Gazette

Covers

Each week's cover artwork by Dudly is tailored to suit the main topic & carefully capture the cryptoart and NFT history for the next generations. Discover the secrets of our covers as there is more than meets the eye.

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Issue #39

Week 23 | 2021

(Silly)Tuna Auction

So, NFTs aren't dead after all! Great week for our non-fungible space and especially for our dear subscriber Sillytuna and his covid Alien Punk sale, headlining the β€˜Natively Digital’ Sotheby’s NFT auction. No surprise this event was selected to commemorate our twisted cover art story this week.

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After brief brainstorming and a few abstract sketches by Redlion (we may publish them someday for the history books), we explored several concepts. In the end, we fell in love with the β€œJapanese Tuna Auction” approach.

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We even considered a pixel art cover, or use of mixed media, but classic Dudly's illustration style proved the most effective medium. You can watch the full Procreate drawing process in my traditional timelapse video.

Now let's break down the cover in detail because, as you already know, there is always more than meets the eye.

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The Covid Alien Punk head in the jar mounted on the tuna body. Is it β€œSilly” enough? Credit goes to Red for figuring out this glowing reference to Japanese tuna auctions.

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The auctioneer in our story is a skilled sushi chef holding Maguro Kiri - a tuna cutting knife - instead of a gavel. The bid shown on the price board behind him is in Yen currency equivalent to keep the theme consistent.

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You can probably recognize the first two bidders by their silhouettes - Super Yeti and Gutter Cat. But the final mic-drop bid of more than a billion Yen left the early bidders far behind and most astonished. A β€œBeware of Scams” label in response to the recent Twitter attacks on artists' credulity. You must always stay diligent guys, on every DM you get! The Japanese letter should mean β€œtuna,” but who knows. It looks cool tho.

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And here comes the final knife swing, and the Covid Alien is sold! Hip hip hooray, and congratulations to Sillytuna. The new owner - DraftKings board member Shalom Meckenzie - is seen instantly claiming his new precious NFT and leaving our dear fish friend headless.

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But Sillytuna is crowning this spectacular moment with a swift Punk head replacement, turning into a human, perhaps losing his face mask, but gaining some fancy VR headgear. What a final touch it is for this historic CP sale!

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A tiny easter egg in the bottom right corner references the Miami Bitcoin conference full of rampaging Bitcoin maximalists. Besides the direction sign, you can also follow the strange white trail that Max Kaiser left behind...

Issue #38

Week 22 | 2021

The week NFTs died... NOT

We witnessed the NFT market cool down the last few weeks with the exception of a few new projects which were able to sell out in a matter of minutes or hours. But mainstream media are always eager for sensational headlines so they jumped on the downward trend, proclaiming NFTs to be dead. Skirmishes between Meebits and Apes completely ruined the piety of this NFTs funeral.

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I drew a sketch with the main motif of lettering in the skull shape reading: 'NFT's NOT DEAD', clearly referencing the best-known motto of the punks all around the world. 

But as you can see in the timelapse video, this cover creation wasn't a straight path from start to finish. Somewhere in the middle I showed it to Redlion and he didn't like the graffiti lettering much. (Actually, he said it was ugly :D) The skull shape was not clear but clumsy, so I scratched this solution completely and started building new with cleaner typography. It was a good call.

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We wanted to depict the Bored Apes vs. Meebits war so I drew the Ape owned by our crewmate AlexxShadow (surprise for him in the morning). I wanted to be sure no one will come later and claim his rights for using his ape. Better safe than sorry ya know!

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His pig Meebit opponent was borrowed from Redlions possession, same as his precious five-traiter punk #1968 who is mischievously observing this tense situation.

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I knew I had to fill the canvas with other NFTs, so as I was exploring our wallets I realized it would be nice to feature our friend Jonathan Mann aka 'Song a Day Man', and his NFT project. The art for the thumbnails of his batch of 1st year songs was been done by @Defacedstudio.

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And here comes my own Goblin - a claymation NFT project we love as well by Gossip Goblin.  We featured Goblins in issue #35, including Artdrop of our own Goblinized mascot Bahdoon.

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We enter the final straight down Bonsai alley, riding on a digital horse! These are referencing two interesting NFT projects with utility features: ZENFT - procedurally generated 3D bonsai trees and ZED RUN - an NFT horse racing game.

Stay tuned!

Issue #37

Week 21 | 2021

 πŸ”ŠTURN ON AUDIO

Lets play on Ethereum

What a hectic week! Complete with multiple lengthy trips to and from the office, repeatedly transforming from busy-body, day job guy, into full-throttle, international cryptoartist. The opposite could be said this past week about the land of NFTs. The sounds of silence make concept seeking extra difficult, leaving us without our cover idea until early Sunday afternoon. πŸ€―

Before we started panicking, Redlion had suggested a "Bus Stop" concept with two stops: one for old web2.0 where only a boomer, a Karen, and a bankster wait, and the second bus stop for all the cool web3.0 projects. (You can appreciate his cosmic drawing skills here on our Discord). The idea was not bad, but I knew it would need a lot of drawing which would have been impossible to complete in time.

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Then I said we should try to focus on one strong symbol, make it shiny and glittery, and I mentioned the gamepad for GameStop NFT platform article reference. It sparked the chain reaction of thoughts that led to the idea of using custom branded gaming controllers to symbolize the difference between the new and fancy 3.0 web environment compared to the old tech of finance 2.0.

