Since Hal and High Water is about two friends taking off on a sailboat, I had to learn to draw a sailboat. At first I liked the idea of an old rickety fishing boat, but how would they sail around the world on that, so I had to change to sailboat.
I didn’t want to get too technical with the drawings because first off, it’s not my style of drawing and it’s too complicated for a comic strip; a sailboat has so much rigging and details that it would be too much to draw this daily.
For the first strips, they need to be in the boat since that is the premise of the strip, but as the strip goes on, they will get off and see the ports of call, the places where they dock.
I kept the drawing simple, but you can tell that it’s a sailboat. In one strip I show them sleeping in bunks below the deck. They have a kitchen/galley and it’s a nice size boat.
In a lot of the strips I show the boat only once, in one panel, to establish their location. Since there is dialogue, I have the characters on or below deck, but you don’t see the full boat of course, like this image below.
Here Sam is steering the vessel (that’s Hal to the right) and you see the steering wheel and some rigging and the sail itself to the left, and the railing, but not much else.
I use photos and I’ve always lived around boats, so I go out to the marinas in my neighborhood and I take photos of the boats from various angles so that I can use them as guides when I draw.