Composition: Who Cares?

“Yeah, I remember those pictures. I remember looking at them as I listened to the music.”

Mom was sitting across the table from me, reminiscing.

The album in question was the Point, by Harry Nilsson. Its accompanying booklet, with tiny grayscale illustrations, was spread out in front of me.

“I didn’t really like the illustrations. They were actually kind of scary,” she went on.

She was right. Gary Lund’s illustrations for the vinyl sleeve of Harry Nilsson’s 1971 concept album were not exactly inviting.  But they grabbed me nonetheless.

Gary Lund the Point_01 Gary Lund the Point_02

Gary Lund, Sleeve art for The Point, 1971

These are some of the most beautiful panels I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been poring over these since Saturday.  Is it the amazing draftsmanship at work? No. Is it the use of tasteful colors? Nopers.


Look at that composition! These loose, energetic panels are actually playing together, leaking into each other, and letting the story flow organically. It makes for a visual experience that even my Mother, initially turned off by the art style, couldn’t resist.

Gary Lund the Point_03 Gary Lund the Point_05 Gary Lund the Point_04

Gary Lund, Sleeve art for The Point, 1971

What a wild, wonderful way to present an album! It’s so much fun to let your eye wander over the landscape of broken frames, vibrant colors, and funky shapes.

Sleeve art like this almost entirely supplants the movie, as fond as I am of its cheap lovableness.

Gary Lund the Point_06 Gary Lund the Point_07

Gary Lund, Sleeve art for The Point, 1971

Gary Lund shows us just how glorious it can be, breaking the rules and thinking outside the visual box.

This is the sort of thing that happens all the time with sleeve art- the fact that there’s no “standard” for this marginal application of illustration really frees artists up.

What’s your favorite sleeve art or album cover?

2 thoughts on “Composition: Who Cares?

  1. cymonie1

    I only ever saw the animated movie, never this art, but you’re right, it’s fantastic. As for album art, I like some of Dylan’s album designs, though they were appealing mainly for the photography and design and the liner notes. His Self-Portrait album though is graced by one of Dylan’s ambiguous paintings. It’s so fitting and I’ve always really loved it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s