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As a first step, I graphically recreated the package box of the latest Playstation controller and re-branded it with DEFI/Ethereum symbols. A bit of retouching was needed to alter the controller with custom buttons to reflect favorite 3.0 apps and other tiny details like the ETH symbol and GAS icon. (see below)

As for the old tech controller, we wanted to highlight the contrast and ridiculosity of the fiat dinosaur financial world, with it's limited functionality and user-unfriendly obstacles to achieve even simple financial operations. You have to deal with FEES and WAIT buttons as well as extensive KYC before using a FIAT Solution. 

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I also took a different approach for the price tags. The modern uses an LED display with real-time ETH price adjustment and QR code (try it), while the old one is sold apparently for FIAT only. The lifeless label is self-explanatory.

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As mentioned in the beginning, this cover was created in a record time of about 8 hours from beginning to final output. Technically it's just a combination of Photoshop retouching and vector graphic design in Illustrator. The post-production and simple animation were done in AfterEffects.

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Although I would have loved to have more time to create an even more polished animated piece, the core concept and components came out pretty solid and fun IMO. Let's hope for more NFT drama to depict in the next week!

Issue #36

Week 20 | 2021

 πŸ”ŠTURN ON AUDIO

Bloodbathing

Greetings Gazette friends!  What a difference a week makes. From a nice, playful, and colorful cover design, to a grim, spooky, and dark one. Unless you spent the last week hungover from your moon-party, you might have noticed some red in the markets. But don't worry! After this week's issue released it seems the markets perked up again. As you know, Kassandra forecasting always works.

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Let's start with the swimmer. Originally my intention was to clearly depict Elon enjoying the warm blood bath. But in the end, the features were developed into more of an anonymous face, as only the references throughout the artwork are needed to suggest who it is bathing.

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Like these adorable rubber doge-ducks, happily floating on the surface despite the fact they were recently drowning in a sea of red! I had a rubber whale in my sketch initially, (see in the timelapse video) but Redlion came up with this solid Doge-Duckies angle, credit to him.

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Another indicia winking at the bath owner is a little Cybertruck toy car left on the ground. 

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Diamond hands to reference Elon's tweet attempt to stop the fire he ignited. Well, it worked for a short while, but the panic selling went in for a much deeper dip... Did you sell or buy? Finally, the Tesla logo behind his leg removes any remaining doubt.

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Well we're here, and anything worth doing is worth doing well. This was a slaughter and noone was spared. The poor unicorn couldn't escape his sad destiny. Heck, he even got his horn stolen. Savages... I know this looks bad, but Unicorns are pretty magical creatures, so his resurrection is not unrealistic!

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That looks like a big bear outside the window peeking in, but as soon as he arrivd he appears to be moving on. For now... We hope he's not back too soon!

As always with my Procreate iPad drawings, I am showing you the whole process. At the end you can watch the extraction of moving parts I have animated in After Effects. The moody music was picked by Redlion to put a fine cream on top of the creation.

To the moon we go πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€

Issue #35

Week 19 | 2021

Raining dogs in India

Hey, degens! We've made it through yet another week exploding with crypto and NFT news. We witnessed Vitalik’s SHIBA token rug and donation to India, a 'dissapointing' Christie's Cryptopunks auction, Elon totally losing control on Twitter, NFTs on eBay, hate on NG, and the list goes on! Let's explore what details are hiding in this rich cover art illustration.

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From zero to hero. Steal from the rich and give to the poor. Viltalik’s massive head statue dominates the scene as an almost god-like savior of the sick and poor, raining SHIBA token over all of India.

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First hero then zero. At least as far as crypto Twitter is concerned. Not much to explain here, Elon’s latest Twitter mania is recorded forever. Look sharp and you can spot Punk #30 in the corner on the roof.

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Speaking of which... We paid at least as much attention to showcasing Cryptopunks on this week's cover piece as Christie's did! All 9  punks are spread throughout the illustration, hidden in obscure places. See if you can find them all! You might have picked up on the Safemoon rug reference, simply depicted as a giant moon memorial. Be sure to catch he Dissected Head Exhibition while walking the city.

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We expressed concern about NG practices before it was cool. Kassandra Forecasting Inc. at your service. Check this article in number #17 from the beginning of 2021. To highlight where the dirt is coming from, I made the sewage pipes above street level so it's clear where it flows from.

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During this drawing marathon being completed at a full sprint, I left a pack of dogs scattered throughout the artwork. Honestly, I have no clue how many of them I left behind! You can try to find them all and let me know. During the creation I was caught up looking at lots of Indian urbanism references.

23 hours 20 minutes  – 27.125 strokes made

You can check out the full length replay of my relentless drawing in this timelapse video. Somewhere in the middle of the process I already hated myself for picking such a detail-heavy illustration. But once I was on the road, I had to bear the burden of bringing this piece home.

See you next week.

Issue #34

Week 18 | 2021

 πŸ”ŠTURN ON AUDIO

The king of voxels

It was obvious right after LarvaLab's Meebits drop that this week's cover art would be built from voxels. We discussed several overcomplicated scenes with Cryptopunks and Bored Apes, but once our new mascot came to life it was clear he deserved the spotlight for our readers to fully appreciate his slick moves!

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I kicked off the voxel avatar on Wednesday with only a Meebit reference image, all that was available to me at the time. If I had waited until Friday when Larva Labs released the .vox files to Meebit owners, I could have saved some time. No worries though, voxel building is so much fun, and this means our lion is made from scratch, voxel by voxel. No copypasta!

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So a new star is born. Here he stands.  Let's have a closer look at his traits:

Body

Type: Lion
Hairstyle: Wild
Hair color: Dark
Beard: Wild Full
Beard color: Dark
Tail: Long
Tattoo: L/R arm & legs, chest, back

Clothes

Shirt: RLGFTW limited Tee (worn)
Shirt color: Grey with red logo
Pants: Jean Shorts (worn)
Pants color: Black
Shoes: Cheap & Old
Shoes color: Black / Grey

Accessories

VR Headset
Gold Earring
Extra Strong KeyChain
Punk Spike Bracelet
Leather Wristband
Fatty J 

He ain't no saint!

The next step was to teach our lion some new moves. Once you have the voxel model ready it is actually tremendously easy to animate the character using the online tool mixamo.com. You can learn more about auto rigging 3D characters in my guide here.

Animation test footage with older model version

That guy's got some moves! I exported the animation and brought it to Cinema4D to make a nicer render with some lighting. A bit of post-processing in After Effects and the cover is done. But what about that QR code on the artwork?

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Try it out by giving it a scan it with your phone camera. For the first time, we have introduced an augmented reality (AR) feature within our cover art! It is made with Adobe AERO and uses the very same 3D model.

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If you want to have a closer look at the beauty of perfectly aligned voxels, head over to the Cryptovoxels Metaverse where we set up a small RLG Mascot reveal Expo. 

By purchasing this week's issue you will get access to the source .vox and other 3D formats, so you can play with the model, or cruise in style throughout the metaverse.

Issue #33

Week 17 | 2021

Collage numΓ©ro deux

This week's issue set a new record! The cover art is derived from the largest number of articles to-date. It's also been 17 weeks since our last collage with Coinartist story, so the time is now!  There is a lot of god stuff happening here so let's get started on our cover #33 tour.

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After last week's monothematic Ethereum cover we decided this week to take quite the opposite approach. The collage includes not only references from this week's articles, but also assorted elements from every cover since our last collage issue, #15!

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Our first stop is the depiction of boys fighting (for now) on Twitter. Sadly for the crypto community, the fight will probably end with the click of the 'Block' button. As there were speculations about where the fight will take place I included all possibilities mentioned in the vocal warmup: Miami, Cape Town, Dubai?

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You would hard pressed to pinpoint Uranium from another article reference. Yes, those rocks coming from the trash bin are raw uranium ore!  There are some additional trash bins around the piece as we have ROBNΞSS \/IRTUAL for our ArtDrop this week.

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Here comes Jean-Michel Basquiat (😍) with his sketch behind him as a most controversial  NFT. In my opinion, destroying physical non-fungible artwork for creating digital non-fungible token is simply barbaric. You'll also notice his famous crown scattered throughout the collage.

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Rarible is now accepting filthy FIAT, still it is surely a great step for the  NFT adoption. Note the tiny RARI logo of the thumbnail holding bills. Binance entering the space is illustrated as a fat blood-thirsty tick with CZ inside.

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Beeple is present in the form of his latest 'Everydays', including his piece from the day of our issue drop. I snuck in a cute little swine as well (bit of a Beeple trademark).

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We could carry on forever analyzing this image, so I'll just highlight three final details. Look sharp and you can spot the issue number referenced in Jesus holding an ETH crystal. There's also a memorial to the recently passed "Spanish laughing guy" Juan Joya Borja. Last but not least, for our loyal subscriber and supporter Drew Austin who desired a horse on the cover, I've added a unique anatomy sketch I hope you'll all enjoy :)

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Production-wise it was mostly about searching for the right images, removing backgrounds, and combining them into a nice, comprehensive collage. There were 56 moving layers + 25 layers static in the background, all animated in After Effects.

To close, here is a little homework assignment for you. Can you spot all older cover references going back to the previous collage issue #15? (Some of them do have duplicate references)

Don't hesitate to join us on our Discord and flex your Gazette covers knowledge!

Issue #32

Week 16 | 2021

Welcome to Ethopia

We're often featuring Etherum on our covers in various forms and with smart little details here and there. But it has never played the frontman / star role until today. New ATH and rapidly growing network adoption definitely make this the right time for a full ETH cover.  Let's take a stroll around the parks of 'Ethopia' - the future city of Ether.

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From the outset I had two routes to choose from. I could build the visual based on the ETH/BTC conflict as the ETH crowd shouts 'The flippening is near'. But  I took the  "praise only" approach instead, as I am not a maximalist and I'm not here to chose sides. 

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Simple and Sweet. The cloud city encapsulated in the ETH diamond logo shape, backlit by a pretty blue sky. I smashed the sketch very quickly, showed it to Red, and he instantly loved it.

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After four weeks straight of illustration artworks it seemed right about time to call on Cinema4D again. First I searched for a futuristic city kit and those from KitBash3d are just amazing. 

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The biggest workload for this cover was to assembling the city and populating it with vegetation. First I used high-quality tree models, but after generating thousands of them I reached the limits of my rig's performance and Octane kept crashing!

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I swapped the trees with primitive geometry to solve the crash problem while keeping essentially the same visual rendering. The heavy clouds are add to the utopia-like atmosphere of Ethopia.

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The rendering itself took about 6.5 hours for a 5-sec output sequence. I further interpolated with DAIN-app advanced AI software to improve the framerate for smooth turning of the model. I think this cover played out nicely and makes a great tribute to even greater technology we all know and love!

