Other Works Gallery

Presented here are special drawings that were created for various individuals and organizations, commissioned works, retired prints and, (for fun) some early boat drawings from my childhood. The images in this gallery are not available as prints, but to show some of the interesting projects I feel fortunate to have been involved with. During the creation process of some of the images for use in special projects, some of these drawings had to remain secret, sometimes for several years. Occasionally individuals have asked to have existing ship drawings from the Main Gallery customized for personal reasons, I've always liked the interesting challenges and reasons people have for these special drawings. Please enjoy this gallery and I will add new drawings when it's ok for them to be "not so secret" anymore. ~John

*Click on thumbnails for larger images

Childhood drawings....

Since I was a boy, I have been fascinated with big ships and even at an early age I loved to draw them. My fascination began spending many summers in the 1970's on the Detroit River onboard our family boat put me up close with the massive freighters.

During the 1970’s I remember seeing the clean profile art prints of Great Lakes ships created by marine artist Frank Crevier and really liking the “look” and style of them, I would have to say this is when I was first inspired by the profile line art style of boat drawing.

Here are a couple of very early boat sketches I drew as a boy from that time.

"Boat on Detroit River" Here is an ink marker and construction paper creation of a Cleveland Cliffs boat, brown hull and all. My mother wrote on the back of the drawing "By John early 1973 - I would have been about 7 years old)

"Crack!" This pencil drawing of the Edmund Fitzgerald must have been drawn sometime in 1976 after the wreck had been located and confirmed to have broken up into three pieces. (Note how the ship is bobbing at the very tip-top of the waves breaking up and spilling the load of iron ore in this "dramatic" storm scene, lightning and all!)



The R.M.S. Titanic and her tragic story has always held a special place with me since I was young. The first "real book" I read was Walter Lord's "A Night To Remember" when I was 8 years old after seeing the classic 1958 movie adaptation . It was a big, thick hardcover book I borrowed from the school library, I remember the librarian asking me if I was sure I wanted to attempt to read "such a big book". It took me several weeks and a "renewing" or two of the allotted borrow time, but I read it cover to cover and was very proud of my accomplishment. In weekly art class in school I was known for always drawing "Titanics", particularly "sinking Titanics".

A full hull profile of the Titanic drawn on October 30, 1976

This a view of Titanic sinking just as the bow is slipping beneath the water. Drawn in the 1970's

An early version of the final plunge with people jumping off. Drawn in September 1975

Another version of the final moments, notice iceberg in background. I remember my hands getting all black from the pencil lead shading the night sky creating these drawings. Mid 1970's

I remember drawing this one in school and being quite proud of it, included showing a reflection on the water. When I showed it to my teacher, I was told that I "should pay more attention to class". Mid 1970's

Did I say I liked drawing "sinking Titanics"? One last color version of the famous final moments. Drawn November 29, 1976

R.M.S. Titanic - My First "Real" Profile Drawing

When the Titanic wreck was discovered by Dr. Robert Ballard and his team of oceanographers in the 1985 my fascination with Titanic was once again revived. I joined the Titanic Historical Society and attended a convention in May of 1992. I was fortunate to meet 4 survivors of the Titanic at this event. At this event I saw a 6 foot long detailed drawing of the Titanic in profile that a gentleman had created. The drawing was his original and prints were not for sale. That summer I kept thinking about that impressive drawing and decided to create one of my own. Referencing blueprints and just about every known picture of the Titanic from my collection of books on the subject I used paint, pencil, and ink to hand create this rendering of the Titanic, this is my first serious attempt at drawing in this style.

R.M.S. Titanic in profile - drawn in the Summer of 1992

Aft section at loading cranes

Bridge and forward stack


Drawing on the computer

In the mid 1990's I bought my first computer and discovered a program called "MS Paint". I played around with this basic graphic program drawing, what else, ships. I drew several Great Lakes ships and tried to add as much detail and recreate them as accurate as the programs limitations would allow. I liked the drawings, but was never completely happy with the "pixally" look to them or the limited amount of colors drawing these in a bitmap format offered. Here a some examples of these drawings.

"Stone Boat" This is a fictional freighter similar to a Bradley Transportation stone hauling freighter



"The Lakes Newest 1000 Footer"

In 2001 an R/C model of a 1000 freighter was built for Boatnerd.com. There was a name and design contest for people to submit ideas. The layout was used from this drawing of the Paul R. Tregurtha for hull color scheme ideas. (See link at bottom of page for more details)

Paul R. Tregurtha

Image used for design idea submissions

Designed by Richard Jenkins, this was the paint scheme chosen for the model and the chosen name was Great Laker


In 2002 I drew this generic 250' canal freighter that would have existed in the 1920's era. I always liked the looks of these boats, but did not have blueprints to a boat like this from this era so I made this fictional boat drawing based upon photos of typical canal boats that would have been built in that time frame.

