The Secret Garden – First Sketch

I spent much of today watching two versions of The Secret Garden for inspiration for an illustration for my soon to be sister-in-law’s new tattoo! When starting an illustration I contemplate for a few days. I design in my mind before I put it to paper. I had this general idea brewing but by watching the movie I was able to get a clearer vision of how to create the feel of a walled in and secret place as well as pick up details of the story. There are a couple of “tricky” parts of this project. First I needed to figure out how to show the outside wall with an open door at the same time showing the inside. The second difficulty is that since this is a sleeve tattoo I need to keep in mind how the illustration will work in the round and not have a seem of sorts. So the tree begins and ends the illustration. The tree on the left of the page and the tree on the right of the page are the same tree if that makes sense.

I love the way this sketch is coming along and I hope you enjoy watching it evolve as Heather and I work out the details. After the general composition is approved I can move on to blocking out the design to the proper size. I will actually produce the design at one and a half times the size of what it needs to be so that I can produce the details easier. Once it is finished I will then reduce it to the size needed for her arm. Then the fun starts and I can begin giving the design some life with detail, scale & proper perspective, shade & shadow, as well as color and style. I see this much more stylized especially in the foliage, trees, and flowers.

I have to admit to you all that it is very difficult for me to share a first sketch. This is a tool – it is solely to help discover if what I’m thinking is what Heather is feeling and seeing as her vision of the art she is putting on her arm. The style and whimsy and detail won’t be present for a few more steps and many things will change. Uugh – yes, basically I’m apologizing for a sketch. I wish I didn’t feel this way but it bears my soft belly more than anything else I do. My ego hates this! So – stay with me while we explore the process of creating together and I’ll do my best to share my insecurities. I also want you to feel free to give thoughts, ideas, and … er, if you must – critiques as long as we have a deal that there will be no picking apart the quality of the drawing – cuz it is not a drawing, it is simply a sketch. No need to tell me the little girl should look happier – well, that’s not true, Heather should feel free to share any thoughts with me. It is her art I’m just the medium it will come through. The rest of you – promise to go easy on me and if you do I promise to keep sharing the nitty gritty of creating.

Until tomorrow.


Today’s art was created in pencil and ink.


You Might Also Like One Of These Posts...

2 comments for “The Secret Garden – First Sketch

  1. Heather
    January 23, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Just wonderful! I knew you would know what it was I was feeling and trying for. Nothing to pick apart or add to what you are already doing. I wanted you to do this because I love how you see life and how your art shows it. I also know that we are kindred souls and that will make this collaboration all the more beautiful. Thank you. Love and appreciate everything you do <3

    • Anonymous
      February 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you like it. I’m so excited to make it wonderful for you. xoxox

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *