Power Cruising in Alaska

Ever wonder what it’s like to go power cruising in southeastern Alaska—snaking your way through miles of evergreen coastline dotted with remote fishing villages? To be honest, I never have. I don’t even own a boat. So when I got an email asking whether I would illustrate an article on cruising and salmon fishing for PassageMaker magazine, I took a deep breath and enthusiastically accepted. Mind you, I didn’t get to actually go to Alaska. I just got to bring someone else’s travels to life in journal style illustrations for the article. The April issue hit the stands this week, and while I can’t show it to you in detail, I can give you a sneak preview.

Creating the illustrations was a fun challenge that involved sifting through lots of images of salmon, boats, and Alaskan coastline, thinking about what I might have put in my sketchbook had I actually gone to Alaska, and then creating paintings that would give a flavor of the region and what the author describes in the article. The designers pulled the paintings into Photoshop and merged them to suit the text and layout. I painted the image above to run across the bottom of the title page. What you’re seeing below are layout proofs.

46 Comments on “Power Cruising in Alaska

  1. Kudos to you! The paintings came out beautifully. Some well-deserved recognition!

  2. Oh, wow, these are fantastic! What a cool opportunity! I don’t fish, but the first sketch makes me want to go cruise that river.

  3. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment … painting pictures of someone else’s travels to AK! Beautifully done; having been there, I can say that you captured the wild beauty of AK to a “T”. Great job!

    • Thanks Carole! I’m so glad to have your feedback. The true test is whether it really captures the place, so I’m really pleased it held up to your experience!

    • Yes– it’s not every day that I get this kind of assignment. It was really fun to pick up the print magazine on Friday and see the article there.

    • So glad Kirk! And how nice that it’s a place you have been! I’ve traveled as far as Vancouver Island…perhaps someday I’ll venture farther north.

  4. This spread looks wonderful, and those salmon dare I say look good enough to eat!
    What a wonderful, far away opportunity.

  5. So beautiful watercolors and excellent layout. I really impressed!

    • Thanks Irina! Praise for the layout is all due to the art director– but it was fun to suggest a variety of concepts and then bring them to life.

      • Hi Jean! I’m sorry for misprint. I am really impressed:)
        I’m sure that all variants of layout were good.

  6. Congratulations … on the request to illustrate and on the exquisite artwork with which you enlivened the article!

    • Thanks Penelope! This was a fun and challenging assignment and I’m so glad I had the chance to do it. It’s really fun to now have the magazine in hand!

  7. Absolutely beautiful! Love the light in the sky, and on the snowy mountains!

  8. Beautiful work, as always, Jean. I like your little ‘signature’ splatters on the title page but I particularly love the way you painted the fish as though on an old page torn from a book — what a creative way to show the salmon! Bravo!

    • Thanks Lisa! The splatter on the first scenery is there because it merges with a jumping fish on the actual cover page. I painted the jumping fish separately and the magazine designer merged them in photoshop for the spread. Likewise, the brown paper is not my work, but the beauty of putting those two fish on an old paper background in Photoshop. I really liked that effect as well. It’s interesting to see what other people do with your artwork.

  9. Congratulations to my extremely talented niece. The sky’s the limit!
    Love, Aunt Jean

  10. These are beautiful and exciting for me to see, as i’m going on an Alaskan cruise in a few months. After looking at your palette, I think I’m selecting the right colors to take along. Thank you so much for the gorgeous inspiration!

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