Grindstone Art draft logos (part 1)

Current Works in Progress, General, Grindstone Art promotion

Reight. if I’m going to do Grindstone Art properly, I’ll need publicity material – contact cards, flyers/leaflets, web banners and all sorts of fancy stuff. With that in mind, I’ve been working for much of the last week on a logo design I can adapt for any medium. Here are my finished and painted draft logos so far. I’ll base the final one on a mixture of my favourite bits of these. They’re all 150 x 60mm, acrylic paint (and black acrylic ink in some cases) on 150gsm paper.


July 2013 logo 800

The first painted draft looks pretty  serviceable but not perfect. I quite like the blade on the G descender, and the placement seems to work quite well. Composition-wise, it’d make a good header for a card or flyer.

I’d been experimenting with symbolic spark effects (which I will definitely use in my final design) but I think those star-shapes look a bit naff, and placed too close to the E & bottom line. The top spark-line could work to underline the title, but the slight upward angle constrains the eye a bit. I might keep this basic composition, but I’ll alter the sparks.

The worst part is that it reminds me a lot of another logo – I couldn’t remember the name at first but figured it out when I’d nearly finished: the bold capital letters and tilted text are part of the Bridgestone tyres logo, which makes me label this the Bridgestone Art logo. I don’t want my logo to remind people of tyre companies, so that needs to change. The tricky part is changing it without losing some of the dynamic effect this logo has , and which I’m quite pleased with overall.


Aug 2013 Logo 1 800

This was an attempt to develop some of the ideas in #1, using the same basic composition & lettering style but without the tilt. I added a hooked serif to the bottom of most of the letters, which was intended to add an element of rhythm but actually just ends up looking like dangling bananas. I’m just glad I used orange for this one rather than yellow. One to avoid in the final design.

The vertical block lettering has little of the urgent quality of #1, which goes against the idea of a motif based on movement, so I’ll have to find another way still of showing the dynamism I want from my logo.

It uses solid, spoke-like sparks instead of the cartoonish stars of #1, these look much better so I’ll use these in the final design. I took some time to plot the curved light-trail but it seems to just drag the eye down below the banner – a frustrating distraction from the design.

The orange colouring seems too dark on the blakc background, so if I use orange on the final design it should just be to add some extra punch to a larger area, rather than a dominant colour (it just isn’t dominant enough). I’d need to be careful though, too much yellow/red/orange on black will always remind me of the Games Workshop logo, which for the sake of my own health, I want to avoid.


Aug 2013 Logo 2 800

I tried reversing the composition here, but it leads the eye off in totally the wrong direction. If you’re used to reading left to right, text angled to the left just gets confusing.

The overlapping letters might save a bit of space but the create too much separation between the words (‘Grindstone’ should be one word!) .

Having the sparks surrounding the lettering, rather than underlining it, makes it look far too spangly & glam for my tastes, whereas it should have a harshness of sharpening a blade. It isn’t about the sparkles, it’s about heat, noise and Metal. That mustn’t be forgotten. This logo can.


Aug 2013 Logo 3 800

The lettering here was done free-hand with a steel-nibbed pen rather than plotting it with a ruler & protractor first. I did measure out the basic tilt angle & the baseline/cap-height, but they have too little distance to really make a visual impact. This has some of the dynamism of #1 but having ‘Art’ at the right side makes it seem extraneous, too far removed from the grindstone motif to be part of the core image.

I do rather like the hand-drawn look though, I might condiser keeping that. I’ll have another go at a hand-drawn GA logo before I settle on a final design. This lettering looks too thin and is easily overpowered by the sun-like grindstone, so I’d make it thicker & bolder than here.

So, for the final logo:

Grindstone on the top left corner. Full moon, not setting sun.

Sparks, not sparkles, stars or spangles.

Yellow on black. Possible sparing white or orange.

Bold text.

Dynamic angles, but not to the extent of resembling tyre companies.

Metal, not fruit.


Coming soon: The final design for ‘IX’, which has now gone to print, a possible project with another band who got in touch with me t’other day, some early sketches for GA logos and the final logo development and design.

