Spotify Album Cover Art

tree being chopped down illustration

The process of creating and album cover for use on Spotify


album cover illustration of Garth McGowan

Create an idea board

Gather the clients keywords

Make an idea board

Fill it up quickly

Step back and see what ideas stand out to you

I took the input and made an idea board. I collected pictures of trains, saws, vintage apple boxes, decaying frames, etc. You can use Pinterest or a local file to copy and paste images to quickly gather images that catch your imagination. I looked at everything I gathered and started to form ideas.

Create your own ideas

Use the board as reference material. Sometimes you need to have a photo of an old saw for reference. After this research you know right where to go when it is time to draw. You will be free to create your own unique drawing.

pencil sketch of tree

I submitted some sketches. We decided on the portrait for the cover. The client liked another as well so the project grew in scope. I worked the frame elements into both pictures so they would feel unified.

Less is more

  • Illustrate one idea per picture
  • All visual elements should support this idea
  • Help your client find the essence of the story
  • Leave room for the imagination
tree being chopped down illustration

File prep for social media

  • Work large but think for small for mobile devices
  • Plan for several file sizes across social media platforms
  • Generate files for landscape and portrait orientation
  • Plan ahead for web site use

One thing to consider when prepping files for clients is the final destination. This project was for Spotify. Spotify used music aggregators. It is important to determine the image size requirements early on in the project. This saves editing of the final image or awkward cropping in the end. The client also decided to add a printed CD Jewel case. My working file size is always larger than the needs for digital use, so scaling the art to 300dpi was not an issue. I looked up the specs for the printed cd case and created the layout for the files. Lastly I generated a folder full of images at the appropriate sizes for various social media sites. The client will have those handy for their marketing efforts.

I used this site for my social media sizes:

There are lots of good ones to choose from.

At the end of the project the artist decided to have CD’s made.

Garth McGowan CD Mockup

Thank you for reading!