The sketch, done in 1996 on a tablecloth, was used to generate a vessel built by a group of retired Burger Boat shipwrights and an owner from Milwaukee. Construction time was five years as the owner turned his
dreamboat into a “hobby shop” project. The shipwrights
were all over 70 years old. At the time I was appalled at
their ages, but seeing how I am so close to 70 myself, it
seems right now!
After about an hour of talking specs, we started to sketch
on a tablecloth at a high-end restaurant. My client told the
owner that we would pay for the “drawing paper,” but we
didn’t have to because the owner got such a kick out of seeing
how I “think up designs on the fly.” In fact, I was supplied a
nice adult beverage.
After the talk, it was easy to sketch the idea; total time
drawing was less than 30 minutes. The downside to drawing
on cloth with ink is that you cannot make a mistake, or
change anything the owner wants. When I do an ink
drawing like this I try to spend more time talking about
what they want ( 90 percent of the time it is the husband and
wife) so that I have an idea in my head prior to sketching.
Drawing with paper is faster and clients can tell me what
they want as I sketch, and they have the option to change
their minds—erasers or Wite-Out to the rescue.
We trialed the vessel, and everything I noted the day I did
the sketch came true. Here is the bad news, the client—and he
was such a good client—died one week later. What a sad day
The accompanying photo shows one of the boats that was
derived from the sketch, Sluggo.
Sketched on a Tablecloth
Sluggo, on the tablecloth, was a sister ship of the boat below, a
Seaton design named Terry M and built in 1983.
Cocktail Cruiser BY STEVE SEATON