Issue #31

Week 15 | 2021

The True story behind Snowden's NFT

Ed Snowden, who we deeply respect for his bravery, is possibly the best "celebrity" we can imagine to utilize one of the cornerstone use cases of decentralized technology for an NFT charity auction. Regardless of the collected sum, it was a great success for him and his foundation and we captured the bittersweet taste of his sacrifice in this 1st Gazette's comic strip.

My initial idea was a humorous version of the Snowden saga mixed with the NFT story at hand. One where Snowden would appear bored while stuck for weeks at the Moscow airport, so NFT minting / auctioning an NFT would be a great distraction to pass the time.

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I googled so extensively about Snowden references that I have likely raised red flags, perhaps even made the NSA's watch list. After a brief brainstorming with Red we decided to expand the story being told beyond the just the recent NFT auction.

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The opening scene takes place at Sheremetyevo airport, and if you look closely you will see a tiny detail with a prohibition sign saying: "No Cubes allowed".

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Within the next frame, we move inside the terminal and witness Snowden minting the NFT. But where is his famous magic blanket? The CCTV cameras are everywhere. He must have super DOGE power, you know, from the sticker on his laptop!

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You may have already figured that we aimed to symbolize Turkey's ban on crypto with the man sitting next to Ed. But there is much more to it. Redlion's idea was to use Turkish chef Nusret GΓΆkΓ§e a.k.a Salt Bae as a face reference. That explains his I ❀️ SALT  embroidery. The fact he is personally involved in NFTs is just a fun fact to add seasoning :)

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Finally, the thrilling auction is over and we see the winning bid... The massive sum of 2,224 ETH reflected in Ed's glasses! Yes! 

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Here comes the party time! To celebrate the well earned success with the online community of freedom and liberty defenders as well as decentralization / NFT enthusiasts everywhere!

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We know we'll never forget the brave deeds of this exceptional man, who has sacrificed so much of his own freedom for the good of all of us.

Issue #30

Week 14 | 2021

 πŸ”ŠTURN ON AUDIO

Blue or Red pill of NFTs

We've had an Art Deco style cover in mind for quite a long time but it never fit the topic, until now. The main article is about CP billboards in Miami so we decided to base the cover on this event, but with no actual Punk images included this time.

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I came up with the idea of a highway with cars running into the billboard. Redlion later expanded the concept with the red and blue pills, a well-known Matrix reference. It actually happened by chance, I'd added the blue and red dot on the billboard image just by feel, and left it in place for when we discussed how we'd be proceeding.

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The pills symbolize the choice of the road to the world of NFTs. Will you eat all the bullshit you'll be served daily, or you will you open your mind and look before you leap?  Let's further explore the details of this artwork.

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The road sign on the left says: "taking the red pill is a no-brainer", giving the viewer a nice little hint. By including the passing sailboat we are celebrating our first distributed 'Set Reward' to our loyal collectors. See details in the about page.

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A tiny reference goes towards Paris Hilton, who has been frenetically following NFT artists this week. We haven't been followed = no fully-featured cover for now. But honestly, all we know about Paris Hilston is her porn tape and South Park episode.  The included Coinbase Listing reference is even smaller.

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Remember the stuck cargo ship in the Suez canal? She is finally approaching port after two weeks! All of the artwork is fully drawn as vector graphics in Adobe Illustrator.

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The animation came to life in After Effects where I had to figure out how to handle the perspective of the passing cars. There was no time to combine the 2D image with 3D geometry, so I sort of faked the cars as pseudo-3D planes, rotated and combined together, just like a paper toy is constructed.

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For the record, there is one "First" perk for this cover: an audio track is used to further enhance this Art Deco atmosphere. Listen to the full track "Keep It Chilled"ο»Ώ by Jake Bradford-Sharp.ο»Ώο»Ώ

Issue #29

Week 13 | 2021

VISA Breaking Bad

We remained undecided on our headliner article until the very last moment this week. We eventually decided the VISA and Ethereum/USDC project announcement was likely the most significant event for the crypto world this week. Let's break down this cover.

My idea was to depict VISA operations as a makeshift RV drug laboratory, cooking up some (m)ETH in the secrecy of the desert. For this scene, I was of course inspired by my favorite Netflix series, Breaking Bad. After concept confirmation with Redlion we discussed the art style. We had a vector-like illustration in mind but in the end I chose a more loose drawing style as the vectors needed much more time to get them looking super sharp.

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I produced a nice handful of references on the isolated, flickering TV set, as well as with graffiti artwork on the RV. I also tweaked the decorative stripes to correspond with VISA's color scheme. 

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The TV screen made a nice spot to add a couple of last week's event references as well. So, besides the SNL parody video with Eminem, and ETH ATH news brought by Anchorman, we have also smuggled in our generative art project "Gazettes" as a  commercial.

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I used minor detail on the RV art, from the brand logo stickers to the Squiggle and OAG graffiti. The Uniswap unicorn head made for an interesting gigantic ornamental decoration. Like a crown for this king of an RV! Gas and (m)ETH barrels are obviously essential to the operation.

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The limited color palette is based on VISA's theme actually turned out quite fitting and proper for the desert setting and mood. I am delighted with how this illustration came out, and it instantly ranks among my favorite covers so far!

Issue #28

Week 12 | 2021

XCOPY vs. XDUDLY

Honestly, we really might have confused a few people with this one! We wanted to pay tribute to one of our favorite cryptoart OGs - XCOPY β€“ as his SuperRare second market sales record resonated throughout the NFT space this week. On the other hand, the grounded cargo ship in Suez Canal was a significant, even historical world event worth capturing as well. Let's set sail!

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My initial idea was very different from the resulting piece. I wanted to illustrate OG XCOPY as a fanatically beloved idol. An adolescent artist, VR painting in his futuristic studio (full of references to XCOPY).

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As the weekend progressed we were busy finishing another special Gazette project, when Redlion came up with the brilliant idea of depicting the stuck cargo ship on the upcoming cover.  The cargo containers should have iconic "KING Cricket Soup" and "Fly Juice"  brands on them. I drew sketches of 3 possible perspectives. Decidedly, for a 2D illustration, the bird's view would be most suitable (the most iconic too).

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Before I could create some XCOPY fakes I had to find and customize Procreate brushes to emulate his work as accurately as possible. Re-drawing XCOPY's soup and juice from scratch was the first test-drive of the new brushes. The results were pretty satisfying so I quickly moved onto the ship.

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My first thought was to swap containers with giant cans and bottles as the ship's cargo. But still, the animation would need some zooming or scene cuts. I tweaked this concept, depicting the ship itself as floating cricket soup cans and a fly juice bottle. Easy, recognizable, and well suited to create a seamless, looping animation.

You can watch the whole drawing process in the video, complete with endless brush testing! Originally the idea was to leave the ship stuck in the canal and restart the loop using a glitch or zoom transition. Later I realized that releasing the ship with another nudging hand from the opposite side was the smartest way forward. The animation was created in After Effects.

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Yet another prophecy by #Cassandra Redlion.news has been fulfilled. On Monday, just after this issue sold out, the stuck ship 'Evergreen' was freed from the Suez canal, despite expert estimates of weeks! 🀯 Apparently a tiny 'Death Push' from XCOPY was all Evergreen needed. Spooky!

We'll cerainly be scrutinizing our 'future covers' more carefully than ever...

Issue #27

Week 11 | 2021

100% doesn't
crumble render 

What a challenge to deliver the artwork. This was a slower week for NFTs. As such, this week's theme is not connected to any article. It's a simple tribute to the abundance of NFT trading cards. Full credit for the concept goes to Red. He came up with the simple yet symbolic house-of-cards angle, paired with useless machines nobody really needs.

I had to experiment with the dynamics of the crumbling house of cards at length. So cool! A nice reward for spending the time to learn something new. As you'll see in this test animation I am still using classical playing card textures.

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Good start. It's a nice video, but it can surely be better. Something more is needed to make these 'NFT cards'. So I went back to my corner, in need of advice before the next round... Redlion: "Ok, listen to me, put the house of cards on the factory belt like it is moving stuff in the production line. As the house of cards moves, it reaches a spot where is a fan and it blows them apart. This whole factory is the NFT space. Maybe a small "Quality" sticker on each house." Cool idea, I am ready for the next round. {ring bells}

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I started with the textures of the cards and stickers. Lucky for me I find making 3D stuff to be great fun. Suddenly being experienced in graphic design is super handy! In no time I came up with the typographic layout and a nice modern violet palette for our imaginative card design.

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I assemled the high-tech factory scene along with the conveyor belt pretty quickly. Next I ran some test renders of the animation, which is actually achieved by moving the camera and all the scene parts except the cards and the belt. It creates a reverse motion illusion of the belt moving, but it actually remains static. 

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Then came the DRAMA! I show a low-res render to Redlion and he suggested making the motion slower. I said it will add to render time and we discussed the possibility of cloud farm rendering. Worth a shot, right? We both love to roll the dice. I set up the account, connected the plugin to Cinema4D, and to our pleasant surprise, everything seemed to work buttery smooth.

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We had a low quality backup render, but it simply didn't meet publishing standards. Each frame rendered requires around 3-5 minutes in higher quality, so it would take hours on a single machine. The cloud rendering went well, and quite fast, until suddenly progress froze at 66%... For more than an hour! Panic! It was already 2 AM* for us, and our fanbase was aching! Demanding their weekly guilty pleasure, as we were already behind schedule.

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Time to deploy a backup-backup measure. As always, we will get this issue out. No matter what. It was a difficult decision, but it had to be done. I decided to shorten the animated loop, from 3 unique crumbling houses, to just one. Reducing the clip from 280 frames down to 70, which I could render in a reasonable resolution and sample count. At 3:30 AM* we finally got the gif to mint. By 4 AM* we're asleep before our heads hit their pillows. We woke up to another sold-out issue. Satisfaction :) 

Special thanks to all those who stayed awake with us discordο»Ώ to support us during these thrilling moments. You are legends! πŸ€œπŸ€›

* Redlion is even+1 hour timezone
** The video cover at the beginning of the story has been rendered on Monday in full-res

Issue #26

Week 10 | 2021

Beeple Effect III

We have witnessed yet again the biggest week in NFTs to date and we couldn't just leave it behind without motherfucking colossal cover, could we? The idea to depict Beeples jabroni face as a buried statue on an alien planet was born on Saturday night.  Let's break down a day in the life of a cover artist.

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Su 8:30 AM: Wake up and realize there is a pretty challenging task in front of me. First, I want to tick off the hardest itemβ€”his face. Well, you can't just grab "One Beeples face, please" on the asset market. You actually have to sculpt it. Thank god he has a giant nose, and also the well-known grimace helped the model be recognizable.

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Su 11:00 AM: Happy with the head outcome, so I am building the environment layout. The scene will be complex, and still not sure how to fiddle with all this lightning and atmosphere. I actually never did this before, which makes me a bit nervous. You guys expecting kickass cover tonight as always. But it is healthy, challenging, and pushing my boundaries every week.

