Sketching Research Trip to Vancouver Island

I’m back from a sketch trip to Vancouver island to do some whale and boat research for my upcoming debut picture project with Simon & Schuster, The Fisherman and the Whale. It was a great excuse to visit a part of the world that I’ve wanted to see for quite some time.

Sketching on the dock in Tofino.

Fishing boats were the main focus, and fortunately they were pretty easy to find. They all have their own personalities, and after a few days of sketching I was amused to find that I had begun to recognize different boats coming and going in the harbor.

Various studies from the Fisherman's Wharf

The Fisherman's Wharf was crowded with boats on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve near Tofino also offered plenty of stunning spots to study ocean waves and coastal scenery. It was inconveniently humid for watercolor, and I had to adjust my techniques accordingly.

I recently splurged on this non-rickety tripod, and I don't regret the decision one bit.

Looking out at one of the many, many islands within the Clayoquot Sound.

Finally, I had to go searching for whales! It’s not the best time of year to find humpbacks, but there are still quite a few gray whales and orcas hanging around. I got a great look at this juvenile gray whale, who swam right up to us and passed within a few feet of the boat in order to peer up at his terrestrial visitors.

Our gray whale, waving goodbye.

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  1. by Martina on December 7, 2017  9:17 am Reply

    Your boat sketches are great. I should like to follow your blog but can’t seem to get it to work. I have followed you on instagram. I really like the style of your illustrations, the fullness and the detail.

    • by Jess on December 8, 2017  5:02 pm Reply

      Thanks so much, Martina! I'll see about whether I can add a follow button for the blog to make it easier.

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