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Interview with Raven Dusk Graphic Designer for Aesma Daeva Dawn of the New Athens , Thalassa Mixes and the 2009 release of Here Lies One
Interviewed by John Prassas

1 First please introduce yourself.

My name is Alexandra, french graphic designer, working as a freelance
artist for Ravendusk Design.

2 What was your first exposure to graphic design? Did you always want to
do art work for music?

It all started way back in 2003 when I joined Deviantart : I was
completely new to photomanipulation but however wanted to give it a try.
This hobby turned quickly into a real passion, and then I chose to
display my images to get some advice and feedback. In 2004, canadian
band Kooper Kain asked me to use one of my images to illustrate their
upcoming album, and with time, and many requests for commissionned
artwork, I finally decided to offer my services to bands.

3 what are some of your influences now verses in the past?

My influences are always the same, but I work differently. Now I want to
avoid the basic gothic clichés to do something more personal, to create
my own world.

4 What is the most challenging part of this?

The fact that I always have to learn and to put myself in question all
the time in order to move on. I like to work on original and demanding
projects that require time and energy, they are the most rewarding.

5 Do you think schooling is important for graphic artists?

Not that much. To be honest, I am 100% self taught. Sometimes I wish I
could have learnt the basics of graphic design and typography, but since
I haven't, I have to live without and learn by myself, which is the best
way to improve.

6 How would you describe the metal scene in general in France?

The metal scene is quite dynamic, and the best example I could give you
of a good french band is an emerging band such as Gojira. Generally, we
have fair bands, but they remain very underground, mostly due to the
difficulty they encounter when trying to find labels or managers.
Contrary to countries such as Netherlands with Within Temptation, or
Italy with Lacuna Coil, we have no « big » leading band, and that is
quite sad to my opinion.

7 Do you feel the arts scene in general is strong in France or do you
feel support is declining?

Not an easy question ! When it comes to the dark art or alternative
scene, it is quite active, but, from what I have seen of it, it sadly
centered only around a closed, quite elitist parisian scene and to my
opinion it's a pity. Efforts should be made in other big french cities
to encourage and support underground artists, may they be photographers,
digital artists, sculptors, or painters.

8 In my opinion I have started to come to a conclusion that our
generation does not want to pay $12.00 – 15.00 USD for a cd. I think
average price for the radio head cd was $6.00. Also studies are showing
that downloads are increasing a lot and CD sales are going down. Do you
think this applies to the Metal Genre?
How do you think graphics will be incorporated with music in the future ?
Obviously there is Shirts – but do you think there may be animation and
or high quality downloadable graphics with CD Downloads in the future?

Yes, it is now generally known that the music industry is seriously
declining. It does apply to the metal genre too, since even quite famous
bands encounter now major difficulties to find labels or to distribute
their music as it should be. For example, french band Alkemyst, for whom
I have worked recently, have inked deals for the US and Japan, but are
not even distributed in France, which sounds completely surreal!

So we have to keep in mind that the cd album as we know it will
certainly evolve in the years to come, and of course the artwork that
goes along will have to change too. In France, it's already possible to
buy a famous CD for approx. 9 Dollars with a simple sheet of paper
instead of the booklet...The future of graphics is then not assured, but
still bands will need cover art, may it be digital or printed.

9 Do you become frustrated with bad or poor design?

Not really, bad or poor design, when done by beginners, is tolerable.
What bothers me the most is famous designers hired by great bands, who
create amateurish images, when underground artists that are a thousand
times more talented struggle to find clients.

10 What are the main tools you use when creating work?

I use a graphic design software and a graphic tablet. A lot of stock
imagery and textures, of course.

11 What suggestions do you have for bands who want to work with a
graphic artist, and want it to be a good experience?

Good question ! First of all, be sure to come up with a professionnal
approach. Take the time to find the artist that might suits you the
best, tell him/her about your concept, your music and inspirations, and
what you expect from him/her. Then give him/her time to work and be
patient ! Nothing is more uncomfortable than people that send you emails
every two days to have drafts, when a single photomanipulation takes
approximately 40 hours of work ;)

12 Do you prefer to be given ideas, or do you enjoy complete creative reign?

Complete creative reing is pretty dangerous to my opinion. Because what
you will create will /never /be what the band expects from you, trust me
! But it's important to keep a freedom of work. When it comes to me, I
like to find a concept with the members of the band first, and then I
start doing drafts.

13 Looking down the line, what impact would you most want to see emerge
from your work?

Regarding commissionned work, I want first my clients to be satisfied.
My personal work is different, and with it, I would like to move people
and take them into a special world of mine. I don't know if I really
want to have a real impact, I like to create, to give birth to the
visions I have in my head, and share them.

Contact Ravendusk