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Su 3:00 PM: Let's build some alien base around the statue. Actually, it is starting to shape up, but it takes couple more hours before I can say I am happy with what I see. Before the first renders, I got the idea to add drones researching the lost artifact.

Su 5:00 PM: Time to show the first still renders to Redlion: "Where are the aliens? looks amazing, you can make these 3 aliens, one with covid, one with pipe and the other alien, and one is holding a bag with cash, yea they make a deal". There are little aliens on the first render, but we agreed it is not enough. Time is running out fast, so I rush to get us some aliens.

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Su 7:30 PM: I manage to put together those fuckers. Redlion: "easy right? u found the models? amazing". After tuning the alien's color and illumination, we are happy with the still image, and there is not much time left to make complex animation. Only the render will take approx 2.5 hours for 5 seconds of video, and we want to drop issue #26 tonight. The RLEG crowds are starting to go crazy.

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Su 9:30 PM: The render is in the oven and I can focus on the issue articles on our website. The animation is frankly too simple and short, but it is due to the lack of time for more rendering. As we progress probably we will reserve whole Sundays only for rendering.

Mo 0:15 AM: Render is finished now –  just send it through After Effects and prepare gif for mint.

Mo 1:00 AM: Mint βœ…

Mo 1:30 AM: Subscribers issues distribution βœ…

Mo 2:00 AM: Sold out βœ…

*my time zone is GMT +1 hour

Issue #25

Week 9 | 2021

Only True Kings
create NFTs

OK guys, let's rock! With the first major mainstream band hitting the NFT space we wanted to contribute to this milestone. Took me quite some time to come up with a solid idea, but I knew from the start the headliner item may be KOL's iconic cherry logo. 

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I drew this sketch on Saturday evening after some lengthy research on the band's background and imagery while listening to their newly released album. My GF was even more stoked than me about this new cover. She truly loves Kings of Leon, so it only seemed fitting that she take over Red's role of back-seater for this week.

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This image is depicting the iconic cherry in gold on red background (the same is used on bands art NFT btw). It also shows it opening to reveal a hidden vinyl record inside with a miniature band spinning around the ETH symbol.

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The trickiest part of assembling the 3D model was finding suitable assets to represent the band. Obviously there was no time to custom model each band member, so I used ready-made models and transplanted some heads onto a bald-headed bass guitarist.

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What I figured to be a simple matter of getting the LP label in reasonable quality, to create the desired texture, is where I ran into some trouble. On all promo images the label is cut on the left side, so I had to search the social networks for "brag" & "unboxing" posts to find an image to pull the label from in Photoshop.

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The final touch in post-production was a bit of toning being added with After Effects. Primarily to give it a more retro-analog feeling. I am very happy with how this piece turned out in the end. I sure hope you all like it too!

Issue #24

Week 8 | 2021

Beeple’s crazy
fuckin week

Wassup degenerates? After watching Beeples MP drop video with him showing how easy it is to make a cool render, I said to myself: Fuck, let's do it like Beeple. Well, the problem was I never have used Cinema 4D before. Oopsy. So on Saturday night, I watch some tuts with how-to and early Sunday morning I kicked off my first "Everyday".

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The idea for beeple-ish cover was simple: futuristic visualization of Christie's auction of his first 5000 everydays with a giant head dominating the scene. Sure, his renders are another mofo level but considering the fact I installed the 3d software the night before, I am pretty happy with the result.

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Within the scene, you can see the auction participating bidders floating in their pods while the holographic hammer is turning in a circle waiting for the final bid. The year 2066 is referencing 1766 – the year Christie's was established. 

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I wanted to draw a sketch but immediately I've been notified by Red that Beeple for sure isn't fkn drawing anything and sketches directly with 3d objects. So I obtained a file with 3d sci-fi parts from the asset market – a building kit all the scene is built from - and started to "sketch".

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Honestly, after few hours of struggling, I was still not really sure whether I can finish the piece and whether I should not better try to draw it on a tablet or just fake it in Photoshop as I am used to.  

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It is our 2nd CGI rendered cover so far. The first was art on cover issue #11 using really simple geometry and done in Blender. But only making Gazette cover is the best art training that is pushing me further within strict deadlines.

And who is actually trying to scoop Beeple's piece in the year 2066? Check the lineup of bidders by yourself in this slideshow. I loved working on this piece and I am sure we established a beeple-ish cover tradition for the future iconic issues.   

Issue #23

Week 7 | 2021

PUNKAMANIA

What a crazy NFT week it was. πŸ˜² Such moments are calling for iconic imagery. In the concept of the cover, we have unprecedentedly mixed the topics. The formula is simple: APE(Ceasar) + PUNK + BANKSY = ultimate result.

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The base of our ape character is Ceasar from the Planet of Apes series symbolizing the King element as BTC ATH happened again. The piercing brings him to the desired punk feel.  The ape is then varied with "Attributes" to identify the concrete punk.

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We plan to have bandana ape punk only as we were brainstorming on Thursday. The next day happened another record-breaking sale so the fedora ape punk stepped in. He looks pretty badass, right? Saturday's fake Banksy events directed the street art style for the piece. The creation is truly orchestrated by the NFT history as it flows. 

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This artwork is pure Photoshop magic. I have developed a "Banksy" filter you can apply on anything. (with fine lightness tuning etc.).  The animation is really modest as the picture is strong enough even static.  The master chef's seasoning is the addition of a person passing by to give the street art a majestic scale. Did you notice my graffiti tag btw?

