The Minimalist Golden Key: The night before Final critique day

So…I need to start from scratch and make something cool. The feeling is less unstable from when the senior critiqued my work, because him and his friend gave me a few cues after that time.

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 12.01.47 PM < One of them suggested that this one could be taken further, I could play with the space inside the keyhole, making an image inside it and perhaps instead of black I could try a lighter background shade.Dezso-GRIMM-20-GoldenKey-thumb-500x691-7686

^ This illustration of The Golden Key by illustrator Andrea Dezso made me realise that I was dismissing a very important key point in the story: the boy. This could be because I see the story from the boy’s eyes as a reader and don’t notice him, but in reality, the boy and his circumstances are the only reason the story took place.Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 3.28.12 PM

I started by sketching something, anything:


^ I noticed how the profile view of the boy was most likely due to me being influenced by the illustration done by Andrea. I decided to move on to the computer, a. to detach from her idea and b. to hurry because I was running out of time.

I started off by making the head of the freaky dude on the left. I moved on from a keyhole to a key because I felt the form of the key would fit the boy better. Once, I’d made the nose and eyes of the boy I was kind of stuck. What did happen, however, was that I noticed how this style was very similar to a style of illustration in a children’s book that I’d read ages ago.

ImagingTheGoldenKeyfinalcrit1It took me a while but Google helped me find the illustrator: Nathan Reed

Screen Shot 2015-09-20 at 4.13.03 PMBWillustrationLAW BWpic2

Remembering what one of the seniors and professors had mentioned, I decided to stick to this illustration style, instead of going for the style of Andrea or the Japanese woodcut style of Aubrey Beardsley.

I made the exaggeratedly stretched out arms and creepy hands of the boy, fiddling around with the way the arms met the shoulders. It was hard because of the perspective; at times the arms would look like headphones, at other points they looked like legs…


Another eventful thing that happened at this point was that my Illustrator continued crashing. I had to move something by a single increment and it would close down “unexpectedly”. Of course, Illustrator needed to close down “unexpectedly” the night before my deadline. Of course.

Solution turned out to simply be a matter of closing down a lot of the things I had open and restarting Illustrator. In particular, Photoshop, Word and Illustrator shouldn’t be open at the same time.


⌄ I continued to fiddle around with the shape of the arms and the scale and position of the chest. I thought this (below) form of the chest blending into the key’s teeth would be interesting/abstract. People just found it confusing:

“How about this one?”



“Just, no.” (they later clarified how it was too confusing)

ImagingTheGoldenKeyfinalcrit3ImagingTheGoldenKeyfinalcrit4 ^ I thought that switching the colours of the positive and negative space would do something interesting. It did. It made the boy look even more freakish than he already did. Not what I had in mind so I moved on.


^ A friend suggested that I try a differently shaped key. I didn’t think it would work at all and didn’t have the time to experiment that far down into something that I felt was a hopeless path.


^ I made a final decision to consult with a professor from another class. He suggested that I think about the index of the key instead of having a literal key. What he said made sense, since having a key and then the title having the word ‘key’ just made the poster seem hollow and redundant. The index of a key being a keyhole/lock/padlock.

I ended up having to fiddle with the arm some more to get it to fit with the form of the keyhole.ImagingTheGoldenKeyfinalcrit7 So I ended up turning full circle from my weird paper sketches that were resembling Andrea’s composition of the boy, to something that didn’t resemble her illustration at all. This was the boy in a keyhole alright (like my sketches)…but wow was he freaky. I’d taken a step back in the story, so instead of reaching for the chest he was reaching for the key. What was way more interesting now, however, was that he was reaching for a key, while being inside (a part of?) the keyhole himself.

Deep? Metaphorical? I couldn’t be positive about the answer to that, but ‘Cool’? Yees.ImagingTheGoldenKeyfinalcrit8



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