The Secret Garden bookcover WIP

  • Hi all!

    Thought I'd give the contest this month a try. One of my favorite books as a little girl was The Secret Garden. I read a LOT when I was little. What I love about books is when I read, I see all the words going by in my mind as a movie. The secret garden took me to a place where I would really have loved to be as a small child. A private place filled with all my favorite things, nature.

    So I thought I'd put up a thread for the work in progress and am really looking forward to learn from all of your advice and bring this piece a step further than I have done before.

    I will work this one out tradtionally (since the drawing pad and I still aren't the best of friends.) I want to make this one in pencil drawing and colored pencils.

    My thought was to make the viewer be Mary. Mary is the main character of this book. She finds a secret locked door hidden by branches in a garden wall. She (the viewer) looks through the keyhole to see what lies on the other side of the locked door.

    Here are my thumbnails and brainstorm session;




  • Lol this is the same sort of idea I had for The Secret Garden too, the image silhouetted by the key hole shape 🙂 I love where you're taking yours with Mary being the viewer though and I like the pattern around the key hole shape, look forward to seeing where you take it!

  • @hannahmccaffery Thank you Hannah. So fun we have the same idea! Can't wait to see where you are taking yours. It will be so learnsome.

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    I like the key hole on the right/bottom? lol. More of that! 👍

  • So having taken a few days off from this piece because my mind was having so many ideas that nothing turned out good, I was sitting last night watching a movie and sketching as always and this image came out of it.

    I want a busy and intriguing looking garden which looks like it has been growing for years without nobody tending to it, just like in the book.
    Now I am looking for your advice and take on how you think this looks. Is it TOO crowded? Does the perspective of the bridge make sense?


  • @Sas I like your idea-and I like where your sketch is going. I think the keyhole and the garden within it are great. However, I think the scrollwork around the outline of the key shape make the keyhole-shape disappear a bit. I'd be curious what would happen if the scrollwork moved out a bit. Around the keyplate (at least in modern doors, the keyhole is contained within usually a metal plate), or even out more toward the borders of the page, as if the scrollwork is on the door itself? I look forward to seeing how this develops!

  • Really nice drawing @Sas , the perspective of your bridge is excellent and I like the hint of a garden either side of it. However, it doesn't really read secret garden to me at the moment and it also doesn't look like it has been growing unattended for years like the book says. Is there also a bridge in the book? It's been a while since I read it but I can't remember. Maybe you could just add more bushes/flowers in the foreground and make the distance look a bit more like a garden rather than a road - maybe a pillar/statue or wall, or even one of Dicken's animals in the distance?. One thing from the book that I remember is all the roses that grow in the garden and that it is concealed within walls.
    Look forward to seeing this finished, it's going to be beautiful 😃

  • I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished piece! This book was one of my favorites and the idea with the key hole is just great!

  • @Susan-Marks Thank you so much! I really appreciate your thoughts ☺ This is a great idea! I think it will be more obvious when I add some color to the metally swirls around the keyhole.

    I was thinking of adding some kind of wooden texture round the keyhole to make it more obvious that it is a door. Do you like that idea too?

  • @hannahmccaffery You're so right! I should make it look a lot more bushy and wild. If there isn't a bridge in it, there certainly should! All bridges lead to passages far away and what is more mysterious than that in a garden? :face_with_stuck-out_tongue:

    The roses might be a bit concealed seing how theres so much gray but they're growing on each side of the bridge.

    A statue is a great idea as well! What about if I switched the bushes to the right behind the bridge for a statue?

    Thank you so much for thinking along!

  • @Julia Thank you Julia! Mine too ♥

  • @Sas yes-I think anything you try to make the door around the keyhole look more door-like would be great!

  • So I've been sketching a bit around the keyhole and added a little bit of texture. I think in the coming days, I will draw the "clean" version, add the texture around the keyhole and start thinking about which colors I want to add. I will also retwink the font making it more even and cleaned up.

    Thank you all so much for your suggestions til now! I really appreciate it. (I don't know why the picture is coming on its side but if you click it, it will stand up.)


  • @Sas There should be a bridge and in your interpretation there definitely should be as it's drawn so beautifully 🙂 Ah yes i see them now, maybe they could be growing over the bridge a little bit?
    Yes that would look nice with the statue there! 🙂

  • @hannahmccaffery Thank you! Yes, having the roses grow a bit more out of order is a great suggestion. It does look a bit tame right now, doesn't it? Haha

  • Sigh I have to ditch this project for now. I won't be able to finish it in time due to family life. Thank you all who gave me such good advice and showed interest in my project and good luck all with the competition!

  • @Sas
    I had to do the same, I just postponed it. I got another idea for it, the spine and the back cover this time. Perhaps you will finish it another time in the future.

  • @Heather-Boyd Yeah I sure will! I am so bad at working with dead lines 😞 Or rather.. I am too stubborn :face_with_stuck-out_tongue:

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