The Scrimshander’s Secret Scrapbook of Whaling Era Illustrations

scrimashander's secret scrapbook cover

Need some inspiration for creating a piece of scrimshaw, a drawing or a painting? The Scrimshander’s Secret Scrapbook of Whaling Era Illustrations is over 180 images from the 19th and early 20th centuries with sea-faring and whaling images originally created as woodcuts, lithographs drawings and paintings. These illustrations cover the range from catastrophes – where boatfuls of sailors get overturned by angry whales to the fabled “Kraken” – the giant octapus reaching out of the depths to take down the hapless ship! With these period illustrations, you are sure to find inspiration for your own masterpiece on what ever medium you choose: mammoth ivory, piano keys, canvas, or a vintage tattoo!

Available at

Scrimshaw Tools – The Coulter Precision Scribe

Coulter Precision scribe above a quarter

close-up of the Coulter scrimshaw scribing toolThe Coulter Precision scribing tool was first brought to my attention by Bob Hergert during an interview a couple of years ago.  Since then, I had hemmed and hawed, decided that my tools work just fine, and I can sharpen mine easily as opposed to a tungsten carbide precision point that would be next to impossible to sharpen with my rudimentary drills and stones.  This internal dialog kept me away from an excellent tool for a couple of years, and if I ever find myself alone in a dark alley… Save to say, I missed out on a couple of years with an excellent tool.  The precision point is not only excellent for stippling, but the lines you create have a nice deep “V” that holds the pigment well.  I’ll try to do a comparison of the different tools I use, if I can get a good enough picture setting it on “Super Macro” – but my photography skills are mediocre at best. As a scrimshaw tool, this is one of the best you can buy.

20170708 – Update:  Charles’ Etsy site is currently empty, but the eBay site is still active:

You can find the Coulter precision tool on Etsy

Learning How to Scrimshaw – Ron Newton

Learning How to Scrimshaw book coverRon Newton’s book started out as a series of handouts developed from procedures and exercises that he discovered while practicing and teaching scrimshaw. Not all students start with the same skills and talents and need different types of help. By  practicing the exercises and following the procedures in this book you will find yourself producing some very beautiful works of scrimshaw. Ron has seen this happen repeatedly in class after class and has faith that  the reader can do the same thing. The author hopes that in some small why this book will bring more interest to this art form. The whales may be endangered but lets not let their memory or scrimshaw die.

Available at Amazon.

Scrimshaw? But I Can’t Draw!

Scrimshaw? But I Can't Draw! Book Cover
Love scrimshaw? Can’t Draw? Many whale-men, the original scrimshaw artists couldn’t draw either. Using their ingenuity and the tools at hand, they were able to fashion memorable pieces of art and carvings that survive to this day. You can scrimshaw, even if you can’t draw! It only takes a little guidance, some basic tools and a touch of modern technology.Using ancient mammoth ivory, natural “vegetable ivory” or other materials, you can create beautiful works of art the way the sailors did, without needing to lean over the port bow! A great way to de-stress, scrimshaw will bring you into a world of art you may never have thought possible to achieve.
“Scrimshaw? But I Can’t Draw!!” has links and instructions to everything you need to learn how to scrimshaw:

  • sources for fossilized ivory
  • “vegetable” ivory
  • tools
  • pigments
  • how to prepare tools and materialsScrimshaw? But I Can't Draw! Book Cover
  • techniques for shading
  • polishes and preservatives, and more.

Great book for beginners and who can and cannot draw, “Scrimshaw? But I Can’t Draw!” will walk you through the simple steps that many of the top scrimshaw artists use today.

Available at Amazon