Shortly before announcing his resignation a while back, metal journalist "Cosmo Lee" approached me about designing something to commemorate his popular music website Invisible Oranges. I'm not sure what he actually intended to use my design for, but there was talk about a possible t-shirt. Mostly he just seemed to want a drawing. Well, Cosmo is a bright scribe who has devoted considerable time, energy and financial resources to that many-headed hydra we call METAL in all its colorful genera. We've never met and rarely see eye to eye musically but he's always struck me in our brief communications as a polite and thoughtful music fan, two qualities I value infinitely more than ill fitting denim, sleeveless shirts, bullet belts or record collections. He also happens to be an avid supporter of my various endeavors and a t-shirt celebrating an online music zine is exactly the sort of preposterous, cocky and innovative idea I can get behind. So I did. And now you get the amusement of dissecting a sloppy little specimen for this installment of Gross Anatomy!
This is probably a backwards way of arriving at a black & white drawing but at the time I had recently picked up a new set of colored pencils and was goofing around on scraps of paper when I scribbled this image which seemed rife with potential as a decal or shirt. Invisible Oranges covers the full spectrum of heavy music- not exclusively what has come to be called "extreme metal"- so I used this as an opportunity to loosen up and have some fun. After all, it's a t-shirt (maybe)...for a webzine...about music. That's about two hyperlinks away from being a breakfast cereal box.
I took the initial grim reaper motif and formulated how it might work on something like a shirt. See you in hell, pal.
I wanted the symmetry to subtly suggest eye strain so I centered this circular(ish) cartoon between faux-biker "rockers" and set about penciling the composition with consideration for how it might eventually be printed and seen across some slob's chest on a poorly focused Facebook photo (a photo inevitably displaying a gun and/or middle finger).
Micron 05, Graphic 2, and a chisel tip Sharpie kept the lines loose but clean. The logo on the laptop is the Invisible Oranges logo which worked well as blatant product placement. Apple. Orange. Har. Har.
I've heard it posited over the years that ol' Dread is as color blind as a cave cricket. Why else would anyone stubbornly insist on creating grey tone "art" (cough) with disposable office supplies against all accepted professional standards and commercial viability? Who cares?? This is what happens when you stick colored pencils on my drawing table during a holiday weekend. The color allows the abstract eyeball composition to pop. Do you see it? I'm not so sure this will do anything to squash the color blind rumors, but it sure was fun.
Here's a bit of detail. The colors don't necessarily translate well in this quick iPhone snapshot but you get the idea. If this was a breakfast cereal...I'd eat it! Not sure what's happening with the shirt since Cosmo Lee abandoned ship quite a while ago but perhaps his successors will take this torch, so to speak. Check out Invisible Oranges. They just posted an interesting interview with Sabbath Assembly main man Dave Nuss (formerly of 80's thrash act Angkor Wat) which is actually what reminded me to post this drawing today. Thanks for all your work advancing heavy music and all that it entails, Cosmo. Best of luck with all your future projects.
Until next time...
"Delete 'em all!"