Goodnight, Bull Creek!

For Bob Evans’ (aka Kevin Mitchell) third album, he took a decidedly different approach to the artwork. Goodnight, Bull Creek! alludes to his native suburb outside of Perth and his departure for new terrain. The artwork is a departure as well from his first two albums: Suburban Kid and Suburban Songbook.

The new look, while still nostalgic and romantic, has more of a storybook, hand-crafted quality to it. The liner notes are an excerpt of Bob’s studio diary from the recording, with lyrics being placed on his website instead. All captions to the booklet illustrations are Bob’s own.

Sleevage caught up with Kareena Zerefos, the illustrator of all GNBC!-related artwork. The artwork is based on a series of photographs by Andrew Christie, a Perth friend of Bob’s, and re-interpreted by Kareena. Her other album artwork credits include Sparkadia and The John Steel Singers. And if you’re a regular at venerable Sydney live venue, The Hopetoun, undoubtedly Kareena’s work gracing the walls has given you a moment’s pause over your schooner.

Q: What type of illustration & design work do you typically do? How do you describe your style?

KZ: Most of the work I do involves hand drawn illustration, which I often work in with some computer generated design elements – particularly for commercial projects. I love working for clients within the music and fashion industries, and I’m lucky to have the opportunity to do this quite a bit.

I would describe my style as being delicate, nostalgic and whimsical.

Q: How did you get involved in the Bob Evans album artwork?

KZ: It was back in December last year that I received a lovely email from Kevin, he had come across some of my work while looking for inspiration for album art and after having a bit of a chat about it all, I ended up working on the artwork for Goodnight, Bull Creek!

Q: What was the brief for the artwork?

The brief was fairly open, I suppose the main criteria basically was to draw “a simple walking picture” of Kevin. This was great because I was able to have a bit of a play, which allowed the artwork to evolve in its own way. We ended up deciding to show this evolution with the artwork for the first single release from the album, Someone So Much.

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Photo by Andrew Christie

Someone So Much - single
Someone So Much – single

Q: How did the music play a role in the artwork?

I think Goodnight, Bull Creek! has a really honest, personal feel to it – similar to the older Bob Evans raw folkish sound [but I suppose a little bit more rock and roll!] and I wanted to sort of tie everything together like a storybook through my illustrations. The most important thing to me was to try and capture the honesty, but also the energy and, to some extent, earthiness.

Q: How did you go about creating the artwork?

The artwork was created with a multitude of hand drawn and painted layers. It started out as a sketch to get an idea of composition and also posture, then it was really about finding the right expression in the face and finally bringing in more colour, texture and movement. I worked with all of these elements in photoshop to evolve these as the ideas developed.

Someone So Much - EP
Someone So Much – EP

Q: Tell us about the font choices.

We became quite interested in the idea of the artwork being a little bit like that of a vintage storybook [a bit of an obsession of mine!], so when playing around with different ideas for the type this was what I had in mind. I based the type on an existing classic serif typeface, but tweaked it a little to make it a little more personal and unique.

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Q: What were the biggest challenges with the project?

Working with portraits is generally one of the most challenging things to do, particularly when there is a tight deadline and a small number of reference images to work from. Finding the right expression, depicting a realistic likeness and making this work with the overall figure and composition was quite difficult with this piece.

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Q: What’s next for you?

I’m about to head over to Sweden and Denmark for a little inspirational trip, there are some fantastic artists and designers from that part of the world, and I’m also really interested in the landscape and history. When I return I’m hoping to have a bit of time to explore new ideas and materials for my personal artwork… and besides that, I’ll take it as it comes .

Kareena’s artwork is being featured alongside that of Daniel Boud and Greedy Hen at the World Bar in Kings Cross.