Complex: Cover Tests

Complex: Cover Tests Tim Leong, the DD at Complex, walks us through their Oct/Nov cover:
The cover features the rap group The Clipse, who have a new album just about to drop. To make the cover really special we collaborated with KAWS, one of the biggest street artists of all time.

We initially shot The Clipse on a white background and then sent KAWS some of our favorite images. The original plan was for KAWS to create a new art background that would interact with the guys in some way. (above)

KAWS tried a different background but it still didn't quite feel right. We thought the hands were interesting though -- we liked the idea of them coming from the reader's POV. But the way they were grabbing at The Clipse, it seemed too zombie/horror. (below)
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Then we tried with just one hand, and it still wasn't working:
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We knew we liked the hands, but we weren't crazy about the rest. So we decided to start from scratch and try a different approach and figure out a way to make the hands work.
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What if...the hands were at a store and they were reaching on a shelf? That's when we had the idea of making The Clipse into a bunch of bobble heads or miniature busts. But it looked ridiculously weird. Ridiculously.
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We did like the toy aspect, especially since collecting is a key aspect to our readership. And that's when we had the idea of making The Clipse into action figures.
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We put the art piece KAWS did in as a background, he then converted our coverlines into stickers and then mocked up a blister pack (the plastic encasing).
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Next we called up artist extraordinaire Eddie Guy to help us finish. We liked the dimension he was able to create, but we wanted it to feel more form-fitting.
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This version was definitely more form-fitting and looked great, but it just felt more like a dollar story toy, and not a collectible.
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Then Eddie created the reverse plastic molding and it felt right. We added another coverline, tweaked some colors and details and we were done.
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And there it is.

Photographer: Matt Doyle
Illustrators: KAWS, Eddie Guy









  • pcrowl

    Very interesting to see the process and I love how the final version turned out! Great!

  • Sally

    I really like this, Tim. The concept had the potential to go wrong...I've seen it done badly so many times...but this looks great!

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