Interview for The Hatchet Times - Six Feet Under, "UNDEAD".

With the new Six Feet Under album, Undead, dropping on May 22nd, we here at THT wanted to do something a little different and interesting. I had a chance to kill time with Dusty Peterson, the talent behind the cover art for the new album, and ask a few questions about his process, tastes, and more.


THT: First off, I would like to congratulate you on your success. It must feel amazing to see your artwork on album covers and t-shirts for bands that you love listening to and respect. Also thanks for taking time to BS with me. Let’s get to it, how did you get to design the new album cover for Six Feet Under?

DP: I have been working with Six Feet Under off and on since I first did their cover for Graveyard Classics 3. Mostly for tour shirts and whatnot, but I’d say we have developed a pretty good working relationship so [Chris Barnes] asked me to do the new studio album as well. 


THT: That’s cool so you’ve worked with him before, what other covers have you done for them?

DP: Just “Graveyard Classics 3″ and the “Wake the Night: Live in Germany” DVD. 


THT: The Undead cover looks pretty sick man. I wonder how you will top that. How do you come up with your ideas? What is your process to bring your ideas to life?

DP: This cover particularly was easily the most difficult thing I have ever done from start to finish. We probably went through 20 different sketches before finally nailing down the idea that all parties involved agreed on. It was clear at a very early point that they wanted something special. Not to say that every band doesn’t want quality art, but I think everyone is really proud of this new album, so they were especially critical of initial designs. As for where the initial idea came from, Chris Barnes just said that he wanted something “completely insane”. Something that reflected the insanity on the album. All I could do at that point was pull from the darkest parts of my brain and start. The specific details I can’t really say where they came from, but metaphorically there is a lot of hidden meanings that I sensed Chris Barnes felt about this project after talking to him extensively. The past, line-up changes, and rebirth all play a role in the swirling chaos that is Six Feet Under.


THT: I can see how the process can develop your skills, and you seem to handle projects on another level of thinking. How long have you been designing artwork for bands?

DP: Not a very long time, actually. 2008 was the first year that I started doing them and it just sort of fell in my lap. At that point, I was actually in an artistic lull so I used it as a much needed kickstart.


THT: Great way to get things back on track. What other bands or labels have you worked with over the years?

DP: Metal Blade (obviously), Peaceville, and Earache. I’ve worked in one capacity or another with Bloodbath, Cattle Decapitation, Oceano, Whitechapel (though that was unpublished), Funerus, Behold! The Monolith, and a few others. I’d say I am probably most known for my covers for the last two Bloodbath releases, “Unblessing The Purity” and “The Fathomless Mastery”.


THT: And your favorite is…?

DP: It’s hard to pick a favorite of my own work. Everyone’s favorite seems to be “Unblessing the Purity”, though. 

THT: Yeah “Unblessing” has a great cover. I need a print of that. You definitely have to grow a love for this kind of music and artwork. It’s not like you wake up one morning when you’re a kid and tell yourself, “I love Death Metal, I’m gonna design covers”. When did you start listening to Death Metal?

DP: It was probably around 1995 or so. I grew up in Kansas and the only thing on the radio at that time was basically the “Alternative Nation” style of music. And Country…lots of country. I was really into a comic book called Dead World at the time, which was drawn by Vincent Locke and when I saw some of his covers for Cannibal Corpse at the record store, I immediately recognized his art and picked up some of the CDs. At first, I didn’t quite know what to say about it as the heaviest stuff I was listening to at that point was maybe Ministry or Testament, but as soon as I heard “Stripped, Raped, and Strangled” off of “The Bleeding”, I was totally hooked. It was still pretty hard to find that kind of music back then where I was, though, so it wasn’t until I moved to Seattle where I really started to expand my metal interests. 


THT: What are some of your other favorite bands and albums?

