Last summer I got a call from Bob (Logic). I answer the phone: “Dude. Everything ok? It's 3 in the morning”. He replies: “Bro. I'm in Paris. I'm at the Louvre. I know what the next album cover is gonna be”. He says the name of a painting I only vaguely remembered from art history class, “The Wedding at Cana by Paolo Veronese”. Half asleep I go “doesn't that have like a 100 people in it?”. “130” he says with this giddy energy to his voice. “Maybe not that many but this is IT dude. It hit me. I want a celebration. My friends, my wife, my family, my inspirations, my dogs, your dog, your girl, you, all races, colors, creeds, genders, sexual orientations. I want a painting of EVERYBODY. All together, having a meal. This is it. However much time it takes, whatever it takes, I'll give you what you need to make it happen. I know it's the middle of the night, but this is a moment we'll remember. Trust me.”
It was a crazy request, but I knew I was in. Still, I wondered: would all of the inevitable months of effort be misplaced? Because really, no matter how big of an image it was, most people will consume the album art as a tiny thumbnail on a phone. Even when every little thing is carefully placed & researched, I just had to embrace it being a bit of a visual clusterfuck. It's a labyrinthine, complex, convoluted, & dense artwork, filled with a crazy backstory, hidden codes, easter eggs, symbolism, & foreshadowing for narratives he hasn't even shared yet. It's 6 months of research & work meant to be put under a microscope, it's meant to be seen at his shows, blown up big, viewed years later & still not know everything about it. Really, just like Bob, it's a hard first read – you've gotta dive deep.
While just an album cover -- just a tiny stamp that goes over the real shit everyone is here for, I'm not too cynical yet to admit it's still the most challenging & rewarding thing I've ever worked on & to be totally honest, I'm just genuinely excited to share that with everybody.
Album Cover Reveal trailer - March 29 - Directed by Andy Hines
Later used in an ad-buy, playing in front of screenings of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Nationwide.
This is the very first sketch that I sent to Logic for the Everybody cover art. It's different than my usual in that there's not even a hint at who anyone is or will be. This is because … we didn't know how many people there would be on the cover, who those people would be, or where they'd go, but we knew even with those questions unanswered, I had to begin somewhere. So I decided to treat the sketch less as a bottom layer of a painting, and more as a map: faceless poses and rough architecture all annotated with tiny numbers.
In December of last year, I sent him this sketch. We sat down for hours on end facetiming, notebooks & computers on hand, putting together a puzzle. Assigning each person & pose to a number, we combed through the working list, talking through every position, relation of one person to the next, putting in notes on body language, expressions, etc along the way. It was an interesting step in visual organization, but it also was where something bigger than the actual creation of the cover happened.
The 80 or so figures on this cover are not just his closest crew of music makers or name drop features -- you've got his wife, his dogs, cellists, bassists, videographers, life-long fans, people who run his social & sites, artists, assistants, casual friends, body guards, the people that discovered him, who kept him from being homeless, woven in with his greatest inspirations -- top to bottom no matter what their level of “perceived” importance, any construct of a hierarchy was thrown out the window – and he's just there, nowhere special, buried among them. He initially wanted to even be off to the left side, just chillin between people. I tried to argue that he should be at the center of his own damn cover (crazy. I know) – but this was a remarkably hard sell. It wasn't until I made the case that there in the bottom middle could be a pit for them to be entertaining all of the other people in the painting, giving music TO them, that he got on board. This is just a tiny vignette into the creation of “Everybody”, but it's emblematic of the kind of person Bob is and really: the message of the album.
One of the earliest questions that came up when working on the cover was: what are all these people gonna wear? Logic and I bounced around having all classical or all contemporary clothing, but eventually, I figured if I was gonna spend so many months making the painting, might as well make up the clothes too. Now, I'm far from a fashion designer, but I set a low bar for myself to just accomplish one goal: As long as the clothing on the cover read from a distance as classical and when you look closer, had a more futuristic vibe, I'd be happy. I drew from the Renaissance era: the color palette, elements of drapery, color-specific layers, weird vest-like shirt cuts, etc. Then tried to fuse it together with something more practical/modern that felt like scrappy sci-fi streetwear. Tight overlapping folds, big sneaker-esque boots, high-waisted pants/skirts, bold blocks of colored shapes, holster-style belts, head bands, patches, badges, and flight jackets tying the visuals all together.
Making some people's clothing lean traditional and others lean futuristic helped to ground things a bit. After all, walking through New York today you can pass by one person looking like they just stepped off of a farm on the prairie, and another decked out in yeezy season shit lookin like they're ready for the post-apocalyptic future. The cover was already going to be a visual cluster fuck so I really wanted to make minimalist, bright, solid-colored clothes. This way, whatever the actual designs ended up being, I could treat them more like puzzle pieces to disperse and organize color and shape across the picture – avoiding elaborate designs or intricate patterns along the way. Swipe to see where these designs ended up in the painting.
