The CD has a recurring theme about traveling. In the thumbnail process, I tried to keep humans out of the picture since we don't know what the band members look like and I didn't want to assume "Oh, folk, country-sounding music, guys with cowboy hats and cowboy boots." I adhered to the places the protagonist might have seen while traveling or objects that allude to traveling, for instance, a train; as well as important objects related to the story: his guitar.
First comp sketch:
Playing around with a map background. There were more comps after this one but I didn't include them since they were more of the same image except for different camera angles and tweaks on the train/guitar elements.
My dad is a huge rail fan and train modeler so I had his feedback in order to create a train that a rail fan would somewhat approve of (the rest I attributed to artistic license haha.) Using a lot of reference pictures I was glad to find more train/guitar elements that worked together. The bridge of the guitar as the cow catcher, the sound hole of the guitar as the round front of the train, and the neck of the guitar as the chimney (steam trains are my favourites, too!) A LOT of tweaking was done to this as to have the viewer go "Oh hey look, it's a trai-- ohhh wait it's also a guitar!"
Graphite with revisions after the comp:
Final with gouache: