The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute | Skillshare Projects

Jeremy Hamman

Designer, Illustrator, Deceptively Capable Dancer



The Mars Volta - Frances the Mute

Totes finished this.

5-30 I experimented with a few different type treatments and found a couple I liked, but ultimately opted to go without the text, as none of their other album covers do. That said, I may develop this into a full CD book, allowing me to explore some of the visual elements a bit more, as well as further explain the importance of the 'reissue' etc. Thanks to everyone who gave feedback!

5-28 I think I am pretty satisfied with the mood and lighting, though there are a dozen things I would do differently a second time. That said, I am struggling with the placement of text, mostly because the plan I had for them never seemed to materialize. Any viewers over the next few days with an opinion one way or the other, please share as I am perplexed.

Bit more done in the lighting/texture/etc part. Reworked the shoe and tape over mouth per a suggestion below...still struggling with word placement, etc. so if anyone has some feedback there, I'd be glad to hear it.

Progress 4

Here's an update: 

Moved things into PS and am working on getting some textures and lighting in, though I can't say that I'm hugely happy with where things are. Any thoughts, feedback, etc. would be welcomed gladly as I am struggling just a bit to finish this beasty off. Thanks in advance!


In the process of working on this project aimed at creating something for Reggie Watts I found myself pleased with the direction they were taking, but found them wanting as it pertains to this class and the instruction. That said, I think I'll tackle a reimagining to Frances the Mute from the Mars Volta. Generally thought to be among the weaker works they've put out, it nonetheless is a long running favorite of mine for the moments of clarity and genius it provides, as well as the somewhat mysterious origins of the album's concept. Many think the songs revolve around the death of Jeremy Ward and his stories from a previous career, though it's unsubstantiated. What is clear is that there's some interesting numeral and astrological consistencies among the songs, in addition to very clear imagery and message about heroin use. 

I'll take cues from the intro/outro acoustic parts of Cygnus (track1 & 12) and the fourth track, Miranda... and integrate a darker, searching cityscape, with streets filled with surging water. The Mars Volta aesthetic is pretty varied, though often incorporates Latin themes with abstract art and repeated geometrics. It is my plan to incorporate these in some of the building elements etc. Sketches forthcoming.

Here are some album covers:

Deloused in the Comatorium

Need to construct a mood board, but in a hurry to sketch. 


One crazy week or two later and I'm finally getting around to getting these sketches up...coloring the vector tonight and starting to lay down some texture. Here's one of a few sketches I smashed together for the vectored composition.


I sat down to work today and wanted to do a little more background, since I was having a hard time justifying some decisions I'd made. About a half hour in I realized it was the 10th anniversary of Jeremy Ward's death- the Mars Volta sound tech that is often credited as being the inspiration for, and subject of, Frances the Mute.  With that in mind I did more reading and went about building a palette with browns to see where things are going. A lot of the objects in this rough vector are ghastly and not reflecting appropriate lighting, but they will be fixed upon the move to photoshop. Please let me know any thoughts or feedback you may have! Thanks!


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