Trapped In the Amber Ale Label

trapped in the amber label

Trapped in the Amber Ale — latest brew from my pal, Al!

I’m teaming up with him again on the label, too. He said he wanted something preserved in amber, like those mosquitoes from Jurassic Park. Went through a couple development phases of sketching out some trippy looking dinos and whatnot, but then decided on a bug that probably never existed. A bug that harbors the powers of a sacred gem and wears a levitating crown. How’d he get in the amber?! Why doesn’t the crown rest on his head!? What exactly is the Gem of Power he’s clutching so close!? I don’t know! Shut up!

trapped in the amber sketchI had a very clear vision of how I wanted this to play out right from the beginning as far as orientation of the composition goes. The last label I  made (Private IPA) wasn’t horizontal, which presented some challenges when printing on labels that were designed for vertical image placement. I wanted to correct that mistake this time. I really took time to map out the entire thing this time which proved to be enormously helpful in the long run. I must admit one of my weaknesses as an artist is rushing ton to the digital phase. I think I’ve gotten a lot better at taking my time in the initial sketch stages now which yields a better end result. I also drew it BIG which is out of my comfort zone.

Digitally inking this was a lot of fun. There was so much detail here to play around with on the line work. I particularly enjoyed doing the amber crystals for some reason.

The “BUTLERS BREW” text was created as a vector in Adobe Illustrator, which proved to be one of the more time consuming parts of the project. Worth it though, because now I can apply that vector to every label I create for him from here on out. That’s thinking ahead, RIGHT!

trapped in the amber process shotKeeping the colors limited on this bad boy was really tricky. Had to add an extra color in for the gem and the eyes. Well, I didn’t HAVE to, but I thought it would make the over all design pop more if I did. I think I’ve decided coloring is my favorite part of the process. After all that, it was time to add the more ornate features, like the borders and corners. Used the pen tool in Photoshop to sculpt those weird decorative corner swirls. At this point, the amount of layers in the document was adding up and becoming confusing. I pride myself on keeping meticulously organized files, too (yes — I even color code them). But those layers man… They were putting me through the ringer. I made it work and finished it up by adding a solid background beyond the border, which I agonized over for way too long.

Trapped in the Amber Ale will hold a place in my heart. I’m proud of it. I really, REALLY love working on these labels. It’s always kind of been a dream of mine to create labels for a brewery. There are some talented artists out there pumping out some really awesome designs. Always loved the 21st Amendment label art. I’m trying to get my pal, Al, to make a Habanero beer next, mainly because I found my new favorite beer for Ballast Point which has a Habanero spice to it. All about that heat. Trapped in the habanero! HAHAHA! Ugh, shut up.

Oh boy, I can’t wait for the next one!

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