Typical 1920's era Great Lakes canal freighter


I was curious how a profile drawing would look depicted in a night scene. I "blacked out" the Oakglen drawing and put light in the windows and glow from the deck lights. Along with a darkening sky and water she looks as one would see her passing at dusk. This rendering  is the predecessor to the North American "Silent Night " drawing I did years later.

"Oakglen at Night"


I drew this version of the Detroit based Gaelic Towing Co. tug Shannon in 2002. This was one of the first smaller boats I drew and consequently it was drawn to the same scale as the large freighter drawings. As a result I always felt that some of the outlines were too bold and thick for a small vessel like this. When smaller boats are drawn now, I increase the scale up to 2 or 3 times that of the larger boats and this allows for more clarity and smaller details to be added in for a nicer overall finished print. I have retired this print from the Main Gallery of available prints and I plan to redraw this tug at a larger scale at some point.


In 2003 I was contacted by a gentleman who has a fictional railroad and accompanying Great Lakes fleet called Arctic Industries (Rail and Marine) requesting a customization of the Wilfred Sykes self-unloader version drawing to the fleet colors of black, white and teal and for it to be named John Galt.

John Galt

Stack Detail

Mid-ship billboard and vessel information

Bow Detail


The Princess (now named Hiawatha) is a privately owned side wheel, walking beam steam engine vessel . The owner of this vessel commissioned me to draw this rendering in 2004. This is a good example of the difference it makes with details when a smaller boat is drawn at a larger scale.

LEON FRASER Silhouette

When Boatnerd.com was looking to create bumper stickers and were looking for design ideas, I submitted this "blacked out" silhouette of the Leon Fraser, a very typical classic freighter, as an idea to include "Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online" and web address text to be added in above or below the ship. The bumper sticker design ultimately ended up being the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online logo that shows the five Great Lakes with the different ships superimposed over them. (See link at bottom of page for more information about Boatnerd.com logo stickers and patches)

Leon Fraser silhouette


In 2004 the Great Lakes Maritime Academy (GLMA) in Traverse City, MI commissioned me to draw their new Training Ship - T/S State Of Michigan. After the boat was refitted for training service she began her new life with the GLMA sporting a dark green hull. In 2007 I retired this image after updating the drawing by adding a full hull version and changing the hull color to her current dark blue.

"Centennial" Great Lakes Engineering Works Hull #17

These images depicting the different stages in the career of Great Lakes Engineering Works hull #17 were created exclusively for inclusion into Chris Winters' outstanding full color book "Centennial - Steaming Through An American Century" detailing the 100+ years history of this ship. In the Main Gallery I have versions of this ship as she appeared for the Shenango Furnace Co. as the William P. Snyder when launched in 1906 with an open pilot house, as the Medusa Challenger from 1967 to 1998 and finally as the St. Marys Challenger from 2005 to the present. The images below were kept secret, some for several years, until the official release of Chris Winters' landmark book in 2008. (See link at bottom of page to Chris Winters' Running Light Press website)

William P. Snyder with enclosed upper pilot house 1914 to 1926

Bow detail

"Centennial - Steaming Through An American Century" by Christopher Winters

Depicted here as the Elton Hoyt II (1) from 1926 to 1952 after ownership changed from The Shenango Furnace Co. to Interlake Steamship Co.

Elton Hoyt II

Stack detail

Bow detail

Shown here as the Alex D. Chisholm, 1952 to 1966, while still with Interlake Steamship Co. and after the 1950 conversions including re-powering and changes to the superstructure forward and aft.

Alex D. Chisholm

Stern details

Bow Details

This Bicentennial version of the Medusa Challenger was commissioned by a gentleman who had fond memories of the ship from his childhood in 1976. The side billboard was altered to celebrate the country's bicentennial as many freighters did in one fashion or another in that year.

Bicentennial Medusa Challenger

The ship carried the name Southdown Challenger from 1998 to 2005, after she was renamed the St. Marys Challenger I have retired this print from the Main Gallery of available prints.

Southdown Challenger

"3 Sisters"

During a 7 week steel strike in the summer of 1952 the three Republic Steel C4 "Girdler Class" conversion ships, Tom M. Girdler, Troy H. Browning and Charles M. White were laid up and rafted together in Duluth, MN. When I was drawing the "Girdler Class" C4 conversion ships, these 2 photos fascinated me seeing the three sisters together. For fun I created a color version of the three bows.