Hamerex ‘IX’ Cover Concepts Part 3

Current Works in Progress, Hamerex

Here are the final drafts for the ‘IX’ album cover, completed a few weeks ago now. I’m drawing towards the end of this project and getting quite excited about the end product. I’ll be starting work on the inlay very soon, and working on some Grindstone Art promotional material in between, such as a pretty web banner to replace the plain grey header up there.

Both of these images are rendered in black acrylic ink & white acrylic paint on corruguated cardboard. Cardboard takes ink & paint really well & provides a natural mid-tone, which makes it easy & pleasant to work with. It also has a distinct texture which can be used to add a certain dimension to the painting, such as to add drybrush effects. It’s also free, which is never something to complain about – these started off as an Ikea box left by the bins outside a pub nearby.

The only obvious drawback to corruguated card is the obvious distinctive lined texture which can be difficult to avoid in photographs, so I’ll need to be careful when I photograph the final illustration for the cover. Incidentally, that’s pretty much complete, but you’ll have to wait to see that.

Final Hell City draft:

Landscape Concept 6x18 1024

Final Lucifer draft (note that the colours on the images above & below are the same, but I had to photograph them under different lighting conditions. I like the warm effect but it’s an inconvenient demonstration of how lighting can dramatically affect your images.

Landscape Concept 6x18 2 1024


Finally, a title page mock-up using the Lucifer head draft:

Landscape Concept Lucifer Title




Hamerex ‘IX’ cover concepts part 2

Current Works in Progress, Hamerex

Here’s my second set of draft images for Hamerex’ forthcoming album, simply titled IX. These are in a different format than the previous images as they’re designed for a much wider layout. It’s quite liberating to work in such a wide landscape format as you can explore detail to the right and left of the central image. It requires a different level of attention to the composition, and doesn’t reward confined perspectives. I’ve played around with perspectives a few times during this project and you can see more of my experimentation as I release more images. The best is still to come 😉

Once again, these use the central railway bridge as a linking motif, with some recognisable features from Wakefield’s landscape. Both images are approximately 100 x 300mm (excluding margins) and rendered in black acrylic ink on packing paper.

IX Black Concept 1 1024

IX Black Concept 2 1024

Hamerex: ‘IX’ cover concepts

Current Works in Progress, Hamerex

The first colour concept image for Hamerex’ forthcoming album. The basic theme of the cover is Wakefield, West Yorkshire (the band’s home town) as Hell. The album has a recurring influence from Dante’s Inferno, one of my favourite books. I’ve been through Wakefield many times on the train so have mainly seen it from the top of the large rail bridge that cuts through the centre. Looking down from the bridge reminds me of Hell’s Malebolge, a series of concentric rings of vast trenches or canyons in which the shades of sinners march, flee, boil or are trampled for eternity. Hence, I’ve chosen the bridge (viewed from ground level) as a unifying factor throughout the visual development progress. Or, in real-personish, as an image that links all the drafts.

IX Concept Inked 1 Preview

I was never entirely satisfied by this draft, & didn’t think it was necessary to work into the detail of the bridge or the buildings in the background. The emphasis here was mainly on the mini-Balrog-like demons and marching shades.

IX Colour concept 2 1024

Again, I didn’t think it was necessary to work into the detail of the bridge or the buildings in the background, though this does give more of an impression of the Wakefield skyline that gets much more attention in later drafts (coming soon!). The emphasis here was on the giant three-faced Lucifer who resides in the lake of Cocytus, the centre of Hell.

IX Colour concept 3 1024

This draft focuses on what would be the reverse-side of the cover, a scene influenced by the Fifth Circle of Hell, the City of Dis, in which the souls of Heretics burn in stone sarcophagi, surrounding the tombs of the leaders.

All images are  rendered in Acrylic ink & paint on packing paper.

A video clip of the recording progress can be viewed here:

A live performance of the song ‘Inferno’ from the forthcoming album can be viewed here:

Hamerex’ website:

These images can also be viewed at Grindtone Art’s deviantART page.