Friday, June 1, 2018

The Secret Garden - sketch to final color cover book mockup

Cover mockup created in Photoshop, with linen image, and blank book photo
Hi folks! Happy Friday..hope you've got some restful plans for the weekend! I'm currently dealing with pain from a shingles vaccination (what a wollop!), but hopefully I'm over the fever part. Back in my early 30's I came down with shingles (too much stress from work, my immune system was completely low), and now that I'm able to get the shot, I decided why not. In 6 months I'll get a booster, and hopefully all will be well.

So I wanted to share the process to "The Secret Garden" book cover as this was a prompt from my agent, Nicole Tugeau for her artists for this month. If you follow her @t2_illustrators.and.authors you'll see fellow agency-mates' book covers and interiors.

It started with a sketch I did for a personal project, which I remember having fun with..just adding more foliage and leaves, hidden animals, etc.
I look at this sketch now and think I will try painting it again : )
Anyway, here are snippets of the book cover and process. Lots of gouache/watercolor, colored pencil and photoshop to create the book mockup and pages.

pencil on copy paper, just doodling....

So much fun to paint this. I kept adding and adding bits and pieces..would love to add more animals!

bw sketch on copy paper, layed out and duotone tinted in Photoshop

raw scan of painting (watercolor/gouache on smooth Bristol) - do you see the "key"?

Mockup of the color chapter header in Photoshop

Boy this was fun to paint..birds are hard, but so interesting to paint close up!

I hope to do more of these book cover mockups - I really had a great time painting..and I have next up, The Wind in the Willows in my head. But, work calls, so hopefully I can attempt this this summer.
Happy June everyone! Have a lovely weekend! ~ Shirley


  1. I always love seeing your work. I especially like your little bird. Keep painting!

    1. Linda, it's a treat to see you here, and likewise to seeing yours! Thank you so much..I will definitely keep painting! Have a good June!

  2. Oh, Shirley!!! Wowwwwwww, this is gorgeous! Honestly, I'm disappointed that it's only a mock up. Your style goes absolutely perfectly with the classics. And I love the beginning drawings just as much as the finished color versions. These are really stunning pages. That robin! That key! You know, I tried my hand at watercolors last month, and I learned that I absolutely do not have the patience to do it properly. So much bleeding.... So I am in such awe of your work. (Yikes, shingles! Nooooooo. Hope the booster is better. )

    1. Hee, thank you so much Bella..someday I hope to get into those classics and really work on one, wouldn't that be fun?! Thank you so much for your encouraging words!! And I know your watercolor work is probably as amazing as your other work. I must say, watercolors and gouache together seem to be the only way for me to make mine do what I need them to do. I am in AWE of true watercolorists, especially those who master light. I cna't do that, truly! And thank you..finally my arm is not a big blob of a mess..thank goodness for Benadryl! Take good care!


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