August 15, 2018

Ships Through the Ages

I grew up in Ann Arbor, just blocks away from the Exhibit Museum of Natural History and the Kelsey Museum of Anthropology. As a child, these destinations were second, only to the playground. I marveled at old and dusty things, with a child’s curiosity. I collected fossils, stamps and coins, as windows to an ancient world. I read books and drew pictures, of mummies, pyramids, ancient warriors and, of course, ships. My high school Humanities teachers, pulled everything together. They combined the art, literature, social science and history of ancient cultures, in an exciting and immediate way. It perpetuates my fascination, and work, to this day.


The following drawing projects, use boats and ships of the World as our main characters. The ships become our “Time Machines” as we explore the lifeways of the ancient, and more recent cultures which created them. Multiple-session workshops are available for all topics, resulting in 4-8 page books. These workshops emphasize and develop art, research and writing skills. Student drawings, and the stories they write from them, are REMARKABLE.

Select from the following topics, to introduce or compliment your World History Curriculum: You’ll find Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Vikings, Explorers, Pirates, Whalers, and more…though, last year, my most requested World History Workshop was “TITANIC”. I wonder why?

Drawing Time Topic
1 Egyptian Ship 500 BC Pharaoh’s Power Expands From the Nile
2 Greek Bireme 500 BC Greek Influence in the Mediterranean
3 Roman Galley 40 BC End of the Republic and the Battle of Actium
4 Roman Merchant 50 AD Expanding Trade in a Growing Empire
5 Viking Ship 1100s Norse Exploration and Conquest
6 Caravel 11-1300s High-Castled Ships of the English Kings
7 Carrack 14-1500s Early Explorers
8 SANTA MARIA 1492 Columbus’ Voyage to the New World
9 Spanish Galleon 15-1600s Wealth of the New World to Spain
10 Pirate Ship 16-1700s Lifestyles and Lore of the Buccaneer
11 Windjammer 1800s World Trade, Cape Horn and the Orient
12 Whaling Ship 1800s Lifestyles of Whales and Whalers
13 GREAT EASTERN 1850s Largest Ship of Her Day-Sail and Steam
14 TITANIC 1900s Tourism, Transatlantic Travel Tragedy at Sea
15 WESTERN UNION 1936-date The Last Cable Schooner-Communication


“Tom develops an immediate rapport with students. He inspires them to reach inside themselves, to discover their own potential…He creates a very accepting yet dynamic environment in which students are excited to try new things.”

– Mary Knight, Coordinator, Writer-in-residence, Suttons Bay Schools

Woodruff Designs