Interviewing Harry Cotterill

When we think about ship paintings, Stephen Card comes to our minds, as one the most gifted artist, who have been able to paint relevant pictures, decorating many fine vessels. Harry Cotterill, with just 19 has started to wonder the world. With pure magic in his fingers, he is showing such an incredible talent in his work, that he´s the drawer of the moment. Having given interviews to many media, I have had the privilege to talk to him. 

1)    When did you get interested in the ships?
From what I can remember I have been interested in ships since a very young age. I remember when I was 7 years old watching the 1997 Titanic movie and being fascinated by the ship and its sheer size!
2)    Did you get any technical training in drawing?

Whilst at secondary school I studied GCSE Fine Art and GCSE Product Design, which although these might have given me some skills and training I believe my ship drawing ability has developed over time through lots and lots of practice.
3)    You mentioned that you decided to set up your company and website when you got to know Stephen Payne. Did he give you any advice about it?

I first met Stephen Payne at Calshot in August 2005, whilst watching the Queen Mary 2 set sail from Southampton. He did not offer advice with concerns to setting up the company and website, but did offer his help and support in pointing me in the right direction on my future career path and further education once I left school.
The Dream Designs Colchester website was established in June 2010 and since then it has grown dramatically. It now comprised of well over 200 pages and features the various countless drawings and of course our ships visits and drawing presentations too.
4)    Can you tell us a bit about your website and company?

Dream Designs Colchester is a small organisation based in the South East of the United Kingdom. It is solely owned and operated by myself, but I have help from friends and family and not forgetting the team of ‘Volunteers@Sea’ who regularly present my drawings on my behalf during their own cruises.
The aim of the business is not to gain a profit, but to raise awareness of my drawings and passion for the cruise industry! It has offered fantastic opportunity to network with a huge range of cruise lines and theirs employees.
5)    Do you make everything by hand, or use other devices like computer aid in terms of design?

All of my drawings are produced by hand, using HB pencils, high quality colouring pencils and fine liner pens. Many people have often suggested using computer aided design, but I like drawing the old fashioned way, as not everyone has this skill!
6)    Do you have any favourite cruise ship so far? Have you ever made any drawing of any Spanish cruise ship? Do you have any favourite cruise line?.

My overall favourite ship of all time is Queen Mary 2, although we should refer to her as an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. I really like Oasis of the Seas too and hope to visit the ship whilst in Southampton in November 2014.
I don’t have a favourite cruise line, but I am particularly fond of Cunard Line, P&O Cruises and Royal Caribbean International. It’s hard to chose one!
Last year I assigned a drawing of Ibero Cruceros’ Grand Mistral which two crew members I met at Harwich International Port, whilst the ship was berthed alongside, kindly passed on the drawing to the Captain on my behalf. The drawing is apparently displayed aboard although this has not been confirmed by seeing photographic evidence.
7)    Which was the most difficult assignment you ever got?

Older ships, especially classic ocean liners from the past can be very difficult to draw. I remember drawing S.S. United States, Wilhelm Gustloff and S.S. Norway being quite challenging at times.
In March 2013 I assigned a drawing of the brand new Norwegian Breakaway and thought the hull art on the side of the ship would be extremely difficult. Evidentially it was not as challenging as I was expecting. Norwegian Getaway might prove to be more challenging next year.
8)    As far as know, you have in mind, getting a degree in cruising management. So, will drawing then become a hobby or you have in mind keeping both aspects in your career?.

Correct! In September 2013 I will commence studying the BA (Hons) Cruise Industry Management degree at Southampton Solent University. Although I might have less time for my drawings and ship visits I do hope to carry on for as long as possible. Living in Southampton will offer many more opportunities.
9)    How long does it take calculating and completing one of your drawings?
I usually calculate and work out how to do a drawing a day or so before starting a drawing, which takes no more than an hour with most ships. The time it takes to actually produce a drawing can vary according to the size of the drawing. On average I would estimate the larger drawings, such as Queen Mary 2, Oasis of the Seas and Royal Princess would take around 15 – 20 hours, spread over a number of days. Smaller ships like Discovery can be produce in as little as 4-8 hours, sometime in one day!
10)  Do you think dreams come true? I mean, are about to achieve yours?

YES! But dreams don’t come true without a lot of hard work, determination and commitment!
Pics. Harry Cotterill

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