pyramid breaks…

More ground level news: their latest release is by the breaks giants Pyramid. The picto-brain was asked to create the cover art for the track ‘Steal Tonight’, which is awesome, and to turn it in to a short promo video. As the image was created in photoshop, it was quite straight forward to animate the layers in premiere pro and sync to the sample of the track, both can be found below.

The track is available on beatport [here] and you can also follow pyramid on twitter [here] too. Enjoy.

pyramid steal tonight 1440x 1440

New release…

Flipping back to the positive, a new release for Ground Level means another piece of design for music goes out to the ether today too. This time round its Joe C with the track ‘Kamikaze’ and a remix from label boss Andy McAllister, which you can listen to (and buy… *coughs*) here.

Joe C kamikaze 1440x 1440

Not in use…

jo lewis lovers cover art

Recently, the picto-brain offered to create the artwork for the talented Jo Lewis’ next release. After a conversation over a beverage or two, armed with the titles, a little insight in to the stories behind the songs and a page of notes on appropriate colours, moods and themes, the ‘brain set to work whilst listening to the ep.


The concept artwork was delivered, and although Jo liked the layered image, she has opted for a more traditional cover with a striking self portrait.

You can’t win them all, so the saying goes, and it was an interesting creative project none the less.

Check out Jo’s music here and keep an eye on her facebook page for updates on the forthcoming ep.


design or art?…

Happy Friday folks, here’s a little question for a sunny evening:

If the typographical element is removed from album sleeve design/single cover design, can the remainder be considered art?



Below are a few pieces of design for music from the picto-brain with the text removed or cropped away…

sasha kahn global meltdown no text fisso and spark freefall no text rebel_sketchy_up_and_down_no text joe c - skunky no text remixes_2011_cover_ no text fisso and spark do it baby concept no text

illusion reality…

Another piece of work for Ground Level, this time a composite image with opposing perspectives for Leuce Rhythms’ next release, Illusion Reality.  For more information, look [here]

Leuce Rhythms illusion reality amended

floating pyramids…

A casual hour long composite piece, made as an example for a workshop creating fantasy worlds to learn Photoshop techniques. The picto-brain has been reading about Egypt recently and seems to have influenced this image a little… Nice.

Floating pyramid

I have a few friends who are graffiti artists and in recent conversations, I was informed of some of the ‘etiquette’ of the art form. Some of these rules included: a- to not spray near an established artists work to gain kudos from their piece, and b- to not cover over another piece of work if it still looks reasonably fresh, just to get a good location.


In defence of the picto-brain, it was done digitally – no actual art was harmed in the creation of a piece of design.

A brief required an image of a wall by a road… stock image sites had been trawled with no luck… Then I remembered a photo I took just off Brick Lane… with a little photoshop magic it was the perfect wall…

I really like this piece by Guy Denning and ‘painting’ it out felt quite wrong but, its a great wall and at least it wasn’t real. The finished piece of design is for a music download (hence the square crop) and can’t be revealed until the tracks go public – keep your ears and eyes open people.

Here’s the before and after – sorry Guy:


guy denning painted over


Another piece of work for Fisso & Spark. This weighty track needed an appropriate image to fit it, so the picto-brain wrangled pixels to make this composite:

Fisso and Spark Earthquake 1440x1440


Featuring remixes by Drumattic Twins and Sasha Khan, check it out on the Ground Level label blog [here]

still transmitting…

Hello folks – Happy New Year! (late I know, but better late than never I guess!) Apologies for the long radio silence – the picto-brain has been relocating to a new creative space and settling in. Work has continued- some new pieces will be up shortly- and details of some new collaborations will be revealed in the near future… keep your ears and eyes open.

The 1623 theatre company provide theatre performances, learning workshops, award-winning participatory activities and inspirational training courses all formed from or inspired by the works of Shakespeare. They’re currently conducting a research-and-development project that engages people creatively with King Lear in the context of dementia, a part of which is an open submission asking for creative responses to the quote ‘Let me not be mad’. [details here – closes 20th Sept!]
Here is the pictographik submission, a photoshop composite that hopefully echoes the tone of the phrase. (…maybe?!) Once the image is uploaded to their site, a link will be added.
Let me not be mad - pictographik submission
The original stock photos (below) came from sxc and were uploaded by user Leroys, check out his awesome detailed images here. The type is a combination of Times New Roman and Fusion.


Here’s another piece of download artwork for Fisso & Spark for their next single ‘Dynamics’. It’s from their album ‘Future’ on Ground Level records and will be out in the er… near future! Here is the full series to see it in context:

fizzo and spark dynamics 1440 x 1440


Fisso and Spark 'You Can Do It'


fizzo and spark come with me


fizzo and spark future 1440x1440


sticky retro sign

The picto-brain was commissioned by the awesome Miss Cakehead to create some retro signs for her latest project, this time a lot less gory than her other work but no less extravagant! Miss Cakehead is going to make it snow edible ice cream for two days at Thorpe Park  on Friday July 26 and Saturday July 27 – that’s right, you did just read that – edible snow! In the middle of summer! More details can be found [here], if head along, keep you eyes peeled for the signs!

mini audio zine…

After visiting a self-publishing fair at Chapter in Cardiff recently [details here], the picto-brain was inspired to create a mini-zine for o_S_k_m. The zine is limited to only 100 copies and contains a download code for a 3 track ep. It’s a typographic piece exploring the meaning of the 4 letters in the name… Do they actually stand for anything?

For details of getting one, email originalsoundkeepsmodifying@gmail.com 

A short while ago, the legend that is Neil Gaiman asked for submissions for his A Calendar of Tales project, and the website has now gone live! [here] I’m also really happy to announce that pictographik was a runner up and has work featured on the site which can be found under February! Check out the full twelve stories, and the great selection of images too. Awesome!

A Calendar of Tales screengrab



zombie pool rules…

Here’s another piece of promotional work for the talented Miss Cakehead, this time a zombie twist to the classic Pool Rules sign as part of the campaign for the next Resident Evil game from Capcom.

zombie pool sign metal


More details can be found here: http://misscakehead.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/zombie-pool-rules/

It was a great opportunity to get sketching again using good old fashioned pen and paper – and no – that’s not Comic Sans!

Here is the first in a series of re-imagined cd covers. ‘Music has the right to children’ by Boards of Canada is a pictographik favourite and April 20th was the 15th anniversary of its release – and celebrates the news of a new album from them due out in June, so it made sense to begin with it! The idea was to approach the the covers as though it was a new release and be guided by the song titles and music for creative direction. Once a concept was settled on, the design itself was created in the time it takes to listen to the album – no pressure then… Enjoy.


Keep an eye on the ‘re-imagined’ tab for more in this personal project.

Hello America!

This image was created for the cover of a cd that will be winging its way to America this weekend! Ground Level label owner Andy McAllister as been awarded the chance to meet TV and film producers to offer music for licensing – what an opportunity – lets hope he comes back with some good news!

GL synchronised cover cropped

four letters…

o_S_k_m letters

A monochrome type treatment for o_S_k_m, the electronica alter ego of pictographik. Currently a banner on the bandcamp page but will be a part of a future ep sleeve to be released on Bitnormal. Bonus.

wish you were here…


wish you were here 1

Pretty Litter is an awesome independent Arts and culture magazine made in Brighton, featuring creative work “from Brighton, the UK and beyond”. They recently had a postcard competition on the theme of ‘Wish You Were Here’, so the picto-brain conjured up three composite images of non existent beautiful places that you may want to go to.

Will let you know if it tickles their optical receptors.

wish you were here 2


wish you were here 3

minimal ceramic

Here’s a sneak peek at the artwork for the track called ‘minimal ceramic’, used in the video collab with lofieye (see previous post), and uses a photo from the slideshow series. The track is being released on the Bitnormal records bandcamp on 30/03/13.

oskm minimal ceramic

State of Decay

This is a collaborative piece with photographer lofieye, transitions and titles by the picto-brain with music from audio alias, o_S_k_m.

State of Decay from lofieye on Vimeo.

These images were taken in an abandoned ceramic factory T.G. Greens in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. The music is specially written by o_S_k_m for the slideshow,, submitted to Slideluck London V.

There is a publication of these and other images taken available, please contact through lofieye.wordpress.com

It’s worth mentioning that whilst taking photographs we were attacked by the ‘owner’ (probably the local scrap yard owner actually stealing metal from the building to sell for scrap). After coming at us with a shovel and threatening to kill us, tried to have us arrested for assault. What an utter psycho. Feel free to share the video as publicising the factory and letting people know that it’s a slowly decaying piece of unpreserved history, feels like the best way to get a positive outcome from what was a pretty weird experience.

