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The Secret Garden

So I really am totally in awe of Jessica's work and am very new to Typography but decided to try create a drop cap for The Secret Garden, after at first considering Matilda. 

In hindsight the letter S was quite a complex letter to choose as getting the curves right in Illustratror requires a fair bit of work/ practise so any pointers on this would be appreciated. 

The main things from images and themes from the book that were jumping out at me were

Love, garden, floral tries, key, gates, trapped versus freedom, escapism, childhood, love, night time, secrets, garden of Eden, Robin, roses, night time moon?

I made a start with a few designs working in the gate some floral embellishments and the key shape. I liked the idea of winding vines/ ivy round the letters and the idea of the S being within a gate/ arch almost secreted away slightly. 

I then decided to just have a go in Illustrator to see how easy it would be to create shapes etc and felt the gate idea had some promise but that my curves/ letters and overall design really had to be worked on . 

I went back and considered my design again and thought it might be most useful to come up with a design which was slightly more resolved before creating it in Illustrator. 

I had a few concepts incorpating the key , vines and the gate.

Felt I got a bit stuck with the gate idea and wasn't sure where to go with it. The S doesn't look right either - I found it pretty hard to draw the curves as a solid form rather than just individual lines. but wanted some weight to my letter. 

I was wondering if anyone has more advice on creating letter shapes that are filled in - ie not simply an outline. 

Played about with different shapes , aded the vines and some leaves - think this has a lot more promise. Tried various colour ways. Getting closer but I know I'm a million miles away from it being flawless and imagine a true letterer could pick out lots of vital errors/ dodgy bits!!

Will revisit this later!

Smaller key - to echo the secret theme

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