DP: Most of my favorite bands/albums are from that initial discovery period between 1995-1998. So Rotting Christ’s “Non Serviam” and “Triarchy of the Lost Lovers” are eternally in my top 5 albums ever. Also, Samael’s “Ceremony of Opposites” is possibly my favorite album of all time. I consider that to be the most perfect metal album for my own personal tastes. The riffs, the lyrics, everything…every song is just so incredibly evil. It’s just a shame they don’t really make that kind of music anymore. I’m also a pretty big Immortal fan. “At the Heart of Winter”. Seattle is pretty grim with the gray skies and rain, after all. Not quite frosty here, but it still fits.  Then there is a bunch of stuff that is almost not even worth mentioning that I love like Iron Maiden or Judas Priest or Dio…but everyone loves them. I’d have to turn in my leather jacket if I didn’t love them. These days, I mostly listen to NWOBHM stuff like Angel Witch, Grim Reaper, Cloven Hoof, Hell, and Tokyo Blade. I listen to pretty much every sub-genre of heavy metal depending on my just depends.


THT: Cool man, which band do you want to work with?

DP: I mean, there are always bands I’d love to work with. Some just seem incredibly difficult to get a hold of. I’d love to do a Deicide cover at some point. Their stuff was always so offensive, I’d love to do something like that. Gwar would be another one because I think I’d get to let my wackier side loose for a bit. 


THT: I would definitely like to know how you tackle a Deicide cover. I can see you doing something for Gwar too. I’ve seen your wacky stuff. On that note, what else have you done outside of band artwork?

DP: I’ve actually been a 2D/3D game artist for about 12 years now. It’s my primary career. I’ve worked on games like FEAR, FEAR 2, Spiderman: The Movie (first movie game), and tons of casual/budget titles. I can’t really complain. I make video games all day and then I go home and make heavy metal album covers. Life is great!


THT: Hell yeah, man.  Do what you love. I gotta hear more about your game work at some point. Before we wrap up, what’s the best way for bands to reach you?

DP: is my website and there is a contact form on there. I’m pretty much always available for work, but I have to say…no more ruined cities! Every band asks for “Ruined apocalyptic cities” these days. It’s definitely the new “king sitting in a throne” for the new millennium. Time to change it up, guys!


THT: Can people get their hands on any of your artwork?

DP: I have an online store ( It uses a cart and paypal or CC. Pretty straight forward. :) I often draw sketches and slip them into the packages, btw. Usually when I slack in getting them to the post office on time. Which is almost every time.


THT: Oh, one last question… favorite horror movie and video game?

DP: Video Game is probably Fallout 3 because I loved the way that it really felt like I was walking out into a nuclear wasteland. And a close second would be Dark Souls. That game is so punishing, but I was hopelessly addicted to it. The creatures were some of the scariest ever made, too.

My favorite horror movie of all time is “The Beyond”, but Lucio Fulci. No one nailed the nightmare logic like he did. Even with it’s low budget, there is really no other movie that has it’s incredible sense of atmosphere and dread.


Interview for Metal Band Art

Dusty Peterson is an artist whose work transports the viewer to a dark fantastical place, that no matter how unnerving it makes you feel, you want to come back and visit. I know his work is supposed to be dark and evil but there is something so comforting about it…perhaps it is the lush colors or the painterly style.

How did you get your first paying art job?
In 2000 (at age 20), when I started my video game art career. I got hired at Treyarch and worked on a baseball game (Triple Play Baseball).
If we are strictly talking about album covers, it was in 2008 with Bloodbath’s “The Fathomless Mastery”. I had done their contest for the EP previous to that (“Unblessing the Purity”), which was unpaid (Label did a contest to submit your own album cover and the band picked mine), but they liked that so much that they hired me for the LP. After that, it sort of injected the fire in me that I had been missing and I pursued the illustration/album art side-career further by sending my portfolios to bands and labels. Since then it’s just been perseverance.

Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
Mostly, yes. The only thing that has really evolved is the different media that I use. Like any artist, it’s a process of finding what your favorite tools are. But in general, I’ve always been influenced by the same people so my art style remains the same even if my tools or ability change over time.


Who are your artistic influences?
My biggest influences are Michael Whelan, Wayne Douglas Barlowe, and HR Giger. I own all of their art books and have studied them countless hours over the course of my life. Other favorites are John Jude Palencar, Brom, Ed Repka, Mark Tedin, and Jeff Easley. Basically, if they ever did a great fantasy/sci-fi novel or an album cover, I like them.

