Using Hocus Pocus to Learn Illustrator

This assignment was hard!  I just have to get that out of the way. I have never used Adobe Illustrator before and this particular project tried my patience and tested my endurance. I was asked to create an icon set for my Visual Media course, and to pay homage to my favorite Halloween movie I decided to create icons based on Hocus Pocus.  I needed a bit of that magic to learn how to do this.

My target audience for this set of icons would be fans of the now Disney Classic, Hocus Pocus.  Recently, I have been reading articles that Disney is rumored to be remaking this wonderful film.  I hope that they don’t, because sometimes fans just love the original and remaking them is never going to live up to the one that is so ingrained and beloved. The majestic Madame Bette Midler, along with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy make a wonderful trio of witches and their nemesis is a young human boy that they have transformed into a black cat named Binx.  You just can’t remake perfection.  So my icons are dedicated to the original and perfect cast of this timeless masterpiece as well as all those fans that appreciate this movie for what it is.

Project Specifications

I had some very specific requirements that I had to fulfill for this project. I was asked to use Adobe Illustrator to create a completely original icon set that consisted of 4-6 icons. Each icon is required to “communicate a single message” while encompassing a design that is unified and consistent. I wasn’t to have any text, gradients, drop shadows, pixels, or raster effects. And the final requirements were that I include a 6×9 image that includes all my icons, as well as a 60×60 px and 400×400 px copy of each image.

Color Scheme

I chose my colors based on the color of cloaks that each character wears in the movie, and found complimentary colors using Adobe’s color wheel so that I could create a beautiful palette.


Winifred Sanderson

Winifred has an emerald green cloak and it is contrasted by her wild orange hair.  She is an outrageous character and the lead to this motley crew.  A few design elements that I chose to have throughout each icon was the straggly hair and the outlined box around each character.  I chose not to use any stroke around the characters and leave the faces blank but still maintain their face shapes.  Winifred has a very pronounced widows peak and her hairstyle mirrored that dip that in the movie pointed directly to her dramatic lipstick that when she puckered made a very small heart shape.  This was a very simple and very fun icon to do.

Mary Sanderson

Mary probably has the most details because of her hairline and the shape of her crazy updo.  She also has the velvety red cloak that set off her character.  Her devotion to Winifred is what makes Mary so comical, her equally frazzled hair and round face make her endearing.

Sara Sanderson

Sara is what you may refer to as a ding-bat.  She is silly and whimsical.  She lacks common sense, and follows her sisters’ lead.  Out of three comics, Sara is almost a comic relief.  Strangely enough Sarah doesn’t have the same hair trouble as the other two; she has a gorgeous long mane of golden locks. Her beauty is also far greater than the other two.  Her design also includes the color from her purple cloak and some frazzled hair to remain continuous in design.

Thackery Binx

Thackery is a young boy who attempted to save the life of his younger sister, but failed.  In his attempt, he was turned into a black cat with eternal life.  To maintain the thematic elements in my icons I gave him frazzled whiskers, and the same box around his icon.


It has occurred to me through completing this project that icons are so much more than a shape. I have seriously considered having a greater appreciation for the little images that we take for granted in our world of images that convey messages.  I have also decided that I will leave this type of work to the experts, because no amount of Hocus Pocus can make me want to do this type of work again.



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