Back to the Secret Places project! This has been such a great project and has kept me grounded during the pandemic! I post everyday on Instagram under blackmarigold80. We start again with more new illustrations for my book “The Secret of Sterling House.” My book is available here on Amazon in paperback and Kindle. It’s a family-friendly, illustrated, treasure hunt book about two siblings who discover ancient clues to a hunt in their old Victorian house!
I am obsessed with rocking horses and found ways to work them into the story line! I wish I had a rocking horse, but they are so expensive.
Wells have always held a dangerous fascination for me. Here, Kaitie and Harry dig out an old cistern in the cellar looking for a clue.
My son was the model for this next picture and he is the character Harry in my book. My daughter is Kaitie, his sister. It was really fun imagining what my own kids would do if they were in the situation the Anderson children were in. I let their personalities drive a lot of the story for the book.
It’s kind of hard to draw children smiling- the key is to make their eyes smile too!
Here a clue directs the children to look under a Phoenix in the parquet floor of the front parlor.
The next clue was my very favorite one. I happened upon a wonderful article on lightning rod balls in “The Encyclopedia of Collectibles” (Time-Life series) and when it came time to think of places to hide clues this one seemed perfect.
I worked in a historic house museum for three years before I became a teacher. The large turret the stairs was in influenced this as well as a fascinating article in a 1970’s “Old House Journal” about reconstructing a cone tower roof. I found that research was what took the most time for my book. A lot of it had been previously done as I had studied Victorian architecture and culture with a fervor for most of my life. There was a lot more in-depth research to do though! I found that not much replaced books and real-life experience with being in an actual old house 24/7. (I worked in a Victorian, and lived in a Bungalow.) I was so thankful for inter-library loan and used book websites! The internet does not go deep enough into topics!
Ha! This is what I mean about real life- this is my own doorknob in the Victorian house we live in now.
On the left is our library window, on the right is a creepy window I imagined from this crazy Victorian house here in New York. These weren’t for my book, but just to have fun with paint.
For this picture I used a real picture that I added people to and then used a photographer’s name who was a woman who worked in Indian Territory in the Victorian era. This is the family that built the Victorian house in my book- the Donegans. This picture is also the first important piece of the puzzle to the house’s mystery.
I really like this drawing. I actually dreamed it and when I went to draw it it was very challenging! It’s quite big and you can see where the paper is taped together. Google earth images inspired this. (At the time of writing my book it was fairly new).
Thanks for stopping by! There are a lot more posts in the works so keep checking in!