What words best describe your artistic style?
I’m just going to repeat what people tell me, because I honestly have a hard time describing my own style, but the most popular one seems to be “intense”. I think that is a suitable enough description as it is what I strive for when making art. I want to make art that grabs people from across the room, so intensity in subject matter and color is the best way to do that.

Tell us about your studio space?
There is nothing romantic about my studio space at the moment. In fact, I quite hate my desk, which is really pathetic because I bought it thinking it would be the ultimate desk ever and it’s really uncomfortable. It’s your basic L-shaped desk from Staples with a chair from Ikea that broke after a year. I’m really cheap and lazy about buying furniture, though, so I ended up attaching some kind of frankenstein’d brace on to the broken plastic arms so the whole chair doesn’t flop back. It’s really embarrassing. It’s one of those things where it’s bad enough for me to whine about it, but not bad enough to where my work suffers in any way. So I just tolerate it. I aspire to have one of those amazing artistic spaces one day, though!

When you create art for a band…Do you listen to their music during the process?
Sometimes. I think there is definitely some kind of sub-conscious effect that happens while you listen to a band and work on their art as long as you like their music. Thankfully, I haven’t worked with any bands yet where their music has completely turned me off, so in general the only time I don’t listen to a band while I do their art is if they are new and don’t have proper samples yet.

Take us through a typical day.
My day starts at about 8-9am. I get up, take my shower, skip breakfast, and slog through Seattle’s 520 bridge traffic to get to Kirkland so I can spend 8 or so hours making video games. Then I slog through that traffic again, come home, eat dinner, and decide how productive I am going to be. Usually, I’ll start job #2 right away (my freelance art) but if I am feeling a little burned out, I’ll play some video games. All of that is sprinkled with time with wife and cats. After my evening, I’ll go to bed around 1am, throw in a horror movie to pass out to and call it a day usually around 2-3.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
I start with a basic sketch. This will either be in pencil or directly into photoshop, it just depends on my mood and where I am feeling the most creative that day. After I get the basic shapes and composition down, I’ll throw in a few details, but not so much where I will feel limited once I get to the painting stage. I find that painting (obviously traditionally, but also digitally) offers a lot of “happy accidents” at times that I may not have “seen” on the page when I was drawing, so I do try to keep this stage loose. Then the next step will either involve going straight to digital or painting up some roughs in watercolors to help my eye see where my brain is going. At the end of the day, though, I do all of my finish art digitally. I just don’t have a space big enough to get the same detail level in real paint.

After I finish the sketch, I will bring it into photoshop and set the line-work to “Multiply” and start painting on a layer directly below it. I don’t use a lot of layers and I try to paint all on one layer most of the time. I say most, because sometimes if I am feeling nervous, I will make a new layer and then merge down. But, in general, I think that painting all on one layer best simulates painting in traditional media because you have to deal with the mistakes more. The more you do this, the more painted it looks, which is something that I have spent a lot of time trying to achieve. Even if I don’t have the space to paint traditionally like I’d like to, I still want it to ultimately be a hand-painted piece.

After I finish the “speed paint”, I merge the line-art down and start painting over the top of the line art. From there on out it’s just detail painting, which is the easy part.

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
95% of it is done on the computer. And I realize that some people have a problem with that, but it’s not really their fault, either. There have been so many poor computer generated images over the decades at this point that you can’t blame them for seeing the word “Photoshop” and turning up their nose. All I can do, as an artist, is hopefully prove that art comes from the inside and produce quality art that doesn’t look “photoshoppy”. The computer is just a tool like a pencil, pen, or paintbrush and it has it’s own series of skills and techniques that must be learned to use it effectively. I’ve spent a lot of time studying all medias and this is the one that I have chosen for it’s cleanliness, it’s small footprint on my apartment, and it’s ease of correction for clients that desire tweaks on their works.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
Half and half. I always look up reference to check myself when doing human anatomy. Even after years of study, it’s almost impossible to not make an anatomical mistake or be a victim of your own style if you don’t at least look at a reference book or take a photo of yourself. Hands, feet, and dynamic poses would be my weak spots, but that’s what camera phones are for. I have a picture of myself  for pretty much every painting that I do (although I usually try to delete them, since they are really embarrassing photos, haha). Then I just hold my phone in my hand and look at it while I draw (if drawing on paper) or I will send the picture to myself and alt+tab over to it when I need a glimpse (if drawing in photoshop).