Ariel view of the three C4 conversion ships in Duluth, MN 1952 (From the Earle Family collection)

Another view of the three C4 conversion ships in Duluth, MN 1952 (From the Earle Family collection)

Color version of the "3 Sisters" together


In the summer of 2006, Executive Director Paul C. LaMarre III, of the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship in Toledo, OH, contacted me about creating drawings of the Willis B. Boyer and a version of the ship early in her career as the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. (These drawings appear in the Main Gallery) Some other drawings that were created was a top view of the ship to be used on a new Willis B. Boyer website with the image to be featured with the hatches serving as site navigation buttons. This was the first time drawing a top view of a ship, I created these two versions of the Boyer, one with out shadows and one with shadows. (See link at bottom of page to the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship website)

Willis B. Boyer top view - no shadows version

Willis B. Boyer top view - shadows version

One Seagate Building Vs. The Willis B. Boyer

In the early 20th century, the time of the great transatlantic liners, it was common to see artwork of the largest ships depicted standing on-end in scale alongside the world's tallest structures as a method of advertising just how large these ships were. The tallest building in the Toledo skyline is the One Seagate Building; standing at 432 feet this building is 185 feet shorted than the 617 foot Willis B. Boyer standing on-end. Mr. LaMarre thought this fact may be interesting to illustrate in this manor. I researched the building's statistics and picked locations to photograph the building for reference. In this post-911 world I decided it would probably not be wise to contact the building management inquiring copies of the blueprints to the tallest building in Toledo without raising some sort of suspicions. I used known dimensions and photos to draw the One Seagate Building in scale with the up-ended Willis B. Boyer.

Typical early 20th century comparison of the world's larges ships, in this case the Olympic/Titanic, alongside the world's tallest structures of the time. (From the John Belliveau collection)

The 432 foot tall One Seagate Building in Toledo, OH alongside the 617 foot long Willis B. Boyer

Drawing in a "mechanical" sense comes more naturally to me, but to draw things from the natural world such as sky, water, trees and people is more difficult. I fiddled around with these trees for several days before achieving versions I could be happy with.

Photo of the One Seagate Building in Toledo, OH (Photo by John Belliveau)


For many years there was always quite a bit of talk about converting the Edward L. Ryerson to a self-unloader. For fun I created this image by "transplanting" the unloading system from the Wilfred Sykes drawing and "installing" it on the Ryerson.

Edward L. Ryerson with self unloading boom

Later this shipyard blueprint from the 1990's surfaced showing how a possible self unloading system for the Ryerson may look while trying to maintain some of her trademark streamlining.

Self Unloading System for the Edward L. Ryerson (From Boatnerd archives)

When the Ryerson sailed out of long term lay-up in 2006 for Mittal Steel she no longer had her distinctive Inland Steel side billboard and now sported a light blue stack top and Mittal stack logo. In 2008, after a steel company merger, the company name changed to ArcelorMittal and the Ryerson received a black stack top and new logo. In 2008 I retired this drawing and replaced it in the Main Gallery with an updated version.

Edward L. Ryerson with Mittal Steel colors


For fun I had wondered what the North American would have looked like if she had a black hull, like the passenger ships of the Goodrich Fleet for example. Here is a rendering of what that might have looked like.

Waterline version of North American with a black hull

Full hull version of North American with a black hull

MHSD "Great Lakes Engineering Works, The Shipyard and Its Vessels" Book Cover

During the summer of 2008 the Marine Historical Society of Detroit (MHSD) was finishing up work on their monumental book coving the Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyards, Paul C. LaMarre III approached me with a cover design idea of a black cover with a gold imprinted Great Lakes Engineering Works customized builder's plate. To do this I needed to create a black line version of the builder's plate with specified text related to the book. A concept image was created of the builder's plate in shiny gold on a black leather textured background for the MHSD to get an idea of what the book cover would look like. (See link at bottom of page for more about this book and purchasing information)

Image of Great Lakes Engineering Works builder's plate that came from hull # 247, which was the Edward J. Berwind, Mathew Andrews, Blanche Hindman and Lac Ste,. Anne. (Photo by Paul C. LaMarre III)

Black line version of builder's plate for the book cover

Concept of book cover with gold builder's plate


Early in 2009 I received an inquiry from a gentleman asking if I could customize the Reiss Brothers drawing by changing the name and stack logo. This print was intended to be a birthday gift for his grandfather who was turning 90. I changed the name to Lavern O. Forster, his grandfather's name, and the stack logo to a large "B" with a smaller "I" an "W" within it which stands for "Badger Iron Works". The gentleman informed me his grandfather was very pleased with this gift print.

Lavern O. Forster

Bow detail

Stern detail

Proposed Lake Michigan Car Ferries

One subject that has always fascinated me is ships that were in the planning stages, but never built. In July of 2009, a good friend of mine, car ferry author and historian Art Chavez contacted me about colorizing blueprints he had obtained of various Lake Michigan car ferries that were planned, but never built. After receiving digital files of the blueprints, I colorized them to the paint schemes Art imagined they would have looked if they were actually built. The outlines, for the most part, are the actual blueprints with "fixes" where needed. Text describing each proposed car ferry provided by Art Chavez.
Proposed Pennsylvania Railroad Car Ferry - Circa 1930

Pennsylvania Railroad, Triple Expansion/Scotch Boiler Propulsion, circa 1930, 360’ long overall. During Pennsylvania Railroad’s negotiations for a joint car ferry operation with the Grand Trunk Railroad during the late 1920s and early 1930s, the PRR had been surreptitiously planning on a fleet of their own ferries, should a deal fail to materialize. In fact these plans were later made public in an effort to step up the pace of these discussions, but plans were further delayed in part by the economic downturn of the Great Depression. By 1936 the joint operation of the Muskegon to Milwaukee car ferry line was implemented with Grand Trunk‘s existing fleet. No new vessels were created as a result of this operation, but different propulsion systems were considered should additional vessels be required, including turbo-electric drive.

Waterline Version

Full Hull Version

Proposed Ann Arbor Railroad Car Ferry - Circa 1946

Ann Arbor Railroad, Diesel-Electric Propulsion, circa 1946, 404’ long overall. This modern diesel-electric drive ferry would have been unlike anything seen on the Great Lakes. The ship’s profile looks more like a British short-sea steamer operating on the English Channel during the 1930s than a Lake Michigan railroad ferry. The large, high-windowed observation lounge is the most unique feature in the passenger spaces. The vessel’s hull livery is depicted in the streamlined style similar to Pere Marquette Railway’s City of Midland 41 which made extensive use of flowing white hull bands against the traditional, all-black hulls of the lake ferry fleets.

Proposed C&O Railroad Car Ferry - Circa 1954

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, Skinner Unaflow/Watertube Boiler Propulsion, circa 1954, 412’ long overall. A follow-up to C&O’s highly successful Spartan and Badger of 1952-53, this ferry was planned to utilize a pair of 5-cylinder Skinner Unaflow engines like those on the City of Midland 41. The overall deck plan of the passenger spaces are similar to the Spartan/Badger, but a large observation lounge in the forecastle differentiates the design as does the Midland-style stack and modern pilothouse with small, enclosed bridge wings.

Waterline Version

Full Hull Version

Proposed Lake and Ocean Service C&O Railroad Car Ferry - Circa 1957

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, Steam or Diesel Propulsion Options, circa 1957, 460’ long overall. This unusual looking concept was just that. This design was a far-reaching concept rather than a working set of engineering drawings for a ready-to-be-built ferry for cross-lake service. The C&O Railway was considering this large freight-only car ferry with two decks for railcar storage that could be classified for both ocean and lake service. In order to accommodate this ferry, extensive harbor dredging and rebuilding of loading slips would have been necessary.

Art Chavez is continuing ongoing research and is always looking for more proposed carferry designs and anecdotes. If you have any information, questions or comments about these or other Proposed Car Ferries for Art, he may be reached at: pmcarferries@earthlink.net

All For Now...

Over the years, I've had a lot of fun with these projects and I've really had a lot of fun building this "Other Works Gallery" digging into the archives and finding these (sometimes forgotten about) creations. I hope you have enjoyed this gallery, it has been a real trip down Memory Lane for me. The fun part about this is that there will be more of these types of "side endeavors" and (when I can) I will post them here. I have built this gallery in the order that these projects were completed to the best of my recollections; any new works will be posted here at the bottom of the page to maintain the chronological order.


If you have questions or comments you may contact me at:



~John Belliveau

Links Relating To Subjects In This Gallery:

"The Lakes Newest 1000 Footer"

Boatnerd.com Logo Stickers and Patches

Col. James M. Schoonmaker/Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship

Running Light Press - Chris Winters' "Centennial" book

"Great Lakes Engineering Works, The Shipyard and Its Vessels" - MHSD book

Return To Great Lakes Shipping Profiles

Copyright John Belliveau 2018