In an interview with French Website, graphic artist and founder of Pen & Pixel Graphics Shawn Brauch discusses the creation of Pen & Pixel, creating album art for labels such as Cash Money [click to read] and No Limit Records, and more.

Starting off at Rap-A-Lot Records, Brauch and his brother eventually left the label when they discovered that their particular way of adding special effects to album covers was in high demand.

“We had started using computer special effects on some of the album covers of that time,”
Brauch explained in the interview. Willie D‘s [click to read] ‘I’m Going Out Like A Soldier’ was actually the first CD cover to use a high amount of photorealistic special effects. When that album came out, people started saying that they wanted that for their covers. So they would come to Rap-A-Lot, thinking that they would just get the artwork and nothing else, but Rap-A-Lot obviously said that was impossible. The demands for the work went up to the point where my brother and I said ‘Listen, that sounds like a good business venture, so let’s start and do our own thing’.”

Working out of their apartment Brauch and his brother managed to design thousands of album covers. Creating album covers for labels such as Cash Money, No Limit, Big Boy Records, and Suave House.

Pen & Pixel
was actually one of the first graphic companies to visualize the “Bling-Bling” phenomenon.

“The bling-bling actually happened over the phone,” said Brauch. “It happened between B.G. and myself…He was getting frustrated, trying to explain how we wanted the stuff to shine. He was like ‘this little things’. I used to call it star blast, and I was like ‘this bling’. He was like ‘Yeah ! Bling-bling!’ He said it, I said it. He never thought it would take off anywhere. And he’s like ‘Yeah, do the bling-bling thing man, hook it up, nahmsayin’ ?’ I was like ‘Alright, alright, I got the handle!’ From there, every single time we put the diamonds and the starblast, it was considered “bling-bling” and that just became a huge term.”

A few years after Pen & Pixel shutdown, Brauch created three new companies Smart Face Media, Rapid Design Concept, and Creative Resource Management.

To read more of‘s interview with Shawn Brauch click here.