Drawn to the Coast

It’s thrilling to see my artwork in print this week in an article I wrote and illustrated for Passagemaker Magazine (a magazine for boaters). Drawn to the Coast is an illustrated essay about being inspired by the Maine Coast. Going from concept sketches to full size watercolors to seeing how the magazine’s designer put it all together was one of the most exciting aspects of this assignment.

We made several revisions before finalizing the article. Then came waiting for the magazine to hit the stands, and getting a copy this week.

Let me take you behind the scenes to share some of that process. Click on the artwork to see the sequence full size.

An assignment like this stretches you as an artist and working through challenges definitely advances your skills. Some of you may remember my struggle a few months ago to paint clouds for the title spread, which was perhaps my greatest challenge. I drew upon years of journal sketches to do this piece, but painted everything in my studio over the course of about a month. Now, I can’t wait to get back to the real thing!

50 Comments on “Drawn to the Coast

  1. Thanks you so much for sharing so much Jean. I love your work and it continually motivates me to keep working at watercolour as I enjoy the process as play at this point, but aim to create really lovely art of my own one day. Your sharing what works and your encouraging tips are very helpful.
    Linda Levar

    • So glad to hear that Linda! I like that we are always learning through watercolor. It’s nice to get to points where you feel confident about what you are doing, then push yourself to expand your skills. Keep it up!

  2. That’s awesome, Jean. It all came out beautifully. Congratulations!!

    • Hi Laurel- Thanks. This was a great assignment for me! It begs the question “how do we convey a sense of place?” What would I paint to represent the Helderbergs? or my new home on the other side of the river?

    • It is exciting and also fun to see how the designer will layout the piece. This article was fairly straightforward, but sometimes a designer will really change up what you provide or enhance it in unexpected ways. I enjoy the process!

  3. Stunning! I’m going to try and get a copy of that magazine. Thx so much for sharing! Your art is beautiful! 😍🎨💗

  4. What a wonderful project — I’m so glad you were involved in the layout and design of the pages because it is what you do so very well in your sketchbooks. I learn so much from you and thank you for sharing so generously, Jean.

  5. This is a splendid trip to the coast!!! Thank you for sharing the process with us. I especially loved the tidal pool & tide pool … great colors and sea creatures. All the pages are wonderful and I’m sure the “real thing” in the magazine will have everyone packing for a closer trip to the beautiful coast of Maine!

  6. Congratulations! … and it is so well deserved. Every time i see your work, it inspires me on so many levels. Thank you for sharing!

  7. I love your work! I used to work in advertising selling print ads for magazines. I always envied the editors/writers/illustrators, because I would have preferred to be on that side of the magazine. Fate put me on the sales side. So, it is most enjoyable to see your illustration process from start to finish. It’s a lot of work. How long did it take you to work on this assignment? Congratulations – your work is beautiful. http://Www.brilliantviewpoint.com

    • Thanks! I’m glad to be on this side of the equation too! Although I had about two months to work on this, I crammed and got it finished in a month of nights and weekends (I work full time). I had a workshop to teach and needed to pack and move right at the deadline date, so I pushed to get everything in early. I was able to collaborate with the designer later, but I’m glad I wasn’t trying to finish artwork and pack at the same time!

      • Wow, you did have a challenge. I bet if you started doing this on a regular basis you’d become faster at it… meaning knowing the time involved on your end and review cycles, etc. Well, I am super PROUD of you! Your work is beautiful and it is ALWAYS nice to see our name in “print.” Even as a sales person, I always checked the masthead to see my name! AND enjoyed going through and making sure my ads looked good, etc. Is the magazine you were publishing do in a small regional magazine? I will have to look for it. Look forward to hearing about your NEXT project!

      • PassageMaker isn’t small, but it is a niche magazine for boat owners. I enjoy doing illustration work, but I do have to fit it in around my day job. I find it hard to work faster when the artwork will be published professionally. I’m a stickler for details.

  8. Congratulations! A lot of work, but so worth it. I hope the readers appreciate what a treat it is to see an article illustrated with such beautifully rendered watercolors. It’s instructive to see your layouts and the progress from start to finish. I’ll be sending this link to a friend who lives near the Maine coast.

    • Thanks! I hope readers like it too because it is a very different type of article for this magazine, which focuses mainly on boats and exploring by boat. I illustrated another article for them last winter and it was well received…leading to this commission.

  9. I’ve never written back, but wanted you to know how much I enjoy your posts!
    How exciting for you, what a great article! I think I first saw your art on Pinterest,
    looked you up and subscribed to your posts. What a gift you have!
    Judy Hovde
    Minot, ND

    • Hi Jude- Thanks so much for your note…I really do appreciate hearing from people who follow my blog! It makes it feel less like lobbing artwork into the ether and more like sending something personal to people around the country and, indeed, the world. Nice to know there is someone in Minot who enjoys a bit of art in their inbox! Thanks!

  10. So very cool! I love your work, so charming and engaging – Tori Bell

  11. WOW! Soo cool!! Congratulation, Jean! I love your work 😍
    It’s a pity I won’t be able to get a copy of the magazine here in Italy 😦
    But I’m very happy for you! ^_^

  12. Dear Jean, I saw your beautiful work at PassageMaker Magazine and went online searching for the artist who did them… congratulations, your works are so beautiful and such an expression of a free way to live and to enjoy the beauty of places and richness of the world. We were really impressed.
    Is it possible to contact you privately in order to share a project on a “Journey around the world… marine escape” by illustrations?
    Thank you very much and best regards
    Turin, Italy

    • Keep that pencil moving! I really appreciate the compliment, but I also recognize the sentiment behind it. I often look at other people’s work and think, “I want to be able to do that.” The process of learning and striving never ends; but it also has to begin somewhere. I like this quote from the Shakers: “Begin today! No matter how feeble the light, let it shine as best it may. The world may need just that quality of light which you have.”

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