Bruce Mackay: Safe Harbour (detail)

Work / Illustration

Bruce Mackay’s portholes: patterned pen and ink windows to the waves

One of the best bits of a ship are the circular windows at or below the height of the waves. Cape Town-based illustrator and typographer Bruce Mackay has drawn a series of these portholes (or at least porthole-shaped scenes) in blue, green and red pen and ink. They show wild, patterned waves and a haul of flotsam and jetsam; there’s a boat bobbing on the head of a whale, Poseidon/Neptune, a skeleton with an arrow in his heart drifting down a bloody stream and twisted sea snakes. Of Starboard Portholes he says he was “trying to capture the churning that would happen if a massive serpent were to uncoil at open sea.”

Bruce says Safe Harbour is a test scene from a book he’s in the early stages of writing and illustrating. These wonderful drawings are surely begging for nautical adventures to accompany them and we can’t wait to see more.


Bruce Mackay: Safe Harbour


Bruce Mackay: Safe Harbour (detail)


Bruce Mackay: Crazed Waves


Bruce Mackay: View From Starboard Porthole


Bruce Mackay: View From Starboard Portholes


Bruce Mackay: Downstream


Bruce Mackay: Crazed Waves #2


Bruce Mackay: Poseidon/Neptune