Tristan and the Magic Tin – Highest Heights

STORY Summary:  Tristan is an orphan boy who lives and works for an old magician.  You would think that being a magician’s assistant would be great but the truth is that the magician isn’t very good.  In fact, much to Tristan’s chagrin, their act is chock full of accidents and disasters.

One day, while rummaging through the old magician’s chest, Tristan finds a rusty, rather odd-looking tin.  When he examines it, he is suddenly pulled into a vortex that transports him to a magical world where he meets two kids who show him what real magic is.  Impressed by their magic skill, Tristan boasts about how he too is a great magician.  Unfortunately for Tristan, wicked ears hear his false boasts.  What follows is a frightening adventure, which leaves Tristan desperately wanting to return home.

 Illustration Summary:  The Magic World

This illustration shows the moment Tristan arrives in magical world.  Designed by Vivian Bouet, the goal was to use bright colors to differentiate between the real world and the magic world.  Secondly, the story script describes the magic children doing ordinary chores – laundry, yet in an extraordinary way. This illustration was the first to be completed in the book and set the tone for the rest of the project.

Illustration Evolution

We had three team members working on the original concept art and ended up with a total of 5 designs to choose from.  Ultimately, it came down to expressing emotively what the highest heights is to Skeever.  It not only represents his ‘evilness’, through the dark moods, clouds, etc, but we also wanted to show him as being a failure as a wizard with broken bridges and a decrepit house. Finally, subtle hints of sunbursts contrast with darkness – as if the sun is being deliberately shut out.

Original Black & White Concept:  we thought to demonstrate his ominous presence through tall, thin buildings to show both height and depravity.  This thought evolved because we really wanted to explore and push his personality forward.

5th Black & White Concept: one of our concept artists, Alex Hochstetler, with detailed input from Vivian Bouet in terms of description and mood, found a way to hit the nail on the head in terms of design with his second to last submission.  Oddly enough, this particular design almost fell through the cracks when it was believed the design had already been reviewed!  Ultimately, this has turned out to be one of our favorite pages in the book and was developed by our creative team from Argentina.

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