Perennial Scrimshaw Requests

37450005There are many things you can scrimshaw that your customers would cherish but the three perennial patterns in the world of scrimshaw: the ship, the lighthouse and the whale will be asked for again and again. For some like me, the lighthouse can be the greatest challenge with it’s symmetry and straight lines, while others find the clouds or the ocean with it’s many moods the most daunting. Still others find themselves caught up in the rigging like a shanghaied landlubber, overwhelmed by the many tenuous supports that keep the masts and sails aloft. Inevitably a request will come for your most challenging subject, so what can you do?

tall-ships-2-22-07_1 Practice, practice, practice. Not obsessively, but consistently – a drawing or a sketch every day – even a doodle-a-day, then move on to other things.  By incorporating this into your day you will be creating a small habit, a commitment to taking the time, how ever short to practicing and enhancing your art. I’m reticent to say “perfect” since that is not achievable as my inner critic is always quick to point out, but you also never reach the sun when you walk to the sunset.


FinYour subconscious will pick up subtle nuances and techniques that will allow you to master your subject if you keep at it and find at least one good point in every sketch you make. Keep them in a scrapbook if you can, not to look at this week or this month, but perhaps next month over a morning coffee to see how you’ve progressed. You will be surprised I’m sure at the difference five or more weeks of small consistent efforts will make.

I’m setting aside fifteen minutes to draw one lighthouse per day for the next thirty days. By day 15 I’ll be cursing the small landlocked lighthouse I see on my way to work and by day 30 I’m sure I’ll be rejoicing in triumph, choosing another subject several times during this small challenge.


(Along with the great images from the talented photographers above, I’m including this link to an excellent book about habits. I’d listened to it via Audible and it helped me understand habits to the point where I could “break” a couple of persistent ones. I’m going through it again to now instill some better habits like the one above.  It’s not so much a “how to” book but a history of habits and many of their disasterous shortcomings. Worth the read/listen.  You can find it at your local library or pick it up on Amazon or Audible)

2 Replies to “Perennial Scrimshaw Requests”

    1. I’m always amazed when I see carved eggs! I haven’t worked with eggshell yet, but I believe if you can polish and seal the eggshell with wax (think of those exquisite Ukrainian Easter eggs), it should work. I’d try on a small egg first, of course! Can you send some pics of your power carved eggs? I’d love to see them!

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