I chose the classic movie, Citizen Kane, for my icon project. I tried to think of an iconic piece of work that included some strong symbols that would translate well into icons. Citizen Kane seemed a good fit.
The snow-globe with the cabin is the object that Charles Foster Kane is holding as he dies alone in his palatial Xanadu estate—uttering the mysterious word, "Rosebud." The simple cabin hearkens back to his humble beginnings on a poor Colorado ranch. Poor–yet happy–young Charles is sent away by his mother to Chicago to be properly educated under the supervision of Mr. Thatcher.
The second icon is of the ornate gate of Xanadu featuring the "K" monogram. Kane spares no expense in constructing his Xanadu castle on a man-made mountain on the Florida coast. The gate is a symbol of his wealth and power, as well as his separation from the true happiness for which he longs.
The third icon features the scene of Kane's Xanadu estate in silhouette with the single lighted window where Kane spends his last hours. A man of incredible wealth and fame...yet completely alone.
The final icon (spoiler alert!) is of his childhood sled—Rosebud. This man who had everything money could buy, longed for the childhood he lost when his mother signed away the family ranch for the boundless fortune its mineral rights would bring. As the film concludes, the meaning of Kane's final word remains a mystery to investigators, while we the viewers are let in on the secret as Rosebud is incinerated as trash.
Each of the symbols brought its own challenge. I used actual images from the film for all the icons. It was difficult to get realistic perspective for the cabin. The one in the image I used seemed warped by the curvature of the globe. The snow on the roof was a challenge, thankfully, the pen tool came to the rescue. For the background snow on the ground, I aggregated white ellipses with the pathfinder tool. I originally used small dabs with the brush tool as falling snow, but when the icon was scaled, the "flakes" disappeared into the background. I used fewer, more iconic flakes instead.
I simplified the ornate scroll-work on the gate using the pen tool. Cropping to an offset rectangle shape was the biggest challenge here. After a number of stumbling attempts, the clipping mask proved to be the best solution.
For Xanadu castle, I traced the silhouette with the pen tool. The lighted window is considerably larger than the one in the image, but I wanted it to stand out. I used individual lines to make the panes. I had quite a time keeping them from vanishing while grouping and applying the pathfinder tool.
Rosebud proved to be the simplest to make. I traced one runner then copied, pasted, and enlarged the copy. I used the pen tool to trace the body of the sled. All-in-all, an excellent project that forced me to get better with a variety of Illustrator tools.