A DIY Music Artist's Guide to Eye-Catching Artwork

You’ve spent ages making music, recording, mixing, AND mastering – but one thing is still left to do! The cover artwork. This is the bit that always frustrates me. Although I’m a creative, I’m by no means a graphic designer. So, this blog is about me giving you a little insight into what I do and how I get by with cover artwork. If I can do it, so can you!

More than ever before, image is crucial, and the artwork might be the difference between someone clicking on your new track to listen to it, or not. Remember, the artwork will be an asset that can be used many times over, for example, on social media platforms, as well as DSPs (Digital Streaming Platforms) and in articles/blogs.


Here are some tips to think about before designing your artwork:


Tip #1 - Be realistic about your skill set


Is this something you’re willing to dedicate time to and experiment with? In most cases, mine especially, your artwork won’t look perfect first-time round, so be prepared for lots of amendments.


Tip #2 - What is your image?


Think about your brand, your colours, your overall STYLE. Are you an artist who would suit cartoon animations or a hand drawn piece of art? For me, this doesn’t really fit in with my style right now, so a photoshoot is the best way forward for me personally. Whichever option you choose, there will be a lot of time and planning that goes into things behind the scenes because we want it to look the best it possibly can! If the budget for a photoshoot is out of the question right now, check out Unsplash. I've used their images before for blogs, and they have a great choice of photos.


“The photos on Unsplash are free to use and can be used for most commercial, personal projects, and for editorial use. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.”


Back to the photo VS illustration artwork, here’s some examples of styles:


Tip #3 - Typography


Again, make sure this fits in with your overall brand. There’s nothing more confusing to fans than an artist who doesn’t know what their own style is. Make sure the text is easy to read.


Tip #4 - Platforms


Personally, I use Canva to create all my artwork and social media content, and I love how easy it is to navigate for a beginner like me. They even do a blog on creating music artwork which is worth a read. View here for their step-by-step guide. Of course, it is worth noting that there are other design platforms that you could use, and these might work better for you depending on your level of expertise. Consider checking out Adobe PhotoShop and Drawtify too.


To wrap up, the best piece of advice I can give from previous experience is to take your time when creating. It’s a process, it’s not going to happen perfectly all at once. Give yourself time to be creative, get all your ideas out and get designing. I usually do about 5 different designs before I pick the one that I ultimately like (and that’s after many tweaks and usually sending it to family and friends to get feedback first).


I can’t wait to see what you create!