Wonk 'Sphere'

5 December 2017 ● 2 mins read ● 1 image

An album cover I made for the Tokyo experimental soul band WONK. I did illustration/design (minus their name & the parental advisory sticker). When I first sat down with the drummer to talk about what they wanted, he gave me a pretty open framework to get busy with: they liked red, the NxWorries album cover and wanted something ふんやふんや(funya funya, a word which I didn't know at the time). I basically had free reign.

In the initial stages this project went through quite a few thumbnails, all playing off the title 'Sphere,'  to figure out which direction to take. They're influenced by the jazz luminary Thelonius Monk, so I had made some ideas using his image. I really dig the Gudetama character (an anthropomorphic egg yolk for the uninitiated), so I played with using the yolk as a symbol for the mind. I eventually found a somewhat trippy mix of these two ideas in an egg yolk being pulled from Thelonius Monk's head, his essence extracted if you will. Being that the band is from Tokyo, I wanted to have some sort of cultural tie-in with the chopsticks without it being horribly trite (as it can often be when referencing any Asian culture that uses said utensils). Cultural tie-in aside, I also really liked the simple drawings of Gudetama being picked up by a pair of chopsticks, in particular, the overlap of the yolk over the chopstick in the foreground.

After I had the basic image worked out, I made some drafts of a custom title treatment, which then got sorted after the band had sent over 'Rubber Soul' as a reference. Drawings got scanned, clean-up and adjustments ran their course, colors were tested and this is the final product that come out of the whole process.

It was awesome to see my work on a finished CD when I went to their album release party at the Jazzy Sport record shop in Shimokitazawa. It was additionally cool when a friend messaged me to say he saw the cover featured on the side of Tower Records in Shibuya for a couple of weeks.

The boys seem to have hit their stride after this release came out, and have since played with a myriad of talented local/touring artists. They've got two albums 'Castor' & 'Pollux' currently out (designed by someone else), were in some targeted Corona ad online last summer, and have quite a few things bubbling, so looks like they're doing alright for themselves. Check 'em out if you have the chance!

Very interesting story this time again! I'm Japanese but I don't know what ふんやふんや is haha

Did you show some other your ideas before you decide to use Thelonious Monk? If so, how did you do that? Do you do rough sketch with a pencil to convey some of your ideas before a client agrees on the concept?

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About Chad

Chad Fischer

I'm an illustrator in Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo-based illustrator with a unique blend of styles who specializes in hand-drawn work and hand type.

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