The Rocks Off 200

The Rocks Off 100: Shane Tuttle, Updog Owner and Album-Cover Designer

Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Who? Shane Tuttle discovered a talent for graphic design while working on his high-school newspaper and yearbook, and was sent, almost against his will, to the Al Collins School of Graphic Design. Now he runs his own T-shirt print shop, Updog, out of his home. He's specialized in direct-to-garment technology that allows artists to get small numbers of shirts printed without all that screen-printing hassle. From their, he'll either send you the shirts of sell them for you on his site.

But his other talent has been designing album covers. He's done covers for Dog Fashion Disco, Polkadot Cadaver, El Creepo, Salting Jobe, and Vampire Moose. His simple, eye-catching style tends towards street art mixed with early-'00s Cartoon Network. If you want someone to craft you a swift elbow to the eye-sockets, Tuttle is your man.

Home Base: Tuttle works from home in Webster, but ventures out to see bands at nearby Scout Bar and Union Tavern when the urge arises.

Good War Story: "Every process is generally a tough one, especially dealing with a band because sometimes they don't all agree, or if I am lucky, it's just one guy who determines it all," he says. "Most of the time, I get to work with some amazing illustrators who give me pieces of art to work with."

I use this art to carry out a theme from the cover, to the insert, the disc and back. I try to use colors that complement each other and generally go with a feel that fits the title of the album. For example, I wouldn't use pinks and blues in an album titled Wolves and Lumberjacks. Unless the band wants that, which could be a possibility.

Sometimes I may dabble with illustration to get a basic concept of an album layout, but I then pass that on to someone better with a pencil. In some cases, I have had the pleasure of digitally creating a logo for a band to compliment the art that goes on the cover of the album.

One of my favorite artists to work with is an old high-school friend, Dallas Clifton. He has been able to take the ideas I have in my mind and be able to put them on paper for me. The best example would be our collaboration on the Dog Fashion Disco CD, Beating a Dead Horse to Death, Again.

Music Scene Pet Peeve: Like the musicians he works for, Tuttle's main gripe is not getting paid for his work. Aside from that, he dislikes band's with no idea for what they'd like as an album cover. A little direction can be the difference between something you love and something you hate.

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Come See My Dead Person, Come See My Dead Person
  • Dog Fashion Disco, Adultery
  • GWAR, Scumdogs of the Universe
  • Insane Clown Posse, Bang Pow Boom
  • Ghost, Infestissumam

See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner