Monday, December 15, 2003

Drawing Ships A significant feature of 17th Century ships are the sails. The rule was for large topsails (tall) and small topgallants. My drawing violates this rule, as it was done freehand, with masts and sails not measured, but drawn to eye. I do measure the hull, however. I size my template, by turning on the grid with 0.2 inch squares, and then adjust the size to about 145 feet (in the case of what I have posted), length on the gundeck. I print the resulting drawing, set to the desired length. I put that on my improvised light table, upside down. The first thing I do is to draw the gun deck, in pencil. Next, I measure the height between decks, and draw the upper deck (or at least, the deck above the lower deck). Basically, I am tracing, freehand, except for the hull. Then, I start from the stern and draw gunports, leaving a suitable distance from the stern. I tend to have gunports spaced out at 10 foot intervals. The actual distance between ports is less, by the size of the port. Towards the bow, I leave a gap and draw a foreshortened forward port. On the upper deck, I draw slightly smaller ports (possibly), set in the interval between the lower deck gun ports. Of course, for ships with a single tier, that is not the case. Next, I draw the quarter gallery and head. After that, I draw the quarterdeck, forecastle, and poop (if there is one). At that point, I draw gunports in the upperworks. A good source on gun port locations is the table in Frank Fox's book, Great Ships. Finally, I start drawing masts, flagstaffs, lanterns, bowsprit, and sails. At that point, I draw the rigging, including stays. When that is complete, I start inking. After the drawing is completely inked and is dry, I use a kneaded eraser to eliminate the pencil lines. After that step, I apply colored pencil. Now, I scan the drawing to a template file. I do some cleanup and adding detail, using a graphics editor. I have started using predrawn flags and guns. I copy and paste. For flags, I typically have to size them by resampling and rotating to the correct angle. For the guns, I have started using a gun port with raised lid. Inside the port is a brass cannon (colored a plausible green, for the corrosion). I have a black dot at the center of the barrel. For the forward-most gun port, it shows the cannon pointing at a forward angle. For upper-deck English guns, I have port wreaths. I have started doing graphic editing on the head and quarter gallery, to eliminate outlines and to show three dimensions, through shading. If you are able to enlarge my drawing, you should be able to see what I am writing about.

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