Someone dear to me asked me if I could do a sketch for them. They described it like this:

a woman, on a boat, during a storm, wind in her hair, waves all around, holding the mast and singing

I really liked that last part: “Holding the mast like on the cover of the musical, ‘Singing in the Rain’.” So I looked it up on Google Images and found this:

singing in the rain DVD cover

And so it begins.

A new illustration project. At the time, I didn’t know if it would be a simple pencil sketch, an inked doodle, or what it would become.

I let the idea percolate for a few days. When I had some time, I sat down and started with some initial thumbnail sketches. My composition skills are pretty rusty, so I tend to start with tiny thumbnails (1″- 2″ wide) until I hit on something that seems like it would work.

storm praise pre-sketches

I searched Google images again for pictures of waves and storms and stylized ocean scenes. I had something in mind, and was looking for some angles or details I could incorporate.

Then I sketched it out a little bigger.


Time to Break Out the Big Software

I couldn’t decide how I’d want to color it, so I decided I’d trace it in Adobe Illustrator so I could print several copies and experiment with it. I also opened the golden drawer where I keep my Wacom Intuos 3. Okay, it’s not golden, it’s plastic, but it’s a special drawer, okay?


(Cue the angel choir. Nobody likes drawing with a mouse, do they?)

Lots of tracing and refining line anchor nodes later… At last I had a beautiful line illustration (click to see it larger):


I printed it out. Stared at it.

Didn’t feel like coloring it with markers after all.

Pulled it into Photoshop, instead.

Fiddled with the resolution.

Long story short (click for larger version):


And that is how this project went, start to finish.

I like it. It’s my new desktop wallpaper, and it inspires me.

It’s not perfect. But it’s done. And it’s shipped. [tweetthis url=”″]

Lately, that’s what counts for me. Onward and upward!



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