As for the monsters and entrails and stuff, I just pull that out of imagination. You can get away with anatomical missteps in monsters and stuff like that because no one other than you knows what they look like. That said, things become more believable if you have studied real life animals or organ anatomy. I have dozens of wildlife books with cross-sections and all of that stuff, and I sort of go with the “Greek Mythology” approach, but hidden behind a veil a bit. That is, I’ll take one animal’s head and stick it on another body in the most simplest form (i.e. Minotaur, Centaur, etc). But to get more complex then that, you just go further and say “I’m going to borrow this lion’s skull, with a crabs shell and claws, with a shaven bear’s body, etc etc”. I’ve studied all of those, so I know what they basically look like and that is the pool that I pull from to make good monsters. The same goes with gore. Most people aren’t doctors so if you know how your basic slimy, gooey bits go together you can just riff on the same idea over and over until it looks like gore and no one is the wiser. And then it just looks cool.

Do the bands give you any direction?
It really depends on the band, the project, and the label. I’ve worked with some bands that have a very clear concept and I am basically interpreting what they say. I have also been lucky enough to work with bands that trust my artistic insight and let me run freestyle with it. Both have their pros and cons. It can be challenging attempting to see what is in the mind of the client and it can be just as challenging (if not more so) to please someone that doesn’t know what they want.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
You must have confidence in your work. Don’t be cocky, but create your work knowing that you are good enough to be doing what you are doing. If you aren’t good enough, you will know anyway. You must always remember that the band has hired YOU to do work for THEM and they are the ones that need to be happy. It’s always great to please fans of that band, but the fact of the matter is, someone will always hate what you have done. Maybe they won’t like the subject matter. Maybe they are comparing you to a previous, legendary album cover that is nigh impossible to beat. Maybe they don’t even like the band and are using you as a dart board for their insults. Or maybe, just maybe, they straight up think you suck. Maybe you do? It doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that the band doesn’t think you suck and that they get what they paid for out of you, i.e. the best artwork that you can create. And so with this all in mind, you MUST grow a thick skin or you will crumble fast. Of course, if you are any sort of mature artist, you have probably developed this thick skin long ago when you get portfolio critiques (and you should always get portfolio critiques). You just can not take anything personally. You need to brush the dust off and move forward.

Also, do not get starstruck. At the end of the day, these bands are just artists (audio and performance artists, but artists just the same) just like you and you needn’t put them on a pedestal. When I was 16, I looked up to everyone. But now I see everyone else on the planet as colleagues, no matter what their ability. I think it helps focus on the artwork and just do what I need to do to make the best artwork that I can do. And since you are not a starstruck fanboy, this will help you contact these bands with professionalism when looking for work.

Don’t get screwed by the financial aspect of it all. Set up policies that you do not budge on such as:

1) Get a non-refundable deposit. This makes sure that if you are going to get ripped off, at least you get something. I take 50% down, personally.

2) Set fair rates that won’t make your clients wince, but make sure it’s worth your time. Making art is time-consuming and it has taken you years to get to where you are. Do not accept $50.00 for 30 days of hard work. Never *EVER* believe the “but you’ll get great exposure!” line that some people will try to peddle. You will not and the band will get your time for free.

3) Never take a “percentage” of sales, get a flat fee. It’s too difficult for you to prove how much the band makes to get your percentage. They’ll give you whatever they say they made, but at that point you’ll have to go off of their honesty. And with as much money as bands make these days, it would be very easy for them to say “Ah crap…and we gotta pay this guy still. Well, he/she doesn’t know how much we made, right?”. I’m not saying all bands are like this, I’m just saying it is POSSIBLE. And this business is all about protecting yourself. Why set yourself up for disaster?

4) And finally…no matter what…never, ever, ever, ever, EVER send the band the full, high resolution artwork until you have been paid in full. Once they have a full resolution image from you, they officially have everything they need from you. So if you give that to them right away, all incentive to pay you quickly just went out the door. If they still need something from you, they will make great efforts to pay you within a reasonable amount of time. If you give them what they need because of some excuse  like “Awww man…we really needed that art for the merch for the show next weekend, but we SWEAR you’ll get paid the day after the show”, it’s a lie. They will procrastinate and you will feel like you are hounding them and that is a sucky feeling. Then the emails go further and further apart and then you stop hearing from them entirely. It happens, don’t think it won’t happen to you.

Take those measures so that you can remain a happy artist. I am a VERY happy artist because I protect myself from being taken advantage of. Unfortunately, some artists do not take care of themselves and get treated like a dog and become bitter quickly. You don’t want that or you will not be in the industry long.

Working with bands is severely rewarding and the pros definitely outweigh the cons, but you must be smart.

What are you currently working on?
Currently, I am working on the new LP for Six Feet Under, due next year sometime. Other than that, I am taking a bit of a personal break in the sense that I am not actively seeking out bands. This is so that I can work on some personal projects (like a book). But I still get emails from bands and I am open if the project is a good fit. The best thing about having a day job that is still art related is that it really does offer me the option to do whatever I want and not have to starve too much. At any point I can add or take away freelance depending on what it is I want to do.

Do you have any dream projects?
I’d love to do an Iron Maiden album cover, but they are pretty difficult to get a hold of. I also think Gwar would be super fun to work for since they are so over the top. Other than that, it’s a bunch of things that I’d love to do but wouldn’t really be likely because the band already has a go-to artist that they utilize (i.e. Cannibal Corpse/Vincent Locke etc). And that is okay, because that’s all any artist can hope for anyway…to be asked for repeat business. So I’d hate to break any artist’s awesome album cover streak.

What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
My favorite bands of all time are really nostalgia-based. Basically the first bands that I got into when I first started listening to death and black metal. So old (i.e. anything from the 90′s) Cannibal Corpse, Rotting Christ and Samael. I also have always been a big fan of Immortal and all of their respective side projects. Then, I feel like it’s really unoriginal, but the greats like Dio, Maiden and Priest are all essential weekly listening for me. Right now, I’ve really been into the NWOBHM band, Hell. Their album that came out this year is easily album of the year for me, at least.

What artists would you like to see on MBA?
Ed Repka, Michael Whelan, Wes Benscoter.


Please see original article on here on METAL BAND ART.


Interview for Dose of Metal.

I recently got to do an EMail Interview with Dusty Peterson, the artist who got to work with such awesome bands as Bloodbath (The 'Unblessing The Purity' art pictured above), Six Feet Under and Cattle Decapitation.

Dusty Peterson took his time to do an EMail interview with me. I have been talking to Dusty via Twitter for a couple of months now, so it was just natural for me to ask him for my first interview for the site. Let's dive right into it.
For your info 'DoM' stands for 'Dose of Metal' and 'DP' for 'Dusty Peterson' (not Double Penetration).

Dose of Metal: First off, tell us a bit about yourself.

Dusty Peterson: I'm a 31 year old artist from Seattle, WA. I've been a professional artist for about 11 years now, but only just recently started to pursue my heavy metal dream of doing album covers.

DoM: You've worked with such great bands as Bloodbath, Six Feet Under and Cattle Decapitation so far. Are you personally into Death Metal aswell? If so, which are your favorite bands of said genre?

DP: I am very much into death metal. I like bands from pretty much every sub-genre of metal, but my favorite death metal bands are Deicide, Cannibal Corpse (old and new), and Krisiun. I listen to a lot of metal, so it's very hard to pick, but I always gravitate to those 3. Other than death metal, though, my favorite band is Judas Priest.

DoM: If I remember correctly, you got the deal to work for Bloodbath through a competition. Can you tell us a little more about it?

DP: Sure, back in 2007 they had a competition announcement on their website that they were going to make an EP after a very long hiatus. So to generate some interest they wanted to give fans a chance at designing the cover. At that point in my life I was sort of stagnant, artistically. I was working at a job that was grinding me to the bone with work and I never felt motivated to do any artwork for myself. So, I figured this would be a good way to motivate me to finish a painting. Even if I didn't win, I would still be happy with myself that I finished something. And as it turned out, I did win and it has completely reinvigorated my interest in painting (and also got my foot in the door with the album covers, obviously).