BrewDog update…

So, after a few emails, BrewDog asked if the picto-brain could develop the design for the beermats. To account for the reduction in size compared to a poster, they asked if it could be modified in to a half full pint glass that could be die-cut instead of the classic square. Keep an eye out for this kind of thing on a BrewDog bar table near you!

BrewDog beer-mat mock up 2

a calendar of tales…

Competitions and open submissions are a great way for a company to get a selection of designers and illustrators work to choose from for free, a kind of crowd sourcing and marketing campaign in one, where the creatives give a lot of time working and promoting their entry (and subsequently the company running the competition) for potentially little to no gain. This is why the picto-brain generally doesn’t go for these kind of things unless they are a worthy cause, interesting people or independent company.  Luckily, the few times pictographik have made submissions, they’ve been winners! (See previous BrewDog and tee design posts.)

Recently, Neil Gaiman offered the opportunity for submissions for his ‘A Calendar of Tales’ project (which is in partnership with BlackBerry – but, it’s NEIL GAIMAN so you can let that slide!), more details can be found [here].

Here’s the pictographik illustration for the February tale (story is below the image).

Monochrome KeepMoving FebTale Neil Gaiman submission

Grey February skies, misty white sands, black rocks, and the sea
seemed black too, like a monochrome photograph, with only the girl
in the yellow raincoat adding any colour to the world.
Twenty years ago the old woman had walked the beach in all weathers, bowed
over, staring at the sand, occasionally bending, laboriously, to lift a rock and
look beneath it. When she had stopped coming down to the sands, a middleaged
woman, her daughter I assumed, came, and walked the beach with less
enthusiasm than her mother. Now that woman had stopped coming, and in her
place there was the girl.
She came towards me. I was the only other person on the beach in that mist. I
don’t look much older than her.
“What are you looking for?” I called.
She made a face. “What makes you think I’m looking for anything?”
“You come down here every day. Before you it was the lady, before her the very
old lady, with the umbrella.”
“That was my grandmother,” said the girl in the yellow raincoat.
“What did she lose?”
“A pendant.”
“It must be very valuable.”
“Not really. It has sentimental value.”
“Must be worth more than that, if your family has been looking for it for
umpteen years.”
“Yes.” She hesitated. Then she said, “Grandma said it would take her home
again. She said she only came here to look around. She was curious. And then
she got worried about having the pendant on her, so she hid it under a rock, so
she’d be able to find it again, when she got back. And then, when she got back,
she wasn’t sure which rock it was, not any more. That was fifty years ago.”
“Where was her home?”
“She never told us.”
The way the girl was talking made me ask the question that scared me. “Is she
still alive? Your grandmother?”
“Yes. Sort of. But she doesn’t talk to us anymore. She just stares out at the sea. It
must be horrible to be so old.”
I shook my head. It isn’t. Then I put my hand into my coat pocket and held it
out to her. “Was it anything like this? I found it on this beach a year ago. Under
a rock.”
The pendant was untarnished by sand or by saltwater.
The girl looked amazed, then she hugged me, and thanked me, and she took the
pendant, and ran up the misty beach, in the direction of the little town.
I watched her go: a splash of gold in a black and white world. Carrying her
grandmother’s pendant in her hand. It was a twin to the one I wore around my
own neck.
I wondered about her grandmother, my little sister, whether she would ever go
home; whether she would forgive me for the joke I had played on her if she did.
Perhaps she would elect to stay on the earth, and would send the girl home in
her place. That might be fun.
Only when my great-niece was gone and I was alone, did I swim upward, letting
the pendant pull me home, up into the vastness above us, where we wander with
the lonely sky-whales and the skies and seas are one.


Just a quick update on the BrewDog competition – Pictographik was voted as a winning design by the craft beer drinking community! Thanks to everyone that showed some love and voted, its much appreciated! The BD crew decided to turn the design into a beermat to happily sit on every table in their bars! Awesome! Keep up to date with BrewDog activities [here] too.

brewdog beermat

Live Electronic

live electronic


Here’s a logo the picto-brain conjured up for a new electronic music event happening in April in Quad, Derby. Keep an eye on their website – details will be up soon! [here]

Here’s a sleeve design for a personal project, my audio alter ego, o_S_k_m which can be found over on Bitnormal Records, a new net label that loves electronic music.

oSkm OSkm osKm - its all the same thing really

Ambigram #wip

Just a little typography experiment in the form of an ambigram – a word that can be read either way up/has rotational symmetry. Thought the band name Hallouminati would work well, but still a work in progress

hallouminati ambigram

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