Ships Out to Sea

I’ve been getting a few more custom orders as of late, and I’m just having a blast creating things with specific people in mind! It’s so flattering to know that someone enjoys what you do enough to request something that is special to them. 

Earlier this week, I had a request for a card to contain the lyrics “Out where the waves make a grave of the sea, the lovers struggled in the middle of the tempest” as an anniversary gift. Immediately I put on Play Crack the Sky by Brand New, turned that shit up, and started sketching. Inspired by my amazing letter opener that sits in my brush cup, I wanted to do something a little piratey.

Custom nautical calligraphy and illustration

Generally, when I work, I either get out my trusted mixed media book, or a flat sheet of watercolor paper and do a light sketch for placement. Once I have some pencil down, I start painting with watercolor. With watercolor it’s important to start with your lightest value, and then work your way darker. 

                                                            Dayum, that's a messy desk.

                                                            Dayum, that’s a messy desk.

Once I have a good base going, then I ink in the details. I always try to do my calligraphy and lettering last, as the ink takes longest to dry, and I usually end up smearing it somehow. I’m real smooth like that. 

                                                                       Random paint splotch.

                                                                       Random paint splotch.

Custom nautical calligraphy and illustration

Once I’m fairly pleased with the result, I will make a high quality scan of the image. I scan everything at least 600dpi. Notice I said “fairly pleased”. Once I scan the image, I am able to open it in Photoshop and clean up a lot of mess, i.e. if I have spilled/smudged something. Photoshop is also fantastic to change the position of my lettering. 

I can’t wait to scan this one in and start playing! Hopefully Jessica will enjoy it…and not think it’s too piratey. Unless that’s a good thing. 

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