The robot was another of the earliest design challenges in making the cover because the idea existed before the concept of the cover existed. It was all the way back at the album release of The Incredible True Story, Logic told me to 1 day design a character, a mascot that would exist beyond one pose or potentially even one project of an idea he had. Bob first described the robot that he had in his mind as: a sleek, futuristic, utility robot with a retro screen for a head that lets it display emotes on the screen not unlike an EVE from Wall-E or a Chappie-esque design: but it could display anyone's face. This is common with how we do things: He has a broad idea with one very specific element, and I use that broad space as freedom to figure out how to implement it. I fire back a sketch, he riffs, I revise, & eventually what I picture & his vision lines up in a beautiful wonder twins power activate kinda moment. So with that direction: I began sketching, rolling through prototypes, 2 of which seen above – the 1st too retro, the 2nd: too military/alien/sci fi, but eventually we hit the mark with something that felt … “practical”: maybe more like an eventual iteration of a current day Honda robot than a far future android. Slick yet blocky, minimalist but with exposed wires, & while armored – also kinda approachable.
Once I'd figured out the design, I decided to do something I don't do enough: enlist some help. I put out a call for modelers & hired an amazing 3d artist: Chris Clough , who has worked on a number of Hollywood films. I sent some sketches & this 2d target concept painting I did, & he turned it into the 3d model you can see if you swipe over. This served as the ultimate reference model to use throughout the artwork & beyond: to always know the exact proportions of the robot. He did an incredible job on a very short time frame, & I was blown away at his ability to translate sketched ideas into 3d forms. Many of the rear elements he made up entirely to fill in gaps in my design. The story behind the ATM-300 series is for Logic to tell, but you can find some big clues in the album & the packaging for the Deluxe physical copy.
While I definitely dropped a mess of time researching “what” would be on the cover: the fashion, the robot, the architecture, the easter eggs – a good chunk of time was also spent researching “how” I was going to do that. Since the idea for the cover came from Logic seeing a painting by Paolo Veronese, an Italian Renaissance/Mannerist painting from 1563, I figured why not brush up on my art history and study how he and his contemporaries tackled things back then. It wasn't alien territory or anything, I did the art school thing and have always loved the era, but general rule: you can always know more, especially from the great, and in my case: a metric fuckton more. So I studied up, online, in books, and even on a research trip I took to Rome. I looked at how general the gesture sketches were, I studied the soft drags of the pencil for the refined sketches on toned paper, the muted midtone-focused underpainting, the pigments used, and the textural finish in final color.
The technique is iconic and I knew I'd never get close to the mastery of the source material, still, I did what I could to do right by it as I adapted the lessons learned with modern tools. In the sample section above showing some my favorite people in the VMG family, Lenbo, Christian , and the too-built to fit in the crop torso of Jordan , you can see this process develop. You'll see the technique build-up, but also the subtle shifts in placement and scaling that were made over time. This is largely because the longer I spent with the painting as the months dragged on, the more of my errors in early anatomy, proportion, and scaling started to surface. Lots of mistakes made over the course of the cover, so I probably spent just as much time painting as I did revising my own errors along the way. Still, in the end: the final details are always the most fun: Little texture flourishes with the brushwork, outfit detailing, space-food, symbols, getting just the right golden material highlights on the cups, and if you swipe all the way over: even designing a RattPack tattoo that several people throughout the painting are rockin.
When I started the cover art, I imagined the packaging & branding of the album complementing it by calling back to the classical era, but with a modern or futuristic twist. Initially, I pitched it as being really old & dark textural parchment with handwritten cursive writing & sketches, not unlike Da Vinci's notebooks. While not a bad idea necessarily, it really only checked the box on the classical, & didn't have that new-age twist. Fortunately, my literal favorite person, Kendall Lock is a phenomenal graphic designer, so Logic wisely hired her to work on it along side me. I took a step back from trying to be a designer here, slapped on the art director hat (beret?) instead, said to her: “here's my goal: I want something that calls back to the past, that Renaissance look, but feel slick & modern, how do we do that?” & she just found it. Light subtle textures, a minimal color palette of a brilliant blue, bold red, soft cream, & an inky brown, sleek logos, typography that seamlessly mixed together bold contemporary type-faces & modern twists on old gothic black letter, a minimalist approach to the illuminated manuscript, all tied together & just dripping with taste & restraint.
Her modern touch worked so well it bled over to my work on the painting side of things. When it came time to add my sketches & new illustrations to the packaging, I ended up adapting my style to fit the branding, pulling in the color palette, style guide, & textures she'd been creating – even the shade of red & blue were thrown into accents on the cover, as well as the the Everybody “E” banners. Together, but largely her, & with Bob guiding the way, we made all the brand that goes with Everybody: that's the logos, the typography, the packaging (which I'll share in full after the album is out as it was a huge endeavor), the singles, the advertising, & the eventual merchandise.
To see the full booklet, go to www.EverybodyAlbum.com
Here are a few sample pages: