At 1:23am on April 26 1986, reactor number four at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine suffered a catastrophic explosion and resulting fires. a radioactive plume was carried across large parts of western Soviet Union and Europe. The most severely contaminated areas were Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

The nearby city of Pripyat was quietly evacuated on April 27, with the authorities not informing residents of the scale of the disaster, nor the likely health risks from radiation exposure and contamination. Pripyat is now an abandoned city within the 30km exclusion zone around the reactor site, known as ‘The Zone of Alienation’. Many personal belongings still remain scattered around the streets, parks and buildings, as residents were told it would only be a temporary move.

The true cost of the disaster is hard to quantify. 47 people died – mostly plant workers and the firemen who came to their aid, and over 350,000 people have been relocated. A possible 1 million people are likely to have been exposed to radiation and it is estimated by the World Health Organization that 4,000 deaths may ultimately be attributed to the disaster.

Below is my insert booklet for the 3-track CD release of Children of Chornobyl, by Gone Troppo. This is a three panel fold out, with an additional inlay for the back of the jewel case. My intention with the artwork was to illustrate the decay, destruction and confusion at the plant, and also the hopelessness and despair of the people who were affected and quickly excluded from their homes. A timeline of key events runs across the outer panels, ending in clear space on the front cover with the final and fatal explosion time highlighted in red. The design features various texture overlays, distressed type, hand drawn scribbles and scattered graphical elements.

The colours were chosen to reflect the nature of the events, and the use of yellow as the main background tone technically allowed the use of overprinted text throughout the full booklet. This then allowed for an expanded story to be told of this terrible event.
Also shown below are recent design alternatives created for the Bandcamp pdf version of the artwork. This bonus free booklet download was set as a single page design (using a two panel structure for possible home printing) and features most of the original assets from the printed booklet, plus a few extra visual elements originally created for other promotional uses.
Pages from the Bandcamp version:
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