The Light in the Ocean Album Artwork Design

I had the pleasure of designing album artwork for the band “The Light in the Ocean” which is composed of:

  • Jared Emery: Guitars, Vocals, Saxophone
  • Chris Johnson: Guitars
  • Jacob Ewert: Drums, Keys, Vocals
  • Travis Freudenberg: Basses, Growls

The album started off with the following “sketches” aka rough composites (using stock imagery) which outlined a boat, the light emitting from the boat, and reference images on the side.

Sketch 1
Sketch 2

After this step, I got feedback from the band and they decided that the light should actually be coming from the ocean, as the band name itself implies! All this work was giving me practice. Instead of using Photoshop for digital painting as I’ve used in the past, I went out and used Procreate for my iPad Pro instead. I have to say, this experience was pretty enjoyable.

More feedback from the band led to a change in how the boat was presented. Notice the light coming from, you know, the ocean. It was getting closer, but not yet at the epic level we were aiming for.

The boat was changed a different color and I began adding in waves for a choppier ocean. Now the whole vibe was beginning to shift, from calm to much more deadly. The light was supposed to represent a calm in the storm and it’s difficult to show a storm without waves crashing down. The background needed more work, as we talked about their eventually being a cityscape off in the distance.

The background coming into frame…

Getting much closer to something epic. The picture at this point was starting to come together.

The light coming up from the ocean was a key part of the album and band name itself. Thus, more work needed to be done here as the wave in front of the previous version was removed as a vorpex of light replaces it. Now time to add the man on the boat.

The man is added. Not even getting into how many tries this took…

Adding the man wasn’t as easy as just getting it right the first time. I learned that getting someone to pose was what was needed after a few revisions. The background was still very empty here though, and I knew the last part was necessary to seal in the vibes and atmosphere we were trying to sell.

The cityscape beyond was painted using the Procreate app on my iPad Pro.

Finally, a painting effect action was applied using Adobe Photoshop. This effect was a request of the band and really tied the whole thing together. Starting so realistic helped the whole painting effect seem even more realistic.

Light in the Ocean, Detail


Below is an animated version of this image and below that, a montage of progress.


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