DoM: How did you get the deal to work on Six Feet Under's 'Graveyard Classics III'?

DP: Blind email. It was right after I had finished up Bloodbath's "The Fathomless Mastery", and I decided that if I wanted to keep this going then I need to just start putting myself out there. So I just started going to my favorite bands' websites and sending emails if they had a direct contact. I sent off about 50-60 emails, got 3 replies, and 1 actual job...and that was Six Feet Under. At first, the piece that I did for them was just supposed to be a T-shirt, but they liked it so much they decided to use it for the cover.

DoM: You recently completed work on a shirt for Cattle Decapitation and album artwork for Oceano, what are you working on currently?

DP: A lot of stuff for Six Feet Under. I just finished a design that I believe is going to be used for a DVD and then I'm also working on their next album cover and some more T-shirts. So they are definitely keeping me busy for now. Due to the fact that I have a day job, I really don't have the ability to juggle a lot of different bands at once. I receive a lot of inquiries but unfortunately I have a little bit of a queue due to that. I just kind of take one thing at a time and when I finish something up, something else usually comes along. So other than that, I don't really have much to share that is totally set in stone. There's possibilities, but too early to say.

DoM: For how long have you been doing art?

DP: Professionally, 11 years. In general, since I was 5.

DoM: How often do you shower?

DP: When I had long hair, I was a lot lazier about it that's for sure! Since I decided to shave it all off, though, I take one nightly.

DoM: Showering is overrated. Agree?

DP: If I could have a super power, it would be to be magically clean. That way I wouldn't have to waste time out of my day for this kind of crap. Same thing for sleeping and eating. They always get in the way of things, too.

DoM: Is doing art your primary job or do you also do "normal" work?

DP: I do have a day job...but it's also art-related. I am an environment artist at a small game developer in Kirkland that makes family friendly Wii games. It's kind of a polar opposite to what I do when I get home, of course, but it's all art...just different wrapping paper.

DoM: What would you do if you found yourself inside one of your gory artworks?

DP: Well, I'd be the master of that domain wouldn't I? So I'd probably just paint a never-ending bottle of Corona next to me and chill out on my self-made throne.

DoM: Who would you really like to work with (Cannibal Corpse aren't an option cause Vince Locke owns)?

DP: Rotting Christ. Rotting Christ was the first black metal band that I got into and I'd love to work with them. Also, I think Gwar would be ridiculously fun because they are so over-the-top. And finally, Immortal. I think I could make a very grim and frostbitten cover.

DoM: Are you a fan of Married... with Children? If so, would you join Al Bundy's group 'NO MA'AM'?

DP: Not really. I didn't hate it when it was out, but it never really enters my thoughts. Sorry!

DoM: Of all album artworks you've seen, which one would you like to claim to be your own work?

DP: Anything by Par Olofsson. That guy is awesome and very prolific. Also, I'd claim anything by Travis Smith. He's got such an impeccable composition sense that I'd love to pretend that I have.

DoM: Have you worked with Chris Barnes personally?

DP: Yeah, I talk to him all the time! So far we have a really good artistic relationship.

DoM: He looks like a bearded, death metal version of Gisele Bündchen. Does he ever eat?

DP: I picture him eating Cuban food all day long.

DoM: If you were gay, which metal musician would you hit on?

DP: Eddie.

DoM: Do you think he'd react positively?

DP: He's kinda rotten, I bet he'd be flattered to be hit on.

DoM: What do you think of our site?

DP: Badassery!

DoM: Will you keep checking us out, or use us once for this and then dump us like a $10 hooker?

DP: I don't dump $10.00 hookers. I recycle them and use them as pots for plants and clothes. So yeah...that.

DoM: You're our first interviewee, do you feel honored? You should!

DP: I'm definitely honored! It's still a new and weird thing to me.

DoM: Any last things you want to tell the people who read this interview?

DP: I can't think of anything that doesn't make me sound like a complete asshole.

DoM: Thank you for your time and keep on killing people (on paper)!

DP: Thanks, man!


Original article located here


Interview for

I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Dusty Peterson over the past few months after he agreed to do the artwork for my band’s latest album (Behold! The Monolith). He is one of the nicest people you could ever interact with and is supremely talented and one of the fasted up and coming artists in his fields of album cover art and video game art design. His artwork has graced the cover of two Bloodbath records, the aforementioned B!TM record and many video games. He agreed to be interviewed a few weeks ago and this is what followed:

Kevin McDade: When did you get heavily into drawing?

Dusty Peterson: When I was about 15. I’ve drawn my whole life, but I think that was the year that I really started to push myself beyond just being a hobby. Other than a little part time job at a Pizza Hut, I basically spent every hour of the day drawing.

KM: What were/are your influences?

DP: Michael Whelan is probably the artist I was most influenced by. When I was around 13 or so, I loved to go to the book store and sit in the art book section and just flip through art books. One that caught my eye was his book, “The Art of Michael Whelan”, and it totally changed my life. From that point on, art books were constantly on my Christmas and birthday lists. My dad bought me that book and many others, he was very supportive of me…those books are really expensive! Other artists around that time frame that helped forge my style are Wayne Douglas Barlowe and of course H.R. Giger. Then of course there are a ton of other metal album artists that I get inspired by daily.

KM: Did you go to any schools or academies for art?

DP: As far as illustration goes, I am self-taught. I do have a degree in Industrial Design Technology that I received from the Art Institute of Seattle, however. A little different than illustration, but at the time I had a fascination with Stan Winston and other similar creature shops and was still looking for a way to realize my dream of drawing monsters all day. Industrial Design Technology seemed like a decent degree to get me well-rounded and knowledgeable in the ways of model-making and prop building. Unfortunately, I found that industry to be quite difficult to break into after graduating and so I had to adapt to find work, which ended up being video game art. But really that degree had nothing to do with drawing at all. I think I might have had a perspective class in the first quarter that was mandatory for everyone, but that was it. Everything related to illustration has been on my own research and willpower to learn more.

KM: I know you do a lot of artwork with computers, what other mediums do you use/what is your favorite?

DP: I do primarily do my work in photoshop and other programs, but it’s all based around knowledge of fundamental painting techniques and I usually paint on 1 layer. I haven’t painted in traditional media in years, but when I was, I preferred acrylic and sometimes watercolor. These days unless it’s digital or pencil I don’t even mess with it. I miss it a little, but I just don’t have the space to set up an easel and stuff like that.

KM: I understand you do video game artwork for a living, what company do you work for, what games have you done, and what are you working on now?

DP: I’ve been in the video game industry for almost 10 years, so I’ve been at a few developers. The most noteworthy titles I have worked on are Spiderman: The Movie Game when I worked at Treyarch and F.E.A.R. and F.E.A.R. 2 when I worked at Monolith. Right now, I am working at a small developer called Cat Daddy Games and it’s great because we make casual Wii titles. Still very much a serious job, but the crunch and workload is far less demanding than at more “high profile” developers, so I am able to pursue my album cover side-career much more easily. When I was working at past developers, I could never have had the momentum I am having right now due to the 4-6 month long crunchs that would completely take over my life 2 times a year.

KM: You’ve done album covers for Bloodbath and my band, have you done any others and are you working on any album covers at the moment?

DP: Definitely, 2009 has been a great year for me. I just finished working on Six Feet Under’s cover for their next Graveyard Classics album and currently I am working on Whitechapel’s next. I also have another one coming up that I am really excited about, but the ink isn’t dry on it yet. I’m just so honored to be asked to do these things. From a band’s standpoint they are just looking for a cool cover for their new album, but from my standpoint I’m just constantly excited to be an artist and to have the opportunity to be able to work with such talented musicians to help realize their visions. It really is a dream come true.

KM: What are you working on (as a freelance artist) at the moment?

DP: The album cover thing is pretty much all I am doing right now beyond my day job. Both are completely different, but important parts of my life at the moment. When I am not doing either one of those, I just try to spend time with my wife, relax, and catch up on video games as I am quite a hardcore gamer (It’s “research”!).


Original article located HERE.



