Illustration for H.M.S. Pinafore

I always enjoy creating the promo material for the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society because G&S characters are always appealing and comical and yet dressed so beautifully. Most G&S operettas take place in Victorian England, and H.M.S. Pinafore, the Bucks County group’s musical scheduled for this June, is set squarely in that seafaring era of Britannia.

I wanted to portray some of the major characters in the show: Ralph Rackstraw, the handsome young crewman of the Pinafore; his beloved Josephine, daughter of the ship’s captain; her father, polite and upright Captain Corcoran; Little Buttercup, a jolly village woman with a hankering for the captain; Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B., an older aristocrat who wishes to wed the much-younger Josephine; and I threw in Dick Deadeye, one of the hilarious sailors on board. I decided to stuff them all into a little dinghy, which is not a scene in the play, but sort of gives an idea of the witty, loopy plot these proper British characters find themselves in on the good ship Pinafore.

I blocked in my characters in their little boat, and the title in pencil  –


I photocopied the pencil rough and used colored pencils to do a general color sketch. On the computer I tried a title font and added more ocean at the bottom, where text about the show will go –


Tomorrow I’ll show some more steps and the finished art.

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