Gravity - Heavy Stuff

Gravity - Heavy Stuff

May 26, 2018

Gravity | Rodney Matthews Studios

My latest album cover artwork (above), titled Gravity, is one of six designs that I have illustrated for melodic heavy rock band Praying Mantis.  My relationship with the Troy brothers (Tino and Chris) began in 1980, when I was asked to illustrate their album Time Tells No Lies (below).  As I am well into insects, you can imagine how pleased I have been to illustrate their covers, all of which have featured a mantis.

Time Tells No Lies | Rodney Matthews Studios

The Time Tells No Lies design originally included a warrior seated upon the mantis.  Somehow, this character was elbowed out of the scene.  Next up, was a couple of 7" vinyl covers for the 1980 single titled, strangely enough, Praying Mantis:

Praying Mantis | Rodney Matthews Studios

and the 1981 EP titled Cheated

Praying Mantis Cheated | Rodney Matthews Studios

Unfortunately, the original artworks of those two images "disappeared" during the proceedings.  Around this time I was asked to do some other works for Praying Mantis that included an album centre label:

Praying Mantis Record Centre | Rodney Matthews Studios

which was also printed on a beer mat:

Praying Mantis Beer Mat | Rodney Matthews Studios

a logo:  

Praying Mantis Logo | Rodney Matthews Studios

(some alternative logos):
Praying Mantis Alternative Logo | Rodney Matthews StudiosPraying Mantis Alternative Logo | Rodney Matthews Studios
and a design to be used on an enamel badge:  

Praying Mantis Badge Design | Rodney Matthews Studios

Ten years passed before my next Mantis cover - Predator in Disguise - a symbolic take on the New World Order and the Bible prophecy for the last days:

Predator in Disguise | Rodney Matthews Studios

At this time, I also designed a new Praying Mantis logo:

Praying Mantis New Logo | Rodney Matthews Studios

Further time passed before the next album commission in 2015, a time in which Tino Troy appeared to lose his hair - presumably associated with the trials and tribulations of running a rock band!  It was back to the wizard and mantis theme for this one, with another planetary skull and plenty of fire and brimstone.  Here's the pencil sketch: 

Praying Mantis Legacy Pencil Sketch | Rodney Matthews Studio
and here is the finished colour artwork:

Praying Mantis Legacy | Rodney Matthews Studios

For those that are interested, here is an alternative Legacy pencil sketch that was shown to the band:

Praying Mantis Legacy Alternative Pencil Sketch | Rodney Matthews Studios

Sarah and I had a great time at the Legacy album launch gig, held at The Borderline in London.  Here I am with the band (a photo kindly taken by a fan):

RM with the band

You may have noticed that the mantises have increased in size over the 38 years that I have been associated with the band.  Gravity features a mantis machine in the process of destroying planet Earth.  Simultaneously, a rogue planet of Jupiter-proportions, with immense mass and gravitational pull is dragging everything (including the mantis, Earth and myriad space stations) to its surface - all good, cheerful stuff!  I'm not sure I can go further with that theme, I may have to revert to a macro shot depicting a scene where the viewer is is taken into the small, but dangerous world of insects!  The band are still going strong after all these years - anything could yet happen!  Click here to get your copy now on CD or Vinyl.  I will leave you with a video of the first track Keep it Alive from the new album:


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