Monday, April 14, 2014

The story behind the Name and Logo

Even before we purchased our boat, we had boat names swirling around and would often bump different names off each other in an effort to try and find the perfect boat name.  We had seriously considered Wet Dreams, and almost went with it, but at the last minute we changed our minds.  Justin even wanted to go with something ridiculous like Breaking Wind, or Sofa King Bad Ass (well, that one might have been mine).  After I did a quick search on boat names, it was the consensus....

...that goofy/silly names for boats are not widely accepted or respected - and on top of it, its really not all that original.  So on the last day to make a decision and so the boat could be officially registered with the USCG, we decided on Catchin' Rays.  It kind of wraps up the whole idea of a boat and it plays off our last name.  But then comes the decision of a boat logo, icon, or avatar.  Do we have to have one?  I guess not, but we want one.  The first idea was a sting ray, but then we didn't want people to think we were out "catching" sting rays....

I began racking my brain about what I could use as a symbol of our boat - one that meant something to us and that we could both be on board with using.  And then it dawned on me - it was something that Tami and I have loved ever since we came to Key West and began work. 

First rendering - in preparation for map-pencil coloring

There's a local artist named Monkey Tom - and on one of my previous posts, I mentioned that Tami had actually met up with him at the laundromat.  We have wanted one of his paintings since we first discovered his work at Mark's shop but left before we could actually track him down again and purchase one.  And it will be my mission once I get back to Key West to find him and buy one.

But since I haven't been able to get my hands on one yet, the second best thing I could do, is create one myself based on his style and likeness.  While I did toy with the idea of using Popeye for our mascot, in the end, it wasn't something I created or had the rights to use anyway.  And even though I based our logo off a particular artist's style, it is an original piece that I created myself.  

It will forever remind us of the time we spent in Key West and all the hard work we put into the boat in preparation in making our boat seaworthy.  It also makes for a perfect logo for the boat - although on the surface, you'd think it has nothing to do with catching rays, but in reality, it has everything to do with us and how far we've come in our journey to be sailors and for the place where we first began the journey. 

In the end, I hope I haven't offending anybody that love's Monkey Tom's work.  My hope is that it will be a flattering likeness produced in the spirit of admiration.  We love his work and wanted to create something that reminded us of Key West, the boat, and of him.  

The map-pencil option - 1st version

After taking a picture & uploading, attempting to see if I could  paint using a photoshop software (pic done in pencil)

 Re-drew outline in pen to "paint" in PhoXo photo editor

 Final rendering painted with PhoXo. Saved as a PNG. file with background removed.  Created by taking a picture of my drawing, uploading it, and "painting" it in PhoXo photo editing software.


  1. Very cool Kevin! I love it. I wish I could draw, but I'm pretty challenged in that area. You have real talent with that. I see the significance and it reminds me of you guys being caught right up into the sailing world and by the look on his face, looks like you're up for whatever it brings you...going with the wind and tide. The Rays have been caught!

    1. The weird thing about this art work is that its nothing like anything I've ever done before. I am a xerox when it comes to artwork - I can copy anything and have been able to for a long time, but I can't create anything on my own. I've drawn the album cover to Man-O-War with pencil on our apartment wall when I was 21, and the album cover to Ozzy's Ultimate Sin in nothing but ink dots when in high school - both of which are very hard and detailed drawings to reproduce. But my logo guy - although not my style, and probably my easiest drawing ever - means more to me than anything I've ever done before. Thanks for the kind words Britton.

  2. Okay, so I started playing around with a logo for Diving Into Cruising and tried out the PhoXo software you mentioned. You did an awesome job on the logo to have used that software for such fine detailing in the painting part. I think I am gonna stick with hand drawn and software attempts are pretty bad! Using a mouse here is a pathetic attempt on my part...Did you use a stylus or something to get in those lines?

  3. Ok, it really wasn't that hard to do, just a little time consuming. First, I traced my logo with ink-pen because the pencil drawing allowed for too many smudges and the "magic-wand" (you are using magic wand right?) was picking up too many artifacts and wouldn't outline clean enough. Then you take a high quality photo (mine was 8 megapixel) and upload to your computer. Open it up in Phoxo and begin removing any background parts of the image that you don't want using the "magic wand". It will look like gray and white squares - that way, it will allow the image to "float" when used in things like Google+. After that, magic-wand inside an area that you want painted - such as a hair strand on my logo. Depending on the "sensitivity" selected (a slider bar under the tool bar), magic wand will outline the "inside" of the area. Once that is selected, paint-bucket the area with your desired color. Once the spot is "painted" you will probably have to zoom in pretty far and touch up the pixels that the magic wand missed. Also, as a final touch, I re-outlined my entire drawing using the "line" function; making little segmented lines one after the next to make a nice and uniform outline to my drawing (pick the correct thickness of your desired outline and zoom in accordingly.) Save the whole image as a PNG file - its a higher quality file and like I said before, it will allow your image to be viewed without any background noise when posted to bunch of things - for example, my title image to my blog is a complete image (text included) that I did in Phoxo - but when I posted to this blog, it is only the letters and the image that is displayed without any "squared" picture background. Like if you used an ocean wave for your picture, once you did like I said and uploaded it, all that would upload is the wave itself with nothing else. Lastly, the other reason to paint in a program is the option to make t-shirts - I just received my first shipment of t-shirts from a company that has a huge logo printed on the back. I was able to send them all my PNG files and have them displayed in the size and location on the t-shirt - would be much harder to do from a colored pencil drawing. Finally, once you do have your picture painted in the program, you're able to play with all different kinds of color settings: gamma, black and white, aged, tinted, all the RGB settings to make it all shades of purple, or tans, really is awesome to get all different kinds of looks for your creation. I converted mine to black and white for the back of my t-shirt and it looks pretty cool. Also in Phoxo, you can add textures to areas - like on my logo's face, there is a subtle "stippling" affect that looked pretty cool and gave a shading affect of some sorts. Ok, that's it - probably everything you ever wanted to know about Phoxo and more....(sorry so long winded.....hope this helps and encourages.)

  4. Ahhhh, ok...No, I wasn't using Magic Wand. I see now, that is the way this works. Haven't had time to play with it much except a little last night but I think I see what all I need to do now. Thanks a bunch! Time to go and doodle now :-)

  5. Thanks Kevin! I got it :) Tada!!!

  6. Okay, well I got the image completed, but I am apparently still challenged in inserting a URL on a blog comment :-( That link above didn't work, but you can check out our image in my last post! Thanks again:)