Friday, February 24, 2012

Arjen Lucassen - "Lost in the New Real" Cover Art

Oh yeah, boys and girls!
I am allowed to show you now some of the process behind the creation of the cover of "Lost in The New Real", the upcoming solo album by Arjen Lucassen

It was an interesting journey for sure...  one that neither Arjen nor I anticipated.  A journey filled with fierce battles, time anomalies, alien diplomacy, strange communications and weird visions!    It began around June 2011; I decided to establish communications with Mr. L's outpost to express my interest in a possible collaboration.  At first, Mr. L was somewhat reluctant to the idea... he didn't fully trust this new life form so he put my abilities to the test.  He told me about this new concept he was developing; I found the storyline extremely cool and reminded me of an old Gene Roddenberry TV movie called "Genesis II".   So between Star Trek quotations through email and countless days of non-sleeping I came up with some sketches featuring a William Shatner-like character, not knowing that the main character was Mr. L himself!   

After looking at my sketches, Arjen made clear that he didn't want a cold digital-looking cover and this was deffinetelly not the right approach.  Instead, he wanted an old fashioned illustration in the style of the old sci-fi movies of the 50s and 60s.  "Forbidden Planet", "The Day The Earth Stood Still", "Fight To Mars" and "The Time Travelers" (to name a few) were some of the posters we analized to be used as reference for our project.  Again, a very cool idea, but one no easy to create as we would find out soon enough.   At first, I wanted to pay tribute "by the book" to that style and imitate the 50s illustration style to perfection but as I started showing advances to Arjen, he pointed out that some of the elements looked cheap!   I said, "well of course it looks cheap!  everything about those old movies was cheap and cheesy.  It's part of the style!".   He then went on by saying that maybe people won't understand that kind of obscure graphic tribute and will simply see a cheap-crappy-illustration.  It took me a couple of days to process this but ultimatelly I agreed to this logic.  This basically opened up a whole new universe of possibilities since we were paying tribute to classic sci-fi with modern tools.   So the new aproach was, what if 50s illustrators of movie posters would have had Photoshop!  What would they have done!?

The final product of this concept is a very eerie but interesting looking scene.  One that was the result of two weird minds clashing together through space-time continuum.  Mr. L and Mr. C going to where no artist has gone before!

The image itself shows a troubled Mr. L inside a holodeck (those of you who are familiar with Star Trek TNG will know of what I'm talking about - if not, shame on you!) simulating a very colourful alien landscape (somewhat inspired by the movie Forbidden Planet).  In the far distance, the Dream Sequencer can be seen; tying in the whole concept with the Ayeron universe in a way that remains a mistery!  (yes, I know).    Outside the holodeck room and consciously overseeing everything,  we can see the excentric scientist Voight-Kampff, who is also operating the holodeck's master controls.  The whole scene is framed in a very cool space setting that adds just a little bit more oddity to everything.

So there you go!  The cover explained!   

Just wait to see the rest of the art I made for the record.  At least 6 of the songs have individual illustrations, turning the booklet almost into a nice little graphic novel.   And that story shall also be told!

Live long and prosper!

Arjen on the Cover Art:


Click on each image to enlarge.


 Poster Version

Album Version

Holodeck Landscape (with Dream Sequencer)


Unused Landscape Illustration
(with alternative outpost)

Mock-Up sketch #1

Mock-Up sketch #2

 Landscape Pencil Sketch

Original Concept Sketch
Feat. William Shatner
(idea rejected by Arjen)

Original Concept Sketch
(idea rejected by Arjen)

 Mr. L showing off his Star Trek toys

 Mr. C showing off his Star Trek toys

  Mr. C showing off his Star Trek toys

 Mr. L facing danger in an unknown planet!


  1. The Holodeck Landscape would make a sick wallpaper if it was 1920x1080

  2. Outstanding pics!! :-) 2 geniuses.

    Greetings from Central America

    1. Wow... thanks for the kind words! However, Arjen is the true genious; I just went along for the ride!