Friday, April 06, 2007

Norm Breyfogle's Mojo Evolution!

Now we're at the final stages of Norm Breyfogle's Mojo paintings - the end results. It's shaping up to be Norm Month around here, but that's because there was a fair bit in that box of goodies. Still I find it fascinating (to say the least) to be able to show the evolution of a cover, from initial sketching, through to the painting stage, the layout of the cover and then the final result. I'm not an artist, but this just grabs me, to see just how Norm got to the point where he did - there's far more work involved in all of this than just drawing a picture and sending it in (and just wait til you see the Arcade Fire series coming up very shortly).

Once the images had been decided upon Norm went to work on arranging them into the format that Mojo required. In the reference material that Norm received were two images. The first, the 1968 Lion Annual was included to show Norm exactly the feel that Mojo required. I'm not sure how many, if any at all, of these annuals made it to the USA at the time, but they were fairly common in Australia.

This image, the second, shows how Mojo wanted the placement of the individual images. It's interesting to note that the Mojo staffer who arranged this layout refers to Amy Winehouse as Amy Whinehouse. I wonder what's in that? Regardless, this image gave Norm the design structure and allowed him to chose the composition of his paintings as he saw fit. The instructions given were that the Raconteurs would be war heroes (Cap'n Jack & The Raconteurs), the Arctic Monkeys would be the 'Sheffield Four' (aka the Famous Five), Winhouse would be the 50ft Woman (soul giant Amy Winehouse) and Dylan was to be set in the wild west.

Norm's final layout for the annual was a fairly simple one once the sketches had been done. The actual layout is made up of a series of photocopies, pasted up on the page. The Raconteurs image was readjusted to the heights that suited the layout best and the only real pencils on this page are basic background scribbles.

This is the final result (a bit over coloured though) that appeared in Mojo. The Mojo staff re-inserted the copy that was missing from Norm's layout, with additions (and also spelling Winehouse correctly). The page was then 'aged' to look like the Lion Annual and although you can't see it from this scan, the page was also given rough edges, to appear as if it'd been torn out of an old magazine. Overall it's a great looking image indeed, very effective, and as I wrote in my introduction, this is a rare insight into the creative process that goes on to produce a single page.

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