Creating and finishing the artwork for your latest release doesn’t need to be an expensive or tumultuous endeavor. Here are four free ways to craft something worthwhile for the imagery to your upcoming EP or Album.
Gimp is the Open-source response to Photoshop. It’s not identical, but much like learning to work an Android after a lifetime of iPhones– it’s not impossible to learn and has the benefit of being 100% free on any operating system. If you want Photoshop quality covers without paying Photoshop prices, and you have the patience to learn it, Gimp is the program for you.
In the same vein as Gimp, Inkscape is the Open-Source answer to Adobe’s Illustrator. Preferred by several independent Game designers, Inkscape is perfect for creating iconic vector images that can be saved in a scalable, lossless format– making it the perfect editor for band logos that need to fit both on an album and a billboard without any real image degradation.
Much like Wikipedia, Wikimedia– or Wiki Commons– is a collection of photographs, scanned documents, schematics, patents, classical artworks, etc that are licensed anywhere form creative commons to public domain. My personal favorites are public domain works. If you want to feature a cool piece of old time calligraphy as an overlay, a classical portrait that’s ironically updated for your uses, or just some historically relevant photo– this is the place to gather your assets.
OpenClipArt.org is the holy grail of assets for album covers. It has typography, icons, borders, 50’s style advertising illustrations, basic clip art, ornamental accouterment, and anything you can think of– all readily and easily tagged and searchable, and all 100% free and public domain (Which means no paperwork on the back end for using it no matter how famous your album gets). OpenClipart.com is the gift that keeps on giving. As most of the assets contained on the site are vector based, you can download anywhere from small, low bandwidth versions of the files up to the full resolution .PNG files for maximum usage.