Castles Made Of Sand

Client: Secret 7

Tags: Illustration, Print

Secret 7 is an international design competition that offers the particpant a choice of seven tracks in which to create a 7" sleeve design. In 2018 I chose to enter five different designs for 'Castles Made of Sand' by Jimmy Hendrix. I had wanted to enter seven but I ran out of ideas.

All the designs were based on the chorus lyric -
"And so castles made of sand, fall in the sea, eventually"


My winning entry was a minimalistic design (but a time sapping arts & craft effort). I created a basic sandcastle stencil which I then spray painted onto some fine sand paper. I created a second sleeve out of blue acetate (which I cut a sancastle shaped hole in) that represented the tide as it starts to submerge the sandcastle.


If you were a sandcastle and had to choose a way to go, you'd want to be annihilated by the most famous wave in the world; Hokusai's 'Great Wave of Kanagawa'.

The style is inspired from the rubber hosed cartooning from 1920s America. The Japanese words hopefully read 'Sandcastle' and 'Kanagawa'. Admittedly that will look a bit lame for a Japanese speaker, but for me Japanese characters look beautiful and add value and authenticity to the visual.

Young Jimmy

The song was a biographical story of Hendrix's childhood. The producers have stated that the sandcastles falling into the sea were a metaphor for the temporary nature of the loves, loyalties, bonds and friendships Hendrix experienced whilst growing up, in particular his uncertain familial relationships.

The toddler Hendrix in this image is upset at the relativily trivial disappointment of his sandcastle being ruined by the sea, but it represented how those more profound childhood tragedies moulded him into the artist he became.


The negative space gives the impression of a sandcastle poking it's turrets out of the waves.

Hour glass

This variation on your typical hour glass is able to depict the main message of the song in a nice and tidy way.

Previous entries

In 2016 I entered for 3 songs; 'Dead Flowers' by The Rolling Stones, 'Born Slippy' by Underworld, and a couple for 'Dream 3' by Max Richter.