May 132013

If you’re a regular NCS stalker, you’ve seen this cover before. Twice before, actually, because I keep looking for new excuses to stick it on the site. It’s the hellaciously eye-catching gatefold artwork for Bloodlines, the new Relapse Records album by Rhode Island’s Howl — which is also hellaciously good, by the way. To see an even larger image of the artwork, click the pic above.

The artist who created the cover is Ryan Begley, and this is his third record cover for Howl (the other two are also killer). Today we have the pleasure of giving you a behind-the-scenes look at how the Bloodlines artwork came into existence, including the rough and final pencil sketches that evolved into the finished inked-and-colored piece you’re looking at. As Ryan explains:

All the visuals were inspired by lyrical content and both the band and I wanted to have an image with a lot of elements that would take time for the viewer to soak in. I tried to have all the characters and elements interacting and overlapping as much as possible.  The blood was one of the more difficult but fun elements to draw for the cover. Figuring out how it would flow and move throughout the frame and around the characters took a while to sketch out.

The band wanted a bright and vibrant cover and I thought it would translate best if we kept the colors in the same family. Once I settled on a specific red for the blood the rest of the palette was pulled from that.

And here is a montage of those sketchs:


To see more of Ryan Begley’s work, check out his official site HERE. Very cool stuff.

Down below you’ll find the Bandcamp stream for Bloodlines.  And if you happened to miss the May 6 premiere of Howl’s official video for the Bloodlines track called “Demonic”, here it is again:


  1. Damn i love when artists post these different development stages. That said, the Howl album never clicked with me. It sounded too bland for one.

  2. good post, this kind of stuff is always fun to see. Begley does gorgeous work

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