Illustrator and designer Tim Easley on his intricate album artwork made entirely from plasticine

Tim's piece, entirely made of plasticine for London duo Modified Man's latest release, reflects vintage synths and electronic instruments used by the band.

London-based illustrator, designer and now 2018 World Illustration Awards shortlister Tim Easley has spent 80 hours creating tiny shapes out of plasticine for the cover of a new album by south London electronic duo Modified Man.

Tim was commissioned by independent record label Albert's Favourites to create unique artwork for its latest release, Modifications: Set 2 – Modified Man’s album of soulful tracks combining vintage instruments and live performance.

The band wanted something "futuristic but retro", reflecting its use of vintage synths and other electronic instruments, so the idea to create a design based on circuit boards came into fruition. It’s the primary ingredient of many of the instruments the band uses, says Tim.

"The band wanted something that could be used over a number of releases in the set, so making a model out of plasticine means that it could be photographed in a variety of ways with different angles and lighting, so that the same theme was carried over a series of releases but it wouldn't all look exactly the same," says Tim.

"I like seeing the small fingerprints and roughness of a plasticine model, which I think is very difficult to replicate digitally."

The entire scene of tiny black, white and red plasticine computer chips, wires and dials took Tim around 80 hours to complete, with a final size of 50cm x 50cm (seen here).

Tim photographed the piece from a variety of angles using a Sony a7R III camera, and from this created the cover artwork and design for the rear of the album using Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Illustrator.

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"I had a very rough idea in my head but didn't do a huge amount of planning because I felt it would be more interesting to let it develop naturally than to draw it out and stick to a rigid plan," Tim says.

"As you can see from these progress shots, I put down some 'chips' first, then added wires, then gradually built up the piece by adding more elements and trying to make sure it remained balance."

The artwork will be used in various other forms for other releases in the set by Modified Man.

Tim worked with a similar colour palette for his in-store graphics for Footlocker (seen here), earning his place in the World Illustration Awards shortlist.

And this is not the first time he’s worked with plasticine. He once made a hand sculpted lettering piece entirely with plasticine which weighed around 1.5 kg.

Tim uses a bright palette, bold lines, playful characters for clients including Nike, Vodafone and Disney. He works in a variety of mediums, including hand drawn skateboards, painted basketballs, digital pieces and in this case, plasticine sculptures. Get advice from him and other artists in our feature on creative lettering and type tips for artists.

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