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The Rock Hand

2-3/4" X 2-3/4" vinyl sticker

Buy a sticker!

Buy a sticker!

Buy a shirt!

Buy a shirt!

The ubiquitous Devil Horns. They're everywhere, yet noone knows for sure where they came from. They can be used for almost anything, yet so many people claim them as their own. Butt-rock disciples, sign language speakers, University of Texas boosters, ironic emo kids, drunk frat boys. All have raised the rock hand. You can even get rock hand jewelry and belt buckles.

One of the earliest versions in print I remember seeing was on the cover of 1995's Superfriends album by Seattle band Sweet Water. And lately, the horns can be found on everything from Fender guitar schwag to USB flash drives.

Personally, though, I had never seen a version that I liked, although the Too Much Rock for One Hand design is pretty damn cool..

So, I decided to make my own.

First, I had to sketch it out. I wanted to stylize the hand as much as possible, but still capture the essential gesture in a way that wouldn't look awkward or contrived. I also wanted to use the right hand, as opposed to the left, because I hadn't seen that anywhere. When I was happy with where the drawings were going, I headed over to Adobe Illustrator to tighten everything up, graphically.

The last step was to have stickers made. I have used the fine folks at Contagious Graphic before, and they did not disappoint this time. Through these stickers, the rock hand has travelled far and wide, and still going...

-John Kieltyka


Book Covers


Album Cover Art

Like most people who listen to music, I’ve always loved the humble album cover. I’ve stared at the art while the music plays, I’ve read the lyric sheets, I’ve noticed where the tracks were recorded. Were there guest musicians? How long did it take to record? Who took the band photos? To me, it didn’t matter if the music was wrapped in an 8-track jacket, a cassette j-card, an album sleeve or a CD booklet. The design could promise me something or nothing, tell me about places I’d never been, or spark me to achieve artistic goals of my own.

I take a collaborative approach to designing album art. I like to toss ideas back and forth with a band until we end up with something cooler than any of us had imagined when we began. An initial Q&A session is a great place to start, and helps me get a sense of the people behind the project. Looking at other covers the band like is also very helpful. It can narrow the focus and help me make some suggestions. Of course, I also listen to the album and read the lyrics.

The bands I’ve designed for may or may not know me personally, but they are usually familiar enough with my visual work, in general, to allow me the freedom to do my “thing.” Nonetheless, it’s been a good idea for me to send in-progress versions of the cover for review. It’s easier to know about and change a critical element earlier in the project than later, to say nothing of having to scrap an idea and start over :)

In the end, some designs are more daring than others, but all are what the customer wanted.

I hope.

-John Kieltyka