Interview for Miasma magazine

I was recently asked some questions by Finnish magazine, Miasma, about my artwork for Bloodbath. As you can see, it was a pretty sizable sidebar in the Bloodbath article itself! Since it is in Finnish...I will put the original questions that were asked of me here.

I'm not sure if anything was edited out, btw, so there may be an additional question or two here:
So you won the Bloodbath contest. Tell me [a bit about the] choosing process and how you got the idea to submit your work?

I am a huge Bloodbath fan (and also a fan of the primary bands of the individual members) so when I saw the news post on their website, I knew that I could come up with something that was competitive. Illustrating metal album covers is an industry that I have always wanted to get into and I figured even if I was not chosen, it would be a good portfolio piece. 

Did they say exactly what you are going to create for them or did you have some freedom of creation?

Yes, the concept was entirely the bands. The original concept was simply to have a priest with a dog's head baptizing a baby in blood. After submitting a few rough ideas, they decided that they wanted disciples in the background as well. After receiving that initial concept, though, the realization of it was all on me.

Are you more satisfied with Unblessing... or with Fathomless cover? Do they came up the way you like?

I think the Unblessing cover is more striking initially, but I think the Fathomless cover has more subtleties that make it more interesting. Also, the Fathomless cover was a significantly more complex painting, so it's my favorite for that reason. 

The dogpriest, this character is now in both your Bloodbath creations. Is this creature going to be some kind of Bloodbath's own Eddie or Vic Rattlehead, ha?

I don't know of any longterm plans, but he is the theme of both covers (check the shadow on the right of the full Fathomless painting if you missed it), so I suppose it is up to Bloodbath if they want to feature him in some way on future albums. I think there is potential.

Do you think that there's going to be a lot of request from now on when you "famous" from Bloodbath? :)

I certainly hope so! It's definitely a desire of mine to do more album covers for other bands besides Bloodbath. I also hope to keep a relationship with them for future projects, so we will see!

Ok, let's talk a bit about inspiration, do you have to force the suitable art out of you, let's say in Bloodbath context, or do you actually just act as a tool of some dark forces, huh?

I am a huge horror movie fan, so I generally refer to my mounds of dvds if I ever have "artist's block" as they say. But for the most part I do very little sketching or thumbnailing. When I have an idea for something, I just start painting and the end result is usually very close to the way I initially thought of it.

I cant pinpoint any obvious source of inpiration among metal cover artists, but do you have some special favouriteS?

Michael Whelan (Sepultura, Meat Loaf) is actually my biggest influence of all time. My father bought me his art book when I was 13 years old and it completely changed my life. Obviously people such as Derek Riggs, Vincent Locke, and Edward J. Repka are also people I look up to now as well.

Do you actually listen much to death metal?

Absolutely, metal is my life! I listen to all kinds of metal, though....a lot of death metal a little black metal and some classic metal as well.

Anders told me that you work mainly in game business, not in the music bizz. So tell me about your projects in that field. Which is more fun, to do metal covers or game covers?

I have been in the video game industry for almost 9 years. It's "the day job", but it's a great day job. I've worked on FEAR and FEAR 2 for Monolith Productions and I worked on the first Spider-man movie game for Treyarch several years ago. I definitely prefer doing metal covers as it's related more to my interests. Ever since I was 7 years old I've been drawing dark and evil stuff. To be able to paint metal album covers is truly a dream come true.

You have also Transformers art in your page. Lovely! I was myself a huge Transformers fan in the good old days but haven't checked what's up in, let's say, 20 years. Do you still adore these robots? was the movie

I am a huge geek with Transformers. I actually keep up on it more than the average person I'd say. I have more than a handful (or a room full) of toys from various generations all over my house. My wife is awesome, too, she completely supports my Transformers adoration and buying habits so I feel very lucky with that. As for the movie, I actually really liked it. At first I wasn't so sure about the design approach of the Transformers themselves, but that all changed after watching the movie. 

Now it's time to advertise your work. If some reader is interested in to obtain your piece of art to her/his upcoming musical release, what should he/she do?

My website is which is where I make all my major announcements about future projects, and it obviously has my gallery. 

There ya have it! Enjoy!