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Max Goldin True North

True North | An Illustrated Book By Maximillian Goldin

True North


On the 18th of December Cape Town-based graphic designer Maximillian Goldin launched True North, an illustrated story book that grew together slowly in the after hours and on weekends over the last six years. The culmination of which Max describes as, “something of a dream come true.”


The book found its beginnings in Paris in 2008, but has been something that Max has always wanted to do. All the while working full-time as a graphic designer, he created endless black and white graphite drawings for the book – much of which had to be excruciatingly edited out of the 48 page final edition.


The emotive tale is one of journey and discovery. We asked Max to let us know more.


Where did the process of creating a book start for you?


I felt naturally pulled towards it. I have always loved the art of picture books, and really wanted to create one of my own – the beginning of many more. I started the book back in 2008 in Paris with my gran in her artist studio, an inspiring setting!


Please tell us about the story:


For me, it is a story about journey and discovery, and finding one’s self. The story begins with Pik & Huf in their lost and desolate world. They had given up. One day hope arrives in the form of a large wooden swan ship. With nothing to lose they get on board and sail off. She guides them through the storm and brings them to a new world, like nothing they’ve ever seen before. They explore this vast new wilderness eventually meeting Swann, an enchanting lady creature. She takes them further on a journey to the top of a mountain, where she leaves them. They see something in the distance and wonder towards it…


How did the concept develop and change along the way?


It was going to be more of a children’s book and then evolved into a personal love project created more for myself than for any specific target audience. The story took many twists and turns. It could have, and did go, in a variety of directions. It sort of found its own way to where it is now. With a lot of tough love along the way!


How would you describe the illustration style?


The story is illustrated with graphite pencils. I wanted to keep it all black and white as I felt it was more emotive that way, and adds to the dreamy feel of the story. I put many hours into each illustration so they are all pretty detailed, I wanted to create a convincing fantasy land.


How was your approach or style with this project different to your work as a graphic designer?


It was completely different. I really love working by hand away from the computer. With drawing I can be much more expressive, smudging with my fingers etc. It’s much more tactile for me than working on the machine. I’ve been my own boss with this project, so I could approach it at my own pace, and be my own critic.


What have been some of things you’ve learned during the process?


I’ve learnt that if you believe in something enough you can make it happen. Rather than forcing the story, to be patient with it and let it take its own course and just shepherd it along the way. Also, the book goes really well with some classical music!





Along with the 250 thread-sewn, hard cover copies published, Max also released a limited run of A3 and A4 prints of artworks from the story. Both are hot off the press for local audiences, and should be heading overseas soon. There are 4 different colour covers (Grey/Black, Red/Gold, Khaki/Gold, Blue/Red) with embossed, foiled titles.


Find True North available in stores shortly. In the meantime if you are interested in purchasing books or prints contact


Here’s a preview of some of the prints available:



Max Goldin True North Max Goldin True North Max Goldin True North MaxG_Print_TrueNorth_Swann_A4_2Max Goldin True North Max Goldin True North Max Goldin True North Max Goldin True North

MaxG_Print_TrueNorth_Boat_A4_2 MaxG_Print_TrueNorth_Crystal_A4_2


Between 10 and 5