Phlotilla artwork creation process



Phlotilla is the second record by Topher Mohr: a bunch of shinny happy songs that will stay in your head for a long time making your life happier.
After three years of playing guitar for Mayer Hawthorne he is now stepping out on his own brand of funky, vintage pop songs.

When Topher contacted me he gave me some images he liked and the words he wanted to come to your mind when you listen to Phlotilla:  vintage, classic, elegant, world traveller, dreamy. Based on them I created three different ideas for the artwork:

– Sketch 1:


The idea in this sketch is to get a vintage japanese sci-fi movie poster vibe. The character (hero) would be Topher himself, but it wouldn´t be obvious: only his hair and profile will show us that it´s him. Our hero is flying using a retro flying propeller machine, and he is tiny compared to the huge monster. The monster is covered with feathers (elegant) and has really small hands (huge but delicate). When we open the booklet (or see the back of the case) we realize that there are actually dozens of monsters attacking him, what makes it more exciting and enforces the idea of “superhero”.

– Sketch 2:


This idea is based on the classy and elegant retro posters of  airlines from the 50´s. A mutant flight attendant welcomes us on board to one of the flying boat-rockets propelled by screws and engines. This is the idea that uses the word “Phlotilla” more obviously. In the back of the booklet we can see the suitcase tag from the “Topher  Mohr´s PHLOTILLA Airways”, also in a retro-paper style (although it´s for a spaceship), where we can include the credits and song titles. I included two different versions of the cover: one with a stronger title and the other with a softer one.

– Sketch 3:


This is the most minimalist and visual idea. A polar bear crosses violently our cover cooling it´s warm feeling, like a shiver. Just shapes and colors, an intense pose and face of the polar bear and the contrast between cold and hot colors. In the back of the booklet he is already swimming peacefully.

Topher loved sketch #2 (my favorite, too!) so we had the idea to work on. From here I needed to get references for vintage airlines logos, old baggage tags and vacation posters. I found lots of images that I like, here you have some samples for the lay out, tags and the space ship boats:


And these are a couple of references for the flight attendant:


One important detail was that Topher wanted to keep his logo from his first record from 2007 “True Love on the TV Set”:


I really like that logo and the idea of keeping the continuity was great, but in Phlotilla we needed to go a little further making the Topher Mohr logo work as one with the Phlotilla logo. Flight attendant´s tentacle was one of the most characteristic parts of the cover, so using tentacles to join both logos was a good idea (using tentacles is always a good idea!). Having both names working as a single logo is useful for posters and promo material, like in this case with the release date:


So after all this process this is the final artwork:


For the inlay booklet I used the starship boats flying in the opposite direction and used the colors from the flight attendant´s uniform:


And this is the back of the tray with the baggage tag:


And this is the cd label:


And this is the final result:


Topher had a great promotional idea: creating real tags for using in your suitcase to travel around the world. Cool!


And the mutant flight attendant is on the beautiful official tshirts.

Remember you can buy the album at Topher Mohr´s website and at the iTunes Store.

I highly recommend it: it´s good, it´s great.

By the way, it´s the “official soundtrack” during my illustration classes for kids: they love it, too!

Thanks for reading.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

5 thoughts on “Phlotilla artwork creation process

  1. […] External Link: Jose Fragoso – Process: Phlotilla Artwork […]

  2. […] External Link: Jose Fragoso – Process: Phlotilla Artwork […]

  3. […] External Link: Jose Fragoso – Black Rhino is officially extinct […]

  4. […] External Link: Jose Fragoso – Black Rhino is officially extinct […]

  5. […] I´ve created the artwork for Phlowers by Topher Mohr, you will see it very soon: I´ve already listened to it and it´s GREAT. I´m really proud of working with such a fantastic musician! Meanwhile you can read about how I created the artwork for his first record here: […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: