Zeilen (Sailing) is a magazine about... you guessed it, sailing. And I've done illustrations for them before and they always let me basically do what I liked. Which is great!
This time however they let me come up with just about anything, and that actually proved a bit of a challenge.
Every year the magazine has a writing competition. They give readers a few words or a picture to inspire them to write a story about, with the central theme still being sailing of course.
This time I was asked to come up with an illustration to inspire the masses.
The editor gave me a few things to consider (calm seas, the guy with binoculars), but it needed something to add mystery. So I liked the idea of a bottle floating in the water, mainly for the above-water/under-water visual. But just the bottle wasn't enough... it needed something inside.
So here I considered a few things (among which a finger – too much) I decided on a key. It can open doors, lock someone in, it can represent power, wealth, danger, safety.. in short; plenty.
If the composition seems a bit lopsided it's because it's a full page spread, so it has some open areas to accommodate for text.
For the inks I wanted to try something different. I knew I was going to use Photoshop to color and I thought it'd be nice to have a bit of texture to my inks. Usually the my inks are usually tight black and white. This time it added black watercolors to the brushed inks with the intention of it adding a bit of depth.
Anyway here the are...
(oh and the editor didn't like the boat being on fire... so I left the smoke out)
And then the colored finals version:
Hope you like it.