'Centenary of the Titanic'1912 ~ 2012
The BriefThis commission was to design a set of six stamps, with a Prestige Booklet and Sheets of Ten, commemorating the Centenary of RMS Titanic. It is such an iconic ship that we have all heard of, so it was a real pleasure to work on. The stamps tell the story of the ship’s fateful journey. From embarking on her maiden voyage from Southampton to the night of 15th April 1912 when Titanic sank into the sea. Lots of research was needed to get all the details as accurate as I could. I wanted to have the correct flags flying at each stage of the voyage and the correct phase of the moon as the ship sailed past Alderney. Also all of the musicians, with their correct instruments, who carried on playing as the ship sank. I hope that I did it all justice.
I wanted the first stamp, of the Titanic’s launch to have the feel of the old photographs from that time. However, I needed to use my own perspective and figures. I speedily built the largest model of the Titanic that I could quickly buy. So that I could photograph it, to get a more accurate perspective. The model had one or two inaccuracies, the bridge was not quite right and the number of portholes was wrong. So these issues needed to be ironed out at the drawing stage. I was able to use the model for perspective for all my views of the boat, so it was worth getting and making.
Alderney’s link with Titanic is that the ship sailed past Braye Harbour on it’s way to Cherbourg. It was such a calm night, that people standing at the Butes and Trigale could easily see the ship all illuminated from stem to stern. They could even hear the band playing. Also, the Harbourmaster was launching fireworks, to let everyone know that the ship was sailing past. For this stamp, I used a ‘Moon Phase Calculator‘ to make sure I had the currect moon showing.
The staircase needed to be first sketched up, then all the perspective had to be worked out. Before the final pencil drawing could be finished. The figures were painted in acrylic, scanned and dropped onto the digital artwork.
The three stages of drawing up the staircase. Firstly working out the perspective. Drawing up a finished version. Then adding the figures for the design that was sent to Guernsey Post for approval.
This stamp commemorates the musicians who played on the Titanic has it sank. Two bands were amalgamated, a quintet led by violinist Wallace Hartley and a Piano trio of Georges Krins, Roger Bricoux, and Theodore Brailey. Even the piano was brought out onto the deck. Something that you do not see in the films. They were asked to play music to try and calm the passengers. Carrying on playing as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. All were recognized for their heroism.
Acrylic portrait of Captain Smith with a digital background. (See below for some pencil sketches for this stamp.)
Prestige Booklet & Sheets of Ten
Here’s one of my shots of the model, that I was using for perspective. I have a piece of tin foil under the model to try and reflect light onto the hull of the ship.
Some pencil sketches I was trying out for Captain Smith.