The Making-Of Chris Brown’s L’ARTISTE Mag Front Cover

Lalaina Rackson
Jul 21, 2018 · 7 min read

Today, I have decided to do things a bit differently.

I usually take a lot of pictures of the process of drawing my realistic portraits and post them on any of my other social medias but today I have decided to also share them here with you as a kind of “behind the scenes” post.

I thought it would be nice to talk to you about how the current front cover drawing came about or what exactly was my thought process (if I had one) or some funny stories related to the drawing.

And funnily enough, this 20th front cover was actually the most fun that I had while drawing.

First thing first, what you need to know about me and my artistic journey is that at the beginning of it all, I had a hard time erasing any kind of mistake.

I didn’t really use an eraser at all.

And anytime that I would do a big mistake that I really didn’t like, I would cry before erasing it.

I know, I sound dramatic. But at the time, I really was crying when I made a mistake because it was hard for me to taking it out to redo it again.

But now that I am on my 20th front cover and I have done a few doodles and paintings on the side, I now don’t care if I have to erase the whole drawing and start fresh.

I literally won’t flinch or bat an eye, I’ll just take the eraser and I’ll just erase what needs to be erased — sometimes I wouldn’t even realize that I’m erasing until it has been done.

And this 20th front cover is a great example of that as I have made a couple of changes from my initial sketch to the final product:

This first picture right here was my initial sketch.

As you can see, I drew all four of the fingers holding the spray paint can.

This was because I actually took my own hand as an example as I couldn’t find any picture reference of Chris Brown’s hand holding a spray paint can.

Here’s the actual picture of me holding a random bottle of glittery paint that I used as a reference.

After the initial sketch I realized that Chris Brown wouldn’t probably have all 4 fingers bundled up at the top of the can like me because 1. a spray paint can is bigger and 2. his fingers and his whole hand is surely bigger than mine and so it would spread more easily all over the can whereas I had to have a smaller tight grip.

So that’s why I went from the first sketch to this new one:

For this front cover, I also had a lot of fun using different pens and pencils and paint.

For instance, I used an old school device called the blopen.

Who remembers blopens?

THOSE ARE BLOPENS!

I had some laying around because I actually used the purple one for the front cover of Zendaya so I simply used the yellow one to color the “street art” part of Chris Brown’s face and the name of the magazine.

The other thing that was fun about this cover was coming up with the concept.

One of the things that I’d like to do in the future with this magazine is to collaborate with other artists to create a unique front cover.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to work with any other artists for this one but I did get a lot of inspiration from Chris Brown’s artwork and also my favorite artist Sage Barnes’ artwork.

At first, I wanted to do a normal realistic portrait of Chris Brown just like my other front covers but then I had a “oooooh wait! let’s do this!” kind of idea and I thought about adding a piece of Chris Brown’s artwork onto his own face.

After that I had another “oooooh wait! let’s do this!” kind of idea and I thought about making it so that Chris Brown was spray painting his own face with his own artwork to transform himself into Art itself.

Then, because the drawing was heavily inspired by street art and spray paint, I also decided to change the font of “L’Artiste Mag” into a more street art one using the blopens.

And last but not least, I drew the background with one of my water soluble pencil (6B derwent) but only slightly so it wouldn’t turn completely black when I brush it over with water which then created this nice grey background.

I don’t even know what it looks like but I feel like it gives it a kind of cement vibe. I don’t really know what it looks like but I think that it looks pretty cool.

Now, here’s a quick funny story:

This drawing actually made me laugh in real life and I’ll explain why.

To start off, I didn’t have a particular picture reference to look at in order to see if I was doing all right or not.

So I had to look at many different pictures of Chris Brown where he had his head slightly tilted like I wanted to draw him.

But most of the time, his head was either hidden because he wore a hat or his head was tilted to high or too low or too much to the left or too much to the right etc… it was just a big mess so I had quite a hard time drawing Chris as he was in my mind.

I even had to measure the hairline to make sure that it was coming down right where it should come down on the face.

Drawing the hairline was a really weird and long process.

But then, after 50 reference pictures and 50 measurements and after erasing the hairline 50 billion times, I finally got everything right where they were supposed to be.

And that’s when I looked at the back of Chris Brown’s album Fortune to look at the tracklist and to my surprise, I saw him on the back picture just tilting his head EXACTLY how I wanted him to tilt his head for this drawing!!!

And that’s when I burst out laughing!

I literally spent so many hours examining different pictures to see exactly what his head was doing so I could recreate that onto my drawing but with his head tilted like I envisioned him in my mind, I’ve erased the hairline 50 thousand times and now that I was done, that’s when I find a picture of him tilting his head EXACTLY how I had in mind…………. *FACEPALM*

That was the most ridiculous thing that has ever happened to me.

It was just so stupid, it made me laugh uncontrollably.

That was stupid but at least I had fun!

And it taught me to not just rely on one reference picture.

It also made me realize that I don’t really need the reference picture to begin with, as I am now starting to develop some skills that allow me to just draw what I want to draw pretty much accurately without looking 10 thousand times at a picture to make sure that every inch is just right.

Anyway, here’s the picture I took of my drawing next to what should have been my reference picture from the beginning:

All in all, what this cover taught me is that it’s ok to erase stuff and it’s actually fun.

Drawing and art is a lot of fun and it could be a lot of fun if I just let myself follow my “oooooh wait! let’s do this!” ideas — which could potentially be great ideas.

And I actually don’t necessarily need a reference picture, at least I don’t have to look at it 50 billion times to get things right, I can just go with the flow and rely on my own mind and my own techniques.

Art is such a random fun thing and inspiration can really come anytime from anywhere and I simply love that!

Art really is everywhere and in everyone and it’s really amazing to be able to work with it on my own projects!

Hopefully you too will find a way to work with it in whatever you’re doing in life!

It’s very free and liberating and I think that everybody should just unleash their inner artist!


L’ARTISTE Mag n°20 ft. Chris Brown

L’Artiste Mag, is a magazine dedicated to all the dreamers, doers, creatives, weirdos, lovers and overall incredible human beings. The goal of this magazine is to awaken your long asleep authentic self and to be able to permanently work/live with it and experience life like you used to experience it when you were a kid, with big eyes full of wonder, joy, fun, creativity and authenticity.


Thank you for stopping by, hope you’ve had a nice stay! ❤︎

L'ARTISTE Mag

L'ARTISTE Mag is a Magazine to awaken your long asleep authentic self and to be able to permanently work/live with it and experience life like you used to experience it when you were younger, with big eyes full of wonder, joy, fun, creativity and authenticity.

Lalaina Rackson

Written by

Every child is born authentic, the problem is how to remain authentic once we grow up. — Email me: LalainaRackson@gmail.com

L'ARTISTE Mag

L'ARTISTE Mag is a Magazine to awaken your long asleep authentic self and to be able to permanently work/live with it and experience life like you used to experience it when you were younger, with big eyes full of wonder, joy, fun, creativity and authenticity.

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