Issue #22

Week 6 | 2021

πŸ’˜ Proof of Love

The aim was a romantic feel for this V Day special featuring, a crypto marriage as our main story, after lots of Bollywood ballet ideas I came up with this Pip-boy-like glove scene in front of the famous Strip sign in Vegas.

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Vegas is famous for its weddings, and also it is the best title from the Fallout series. So we went also with futuristic settings with a colorful sunset. We changed VEGAS to GWEIGAS and used ETH symbolisms.

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It wouldn't be a Gazette cover if we hadn't hidden some details in so the strafing heartshaped cloud is just a cherry on the top but more significant is containing for the first time ever the to-be-art-dropped piece (this week by @andreasgysin).

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The home screen is also populated with Hashmasks and Punks references. Also, we couldn't resist including a Bollywood theme as a fictive movie trailer banner.

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The illustration was drawn in Procreate on Ipad excluding the screen content created in Photoshop. All the animation magic is made in After Effects as last before export destination.

Issue #21

Week 5 | 2021

Million Dollar Punk Draw

On issue #21 we used punk 205 (which is the iconic discord punk) to depict the historic Million Dollar Punk Draw that has been orchestrated by usual suspect Pransky and literally songs have been written for it.

Punk 205 was recreated from scratch as vectors in Illustrator, then each square separated, making it around 260 in total independent boxes.

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Randomly generated selections were used to make 6 groups of these squares that were brought to After Effects to be animated with various 3D rotation-punks flipping nature references.

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Then we were looking for more glance so we created a kaleidoscopic mosaic generated by the very same punk animation with animated hue shift. Simple concept yet effective. Punk #205 is also part of the draw. One lucky ticket holder will get to own a truly iconic punk

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Issue #20

Week 4 | 2021

WSB vs EVIL

What an iconic cover this was! That week the talk of the town was the chads from WSB. The idea was to go for a semi photo-realistic digitally painted version of the avatar. His glasses reflect the paparazzi camera flashes as he gently moves from side to side.

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My favorite little detail on that is the little Reddit pin on his suit. All in all creating digital paintings like this are quite a time-demanding process. You can see in the timelapse video how the layers of colors are gradually applied.

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The pseudo-3D effect requires manually create a depth map for the drawing, simply put lighter areas are closer to the camera than the dark ones.

Issue #19

Week 3 | 2021

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First color sketch made in Procreate

NBATopShot Explosion

It was another amazing week with strong news. The landscape was made to present an alien planet as it was that week that an alien punk sold for 605 ETH. The issue number '19' swaps to that alien punk & also FlamingoDAO (buyer) is present too.

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The volcano erupting basketballs is a nod to NBATopshot extreme volumes that week. The color also makes it really interesting to watch and, of course, our favorite detail here is that 3pointer that the volcano nails!

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For creating the illustration I used Illustrator for iPad (1st time production use) which turns out quite intuitive to work with and easy to "paint" the vectors. A good feature is that the file will automatically pop up in your desktop full version where  I made  just some layer organization to bring it to After Effects to animate.

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Issue #18

Week 2 | 2021

Pareto Principle in Cryptoart

Our very first pixel art cover but also our first pink cover. We were illustrating the cryptoart market state where small artists struggle to sell anything while big drops got instantly sold out. It is also illustrating the Pareto Principle (80-20 rule) in cryptoart. Watch it full screen to spot the little details and maybe even recognize some of the famous artworks displayed in art shops.

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I did really enjoy creating this one as I am a big fan of pixel art, but no way I am experienced enough like the pure pixel artists. The picture was wholly created in Aseprite, specialized graphic software for pixel art.

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We tried several color combinations for the final artwork but the final call was made by Redlion who liked the pink one the most.

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The street needed to be drawn in the wide-format before the animation could take the part.

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Different layers are moving at different speeds so there is a parallax side-scrolling effect achieved.

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The fun fact is that we almost ditched the complete artwork before the deadline as suddenly more important news appeared. I think it was a good choice to publish this work at the end instead of trying to hustle quick replacement cover.

Issue #17

Week 1 | 2021

Death to Flippers

Our first underwater cover. On this one, we tried to be ''edgy''. It was directly tied to the main story of the week which were the NG guidelines. For this nautic theme, I choose to go with a kind of Jules Vern aesthetics.

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The poor Flipper is assassinated by a scummy diver coming out of the whale's mouth. This brutal scene is hiding som much symbolism and references.

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The diver for instance is equipped beside his deadly harpoon with a toothbrush he has just used to serve the whale's needs.

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Technically the artwork is a collage made from many reference pictures that were retraced, edited, and mixed to create this violet mood. Animations are done as always in After Effect with underwater warp distortion as a final touch.

Issue #16

Week 53 | 2020

A Year in Review

That is a very rare issue. Not only because it was the 53rd week of the year that occurs once in circa 5 years but also because of "The King'' cover theme as BTC was at an ATH again. Only 23 issues exist! How fitting it is, right? The dunk was selected as a tribute to Kobe by LeBron James. 

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Redlion vision was a shiny gold cover for this special occasion so I tried to fulfill that wish. Some minor detail is a Basquiat crown appearing over LBJs head as another king motive layer. 

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You can notice the big numbers behind LBJ swap to 53 as the opportunity was therewith turning upside down the 2 into 5. 
The lightning brings the BTC symbol on the ball which is then masterfully dunked as the chart is growing on the background.

