I really liked the book The Secret Garden when I first read it many years ago. I liked the idea of this opinionated girl, who worked hard to create something beautiful. Her success, her independent thinking, and her no-nonsense attitude with her wimpy cousin who stayed indoors made her an admirable character to me.
I drew this girl a few days ago, last week? I felt that calm feeling when I drew her initially, a sense of purpose, and I thought “This is going to work.” She is my Secret Garden girl for today.
The only problem was I stupidly drew her on the back of a list, and you could see the writing behind her. In some ways, I thought “That could be a great idea for a later illustration!” but for this, I thought “I’ll redo it!”
So I did. At first I fretted about “getting it right” but try as I might, the eyes kept blankly staring back. She was lifeless, a puppet. And then I realized I was forgetting the spirit of the character. She needed a bit of life, a bit of soul, a bit of me. So I put away the fretting over perfection and felt that calm confidence, that satisfaction of dirty hands caring for a beautiful bit of life, and she came back to the paper. She changed a little, but given the process this time vs last time, I expected that.
I hope you enjoy it!