Art on Boats: Fun & Creative Projects


Last Updated on November 23, 2021 by Amy

I never thought of myself as a particularly creative person – I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, ran a small business, and have been traveling full time on my boat for the past seven years, none of which are especially creative pursuits. But something changed in the past year – maybe it’s the end of our circumnavigation, maybe it’s Covid – and I now have multiple art projects going on at once.

Creative and Fiction Writing

I started writing creative fiction in 2018. I hadn’t learned enough craft to finish a novel, so I got stuck and gave it up. I started learning and in April of 2020 I started what would become the first in my series of vacation romances, which I published in 2021.

While not everyone has the inspiration to write novels, creative writing is a great way to let creative juices flow and feel accomplishment.

For novel writing, I recommend reading On Writing by Stephen King, Save the Cat Writes a Novel, or the Creative Academy series.

Not interested in writing a novel? Try writing flash fiction! Give yourself a limit like 200 words…or maybe a goal of hitting exactly 200 words…and write a story.

Looking for writing prompts? Reedsy has a collection of 1100+ writing prompts. They also host writing contests where you can submit the stories you write.

Non-fiction Writing

Of course writing doesn’t have to be fiction to be creative. There’s a certain amount of fictionalization that goes into any kind of writing, and non-fiction writers use creative skills to write descriptions and emotions.

Starting your own blog is a great way to practice and put your writing out into the world. Or, if you’d like to try selling your writing, pitch it to sailing or travel magazines. I highly recommend my friend Michael’s book, Selling Your Writing to the Boating Magazines.

And with all your adventures boating, why not write a memoir?


While everyone carries a camera around in their pocket nowadays, taking high-quality professional photos is a very creative skill. I recommend learning the basics with How to Create Stunning Digital Photography. Editing photos is a whole other skillset, too.

While you can definitely take great, high-resolution photos on your phone, when you want to start more complex things, consider upgrading your gear. Here’s a list of our photo and video gear.


I first encountered the idea of watercolors onboard when our friend from S/V Blue Raven gave us a watercolor of Starry Horizons in one of our favorite places – Kauehi, French Polynesia. Then my mom bought me a basic watercolor kit. I love painting with watercolors, and have really branched out to different techniques and paints.

However, watercolors take a lot of patience. Each layer has to dry – REALLY dry – before you can paint over it. That’s a lot of time leaving your work out to dry. While we were living on land during Covid, I was often able to have a designed table for my watercolors. On the boat, it’s a little harder.

Colored Pencils and Coloring Books

Next I have explored colored pencils and coloring books. Colored pencils require less technical skills to use than watercolors. Instead of worrying about spilling watercolors, I sharpen my pencils over the trash and avoid a mess.

A great thing about colored pencils is that you can be as creative as you want, drawing freehand and blending shades, or you can keep it simple, using a coloring book and staying inside the lines.

I bought a 72 pack set of colored pencils and a pencil sharpener. I have coloring books like this sea life adult coloring book, but you can also use a spiral-bound notebook for free-hand drawing with colored pencils.

Paint by Numbers

While shopping in St Michaels, Maryland, I stumbled upon this very cool Pink Picasso paint-by-numbers kit. The paints are acrylics, so they don’t spill. It’s easy to follow and meditative. I usually work on it before bed and let it dry overnight before I roll it up and put it away in the morning. It comes with everything you need, aside from water to clean your brushes, and it rolls up into a small tube!

(There are also kits for kids!)


This is my newest art project. It started with holiday decorations, but there are so many fun possibilities! I bought a 8×8 collection of craft paper to use, and plan to experiment a lot more. There are many videos online of how to make origami crafts.

What do you do to be creative on your boat?

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