Four years ago, before Mihailo Andic designed album covers for the likes of Lil Yachty, Lil Baby, and Quavo, he was a 22-year-old college graduate who just landed his first job as a junior art director in an advertising agency in Toronto. However, running social media accounts for beer companies wasn’t really the Oakville, Ontario native’s dream gig. Ever since Andic picked up physical copies of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and The Weeknd’s first mixtapes as a teenager, he knew that album art was his true calling. So even with a full time job during the day, Andic was still determined to get his foot in the door. He started making album covers in 2015 for local Toronto artists like Derek Wise, Safe, and The Prime Boys. But Andic was always determined to create album art for bigger acts, even if it meant working around the clock.

“Right after work, every day after 7:00 PM, I'd come home and start working on my own stuff for music. Making logos, cover art, branding, and other random things for artists every day until 3:00 AM,” says Andic, who sent cold email pitches to artists like Lil Yachty filled with PDFs of branding and album art ideas. “To be honest, I was working on my own stuff during my day job, too. I had to find a happy medium because I knew that eventually it would all pay off.” 

Since cold pitching Lil Yachty with an idea for the cover of Lil Boat in 2016, Andic has gone on to become the Atlanta rapper’s go-to art director and he’s helped design some of the most iconic hip-hop and R&B records of the past five years. When Andic details the work that went into album covers for projects like Nuthin' 2 Prove or Quavo Huncho, it becomes clear that Andic is a workhorse and a jack of all trades. Whether it’s making an oil-painting of Lil Baby on Photoshop or photographing Lil Yachty around sunset in the waters of Marina del Rey, California, Andic works day and night to make a damn good record cover for his clients. We asked Andic, who is based in Toronto, to break down his design process and the stories behind his best album covers over the years. And be sure to check out our list of the best 30 image makers right now.