"A sketchbook is a secret thing, a collection of unfinished and often times abandoned ideas never intended for public consumption—at least not in their current state. It’s a private space for honing one’s craft and workshopping, separating good ideas from those best left unexplored." -Brian Heater at The Daily Cross Hatch.

26 February 2010

Liberty Cuffs

Recently someone requested I do an illustration of "Liberty Cuffs", an old school Navy tradition where sailors had handmade patches sewn inside the cuffs of their jumpers. SCPO Daniel D. Smith's article on "Liberty Cuffs" can give you a full rundown on the history of this sartorial practice. Navy uniform threads on Military.Com and the US Militaria Forum have some personal photos of Liberty Cuffs and anecdotes about getting and wearing them by real, gen-u-ine sailors.

For these cuffs I decided to illustrate the submarine warfare badge (because it's so cool) and a mermaid (how could I not)...I also tried to paint in red and green stitching on the wearer's port and starboard sleeves to mimic running lights. Didn't work out so well, but I know what I'd do different next time.

(And for those of you visiting for around the country and around the world, don't be shy and leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by.)

EDIT 050411: Signed giclee prints of this image are available! Drop me a line at coldisthesea09@yahoo.com to inquire!
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  1. i love this. this is going in next week's Maritime Monday.

  2. Thank you MonkeyFist, I appreciate it!

  3. OK,failing that how bout something along the lines of Paul Cadmus' painting"The Fleets In"c.1932?.....Allright,negative on the Cadmus painting...Well, then how bout"Sea Captains carousing at Surinaam"...No?

  4. I've always been a big fan of Cadmus. The man could PAINT. "The Fleet's In" is an incredible piece- not to mention the story that goes with it (http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/cadmus/cadmus.htm). I actually have a copy of it in my workspace next to "Long Thoughts" by Kerr Eby (http://www.history.navy.mil/ac/amphib/88159do.jpg)

    I've never heard of that second painting you mentioned. I'll check that one out.

  5. Nice illustration!

    I've recently completed my book on liberty cuffs and other "sailor art"

    Dan Smith, SCPO, USNR(Ret)