Thursday, March 03, 2005

CHARLESTON UNDER SIEGE

I just finished this piece today for the Revolutionary War book I am working on. It shows the British fleet attacking Ft. Moultrie in preparation for taking the port city of Charleston, SC seen in the distance. Before the British could attack the city, they had to run the gauntlet of Charleston Harbour--which is treacherous in any era, and get past the guns on Ft. Moultrie on Sullivan's Island. Today, you can go to Ft. Moultrie--now a national park, and see the city from the same perspective that the city's defenders probably did. As the boats were sailing in, the British army, having landed at Tybee Island to the south, were busily laying siege to the city from the western side. On May 11th, 1780 Heny Lincoln surrendered the city of Charleston and over 5,400 continentals. It was the greatest loss suffered by the Americans to date.

It took me a day and a half to complete this image and I am pretty proud of it. It is created almost exclusively in Photoshop. I used a variety of customized brushes of varying opacity and shapes which made it go a lot faster. Oceanscapes always give me hell. There is so much dynamic activity--the surface is constantly changing. It's just a HARD thing to render believably. For the ships, I found a ton of references online and sort of eyeballed the rest. I pulled out the DVD of MASTER AND COMMANDER as well to get an idea of how a ship leans to in the wind and is still able to fire its guns. Anyway, stay tuned!

6 comments:

James Palmer said...

OOPS! The General who surrendered Chas. was Benjamin Lincoln. Sorry folks!

Anonymous said...

Hi, James--this is your mama. Happy to see that you are so excited about working on our series of picture books about Revolutionary War history in SC--but really depressed that your illustration is so much better than the ones I did for PALMETTO: SYMBOL OF COURAGE.
Of course, you are not as lazy as I am, and you do so much more research. As a cartoonist, I tend to do just a little research and then go, "Okay, that's enough," and just fake the rest.
You're doing great work. I was moved by your rant on "passion." Daddy and I, as you know, visit many public schools here in SC in my role as a picture book author. We have seen teachers on fire with a passion for their work, and children eager to learn. We have seen hallways full of artwork and writing by children. The school buildings themselves may be second-rate, but not the teaching. Hope our governor's jones for school vouchers won't deflect resources from public school opportunities. Just want to say we're proud of the work you're doing! Mama

Jared Chapman said...

I'm speechless. Exceptionally beautiful work James. You've posted a lot of really great portfolio pieces lately. I visited Tybee Island a lot during my time in Savannah but never knew that. I love hearing about the history behind places. Thanks for sharing!

josie said...

Fantastic work. You never cease to amaze!

Anonymous said...

Your art work is amazing, but I like the fact that you sound like both a sutdent and teacher of art--passing on the "passion".

Marty

Anonymous said...

James, This is a great picture, and should go in the book. Actually, the palmetto log fort surrendered almost without a shot in 1780, didn't it? The ship you show could actually be firing on either Fort Moultrie (as it was called then), or on one of the batteries at Mt. Pleasant. Anyway, it's great. DAD