacturer’s on my way to the Imaginales.
I could finally heave a sigh of relief, my first concept album was now complete !
Still… I’m guessing that some of you are wondering about the other concept album… the one I was initially supposed to release… Well, there’s nothing to worry about. It hasn’t been scrapped. Just postponed. I can’t yet say for sure if it will be my next release, but I will definitely keep working on it. Rest assured, you will one day get to hear it !
In the meantime... feel free to explore Ebsythria !