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Bridlington Lifeboat - Work in Progress

Photo of Bridlington Lifeboat that will be used for reference

Ever since my first drawing of a Lifeboat I've been keen to do another. Fortunately, photographer Paul Berriff, who had provided me with the reference photo for the previous drawing was happy to give me his permission to use another of his stunning photo's, this time of the Bridlington Lifeboat.

Image showing first stage of drawing

Due to the fine details within the boat I have again elected to use a grid. Though it is usual practice to work top left to bottom right to avoid smudging the drawing, I have again chosen to deal with the boat in its entirety before tackling the sea.

Image showing second stage of drawing

I have now drawn in the crew. This is just rough shading at this stage as I will have to adjust the tonal values later when I have the boat and sea in the background. As can be seen from the reference photo, there is not a great deal of difference in the tones of each man yet they all need to stand out as individual bodies.

Image showing third stage of drawing

Working from left to right now across the boat making sure not to draw below the water line.

Image showing fourth stage of drawing

The 'cabin' area is in now, taking care with the shading to get that 'curvature' to the roof line. The roof isn't looking done at the moment because it is wet and almost white. Hopefuly it will look better when it has darker tones behind it.

Image showing fifth stage of drawing

So that's the boat almost finished

Image showing sixth stage of drawing

The boat is now finished (I'll put in the rigging as the very last job) and I've added marks to help me with the location and shapes of the waves. It's obviously not important to slavishly copy the sea scape but the marks will help me vary the lightness and darkness of my shading as I work my way down the page. I'll be working top right to bottom left from now on. I will also switch from my usual mechanical pencil to a regular pencil for now so that I can cover larger areas using the side of the point.

Image showing seventh stage of drawing

I've put in the sky and made a good start on the sea. The sky was achieved by laying down a layer of pencil and then rubbing over it with kitchen roll. Whereas I usually blend quite a lot, and have done so extensively with the boat, I will not be doing any blending with the sea. The grain of the paper and uneven shading help a lot in providing 'texture' to the water. As you will see in the reference photo, the horizon is quite misty/indistinct, so I've tried to capture that by blurring things with Blu-tack (my favourite tool).

Image showing eighth stage of drawing

More of the sea is done now. It's only rough at this stage and will need lots of tweaking before it's finished. The main task at the moment is to identify the light and dark areas, reserve white space as necessary, and try to get some movement and energy into the waves. Smoothing of pencil strokes and darkening of wave edges and shadows will all come as part of the final re-work.

Image showing ninth stage of drawing

That's the picture finally completed... but NOT yet finished. Now the whole thing gets passed over once more to darken shadows and lighten the surf. Adjustments need to be made to the boat and men in light of now having a background around them. The guy ropes from the masts need to be added.

Image showing the finished drawing

Okay, I've passed back over every inch of the drawing tweaking as necessary. When we are painting the process is called "fiddling" but it's an important step with a detailed drawing, in my opinion. Some areas of sea have been darkened considerably and shadows added along the bottom edge of some waves help give the impression of them rolling. I've darkened the crew and several area's of the boat. I didn't want to go too dark in the initial phase as it's much easier to darken later than it is to lighten. I used a ruler for the rigging cables as they need to be seen to be taught.

Materials Used