Recently, HP and Gwen Stefani teamed up to offer fans some pretty cool printables. The styles of artwork range from just plain cute to downright pretty – but being me, I wasn’t going to be happy until I’d played around with coming up with that same style all on my own.
In this guide, we’ll use the basic art created in the previous tutorial and add to it some key elements that will grace our CD label and CD case covers with some serious style – you’ll want to hit my page to find the guide on creating the basic art. When you hit my page, if you have trouble finding the guide you’re looking for, try using “Ctrl” + “F” on your keyboard. This will pull up a search box. In the search box, type “Album Art” and hit the “Find Next” button. It’ll pull up, I promise.
To use this guide, you’ll need a copy of Adobe Photoshop (versions 7 through the current CS3 will work) or a comparable program like GIMP. Beyond that, all that you need is a little bit of time on your hands.
Design Album Art – The Steps
For this guide, we’re going to be emulating the look of one of Gwen Stefani’s sets, the red “Love Is My Homegirl” one. We’re going to be using the basic art we created in the previous tutorial for this, just to save time.
1. The Text: We’re starting here because the text is something that will be added to each piece of the album art, so we might as well fix it up now. It’s also very easy. You’ll want to make a new canvas (File, New) that is sized 1000 x 1000 pixels, 300 pixels/inch resolution, in RGB mode with a white background. Then, using your favorite “fat” font, type out the slogan you want on each of your album art pieces. You’ll want the text to be white, and then add a 5-10 pixel black stroke to it. (To add a stroke, go to “Layer”, choose “Style”, and select “Stroke”. Change the color to black and the width to somewhere between 5 & 10 pixels, depending on your font and what you like).
2. The CD Labels: Moving up a step in the “easy” department are the CD Labels. If you don’t have a label template that you can use to base size on, you can grab one from Avery – just scroll down to download the label.
Now, let’s fill our canvas with color. It can be any background color you like, but since I’m trying to stick with the exact same look as Gwen Stefani’s work, I’ll be using #ed1c24. Next, you’ll define the outer circle edge of the label with whatever shape you used as an accent in your basic art. I used hearts, so I’ll circle hearts all around the edge of the label. Reference Illustration 01.
No, this isn’t hard. Yes, it’s time-consuming. You can save yourself a little bit of time by making sure you merge each layer of the shapes you make for the border, and then duplicate the final layer (right-click, choose “Duplicate Layer) to move on to your other label.
The only thing left is to drop your basic art and your slogan in. You’ll want to resize them to fit nicely, and then save your finished labels without the border lines. You can also add a shape behind the basic art that matches the shapes you’ve been using throughout the design.
3. The CD Cover: From here on out, it’s easy as … well, pick a cliche. You’ll be doing the same steps – fill the canvas with your background color, drop in your artwork, and save.
To start the CD Cover, open a new canvas sized 2849 x 1406 pixles, 300 pixels/inch resolution, in RGB mode with a white background. Fill the background with your chosen color, and add your artwork to the right-hand side of the canvas. Try adding a border around the artwork to really set it off. This way, when you print, you can fold the piece in half and have a cover “booklet” which allows you room to jot down the titles of tracks on the inside, nice and neat.
4. The CD Back: Finally, there’s the back insert for a CD case… if you need it. With all the slimline jewel cases out there, it becomes less and less appealing to have dozens of the fat cases that just take up more space.
The back should be nearly the same as the cover – the only thing you’ll want to change about the design is making the artwork on it smaller. This gives you room to jot a few notes if you like, or just have it look professional. The size for the back should be 1772 x 1388 pixels, 300 pixels/inch resolution, in RGB mode. Other than that, just complete your project off the same way you did the front.