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The whole artwork has been done in After Effects as a collage from various sources. Firstly the  Lebron's body was rotoscoped, cartoonized, and overpainted almost frame by frame – that took quite a lot of time to accomplish.  Secondly, there have been added all the elements and effects with rewind animation to suit the issue topic even more.

Issue #15

Week 52 | 2020

$COIN vs $COIN

What fun it was to create this one. A retro-looking collage visually demonstrating the legal battle between Coin Artist and $coin. Take your time and watch it a few times to notice all details. Coin Artist herself grabbed a couple of issues. We also did hide items from all previous issues covers. Can you find them all? The reveal list is at the end of the cover story.

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The Coin Artist is depicted in the beginning as an innocent baby doll while an evil sausage creature jumps in waving (actual) legal papers. What a surprise when she transforms into a killing machine with huge Twitter community support.

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The final secret weapon coming into the battle to support justice is our beloved Andreas M. Antonopoulos who gives the lethal laser strike to the evil. My favorite little detail is issue number 15 made from 1 and five fingers underlining the surreal feel.

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The main workload here is probably the complex animations that are making this piece so fun. Sure, first there was a need to put together the overall composition, but transforming Coin Artist into the mech was a bit tricky.  In the end, the loop came up pretty well.

Hidden items solution:
Elvis – issue 14
Beeple's face (in the bull) – issue 13
Chess king on the toaster – issue 12
Pranksy calendar – issue 11
Escalator – issue 10

Issue #14

Week 51 | 2020

BTC ATH

The very rare Xmass issue (14 pcs.) works again with the ''The King'' concept as the price has been surging that period. An obvious nod to BTC being The King of crypto. Depiction of Elvis was purposely done to look old and chubby as he was during the end of his career.

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On the floor, we see a Gazette which Elvis loves to read. So we have our cover within our cover.  

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The joint refers to the legalization of weed on a federal level by the USA. You can see on the small table a king chess pawn, which is a reference to our previous ATH cover. 

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At the time the cover was being designed the GAS price was high over 100 gwei, as you can see from the visible sign from outside the window. These days it is probably floor price.

Issue #13

Week 50 | 2020

Beeple Effect II

This cover is celebrating Beeple's second drop on NG and I  have redrawn all 23 everydays to place them carefully inside his mofo face. I think it is a cool concept to portray such a historic drop.

While it was really fun and I was able to study all the tiny details in his work, finishing the illustration took over 20 hours and is probably one of the most time-demanding cover creation to date.

The drawing part of the artwork took place on iPad in Procreate and the final animation has been done in After Effects.

During the timelapse, you can also see a making of a depth map (that black and white face) as it is used to achieve a similar pseudo-3D effect as we did on cover #20. 

Issue #12

Week 49 | 2020

BTC ATH

A King cover is born. This one is very special. It was for the first time after 2017 BTC broke ATH. Redlion had the idea to depict BTC as a king pawn dressed in bitcoin orange.  I came up with the rocket ship ready to launch into the thought mix. At the beginning of the timelapse, you can see a sketch of my keyhole concept that we've ditched.

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We tried to be smart with issue number placement and I got the idea we could let the 12 swaps to a BTC magic number 21.

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If you watch carefully you'll see a small bitcoinaut waving from the tiny window of the rocket.  Also, the issue highlights are hidden in the clouds. The most tricky part was the smoke animation and I have reworked it several times.

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The original concept was to make the rocket ship ready to take off (as we did), and when BTC demolishes the ATH again, to have it shown airborne on the way to the moon. We decided to evolve it and go for king metaphors, something that adds to the collectability too.

Issue #11

Week 48 | 2020

Pranksy Advent Calendar

Issue 11 was a slow week and the main news was the successful Pranksy advent calendar drop. The challenge was to depict that without showing a copy of the original, which would be low-effort shit.  The idea illustrates the actual quantity of 100 sold #nft calendars in a looping endless animation.

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First of all, I studied the original gif with the calendar and recreate it in a minimalistic manner using the MagicaVoxel program for voxel graphic creation.

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The 3d model has been brought to Blender where I made the passing by animation and lights. The flying typography and some color treatmentt were achieved as always in After Effects, our good old final destination friend.

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The voxel asset came into action again at the beginning of the distribution of the artworks from the calendar when I provided the .vox file freely to anyone to place it in the cryptovoxels metaverse and fill it with the dropped artwork nfts.

Issue #10

Week 47 | 2020

$18K BTC

Here it all began with my Gazette cover art debut.  With the first artwork, I had to truly demonstrate my capabilities to deliver high quality in the short time frames.  When you see the older covers you realize it was not a real challenge to overdo it.

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At first, I have presented 4 concepts with rough sketches with ideas on how can we depict the BTC price surge. They are all quite solid but we found the escalator scene as the most promising.

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A futuristic scenery with β‚Ώ headed people riding escalator and passing the 18k floor. Simple but strong. Out of all the tiny details I like the little window cleaner in the background. He is not β‚Ώ headed that is why he does this job.

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I have incorporated also Satoshis laughing statue and Bitcoinmat of course. From the beginning, I was sure to go with the minimalistic red-white-black palette (Gazette colors) that will suit the artwork best and you will see a cover in the same style in the future celebrating our special occasions.

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For the biggest secret hunters, there are two micro details hidden in the artwork. One is the Trezor logo (hardware wallet producer I like) and on the girl's jacket is a slice of pizza as the first BTC payment reference.

Issue #9-1

Week 46-38 | 2020

Hic Sunt Leones

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