It may sound cliché, but sometimes a simple napkin sketch is all it takes for a vision to come to life.
About a year ago, musician friend Steve Mallory came to me with an idea – he wanted to record an album to benefit the social good and he wanted me to create the album art to accompany the project. I agreed and was excited about the idea of getting involved at the ground level. Because at this point, not only had the album yet to be recorded but the entire project was still in the initial conception stage.
Step one was to choose an initiative to support. After much discussion, Steve and his band mates – the Cherry Trees Band – chose to raise funds for the Water for Life Initiative through the Global Aid Network. As Canadians, they understand how fortunate we are to be amongst the top four countries in the world with fresh, clean drinking water (behind Sweden, Austria and Norway). Whereas in developing countries, 3.5 million people die annually from diseased water.
Their goal is to raise enough money to drill three wells that will feed water to 3,000 people for 25 years. These wells will not only produce hydration for villagers but also will create economic benefits and keep women safer.
Step two was to get to work recording the album of 10 original rock songs, titled “Change the World” after Ghandi’s famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Choosing a photograph of Ghandi was an obvious first choice when I began developing cover concepts. But, extensive searching through stock agencies proved to be disappointing. The licensing cost alone would be prohibitive.
This is where the napkin sketch comes in – as it’s where, based on research and reference material, I roughed out a simple yet effective profile of Ghandi. Steve was immediately excited by this thumbnail sketch on a scrap piece of paper and he used his phone to photograph it and show it around to everyone involved in the project. It was a hit. The broad strokes of the line drawing encapsulated everything Steve had envisioned for the album cover but (as he later admitted to me) in a completely different way than he had conceived it.
From there, I refined the illustration by adding bands of colour in irregular shapes to outline and highlight the profile, and finished it off by choosing typography that emphasized the significance of the words it conveyed.
And with all that, Change the World for the Water for Life Initiative was born.
Find out how you can help change the world at thecherrytreesband.com.