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Behind the December 2020 Cover of Rolling Stone Australia

Watch how the cover of Rolling Stone Australia’s December issue came to life, featuring interviews with the artist Debb Oliver and Rolling Stone’s Katie Taylor. This video is powered by Shure Microphones.

Rolling Stone will count down 50 of the greatest Australian artists for its upcoming issue.

In a new video powered by Shure, digital artist and illustrator Debb Oliver explains how she created the December 2020 cover of Rolling Stone Australia, which celebrates the 50 Greatest Australian Artists of All Time.

The painter, illustrator, digital artist and mother describes how she pieced together nine iconic Australian artists in the one artwork.

rolling stone australia dec 2020

Rolling Stone Australia‘s magazine team reached out to Debb Oliver via Instagram to commission the cover. Despite having client bookings for the rest of 2020, Oliver took on the ambitious undertaking and used her skills gained from similar projects, which she calls ‘moments that never happened’.

“She brings people in photos together that can’t actually be together, either because of death or sickness or distance,” said Rolling Stone Australia Creative Director and Designer Katie Taylor.

“Debb was so very fitting for this cover. I wanted the cover to be a digital illustration to suit the times, but it needed to still have that hand drawn, painstakingly detailed look. If you look close you can see wrinkles and pores and tiny hairs out of place,” Taylor added. “It wasn’t really a simple process for Debb though. The lighting had been adjusted so they all look like they’re together at the same photoshoot.”

Rolling Stone Australia envisioned a powerful cover that would celebrate Australia’s vast and differing musical tapestry. The cover art features Sia, Archie Roach, Michael Hutchence of INXS, Kevin Parker of Tame Impala, Chrissy Amphlett of Divinyls, Kylie Minogue, Peter Garrett of Midnight Oil, Paul Kelly and Angus Young of AC/DC.

“Each portrait took me about four-and-a-half hours,” said Debb Oliver, who noted that the most challenging artwork to create was the portrait of Archie Roach.

“He has such a deep expression, he has those kind eyes and it was more detailed,” Oliver said. “He’s not wearing any makeup, he’s not airbrushed… he looks very real.”

“What I loved about working with Debb wasn’t just her style and talent but the heart behind her work,” said Katie Taylor. “What art does is it creates an emotion and her work creates a lot of joy, so for us, this magazine above all else needed to be joyful.”

“The result is really powerful,” added Taylor. “We kept it simple. Just a headline with the most iconic portraits of some of the most influential music greats of all time. There’s so much history here, so it was important to make it feel timeless and full of heart.”


This video was powered by Shure, with all interviews recorded on the MV88+ Video Kit. The MV88+ is a mobile professional recording rig, which includes Manfrotto PIXI Tripod, phone clamp & shoe-mount mic clip, USB-C & lightning cables, making it ready for audio and/or video capture right out of the box.