Frequently Asked Questions

This is a list of the most commonly encountered questions involving Shipbucket.

General Questions

What is Shipbucket Scale?

"Shipbucket Scale" refers to the original 2 pixel : 1 foot scale that started it all. This is the uniform scale used for elevation drawings (side views) of ships on this website. This scale is small enough to allow relatively minute detailing, but large enough to show a ship at a reasonable size for viewing on computer monitors or tablet screens.

What is Shipbucket Style?

Shipbucket Style is the uniform style that all drawings of the format adhere to. It follows a relatively simple form of shading and detailing that most artists can pick up fairly quickly. The standardized nature of the format means that ships of different eras, construction types, sizes, and nationalities can be shown in a single uniform style, allowing for easy and quick comparison. No other medium offers this level of standardization, hence the popularity of this style.

Due to the raster pixel nature of Shipbucket drawings, some compromises must be reached. You can learn about the Shipbucket style in detail in the Style Guide and Standards Manual.

What is FD Scale?

FD, which stands for "Forum Difesa", is a larger scale that was developed by an Italian military forum using Shipbucket-style shading, coloration, and templates. This scale is most suited to elevation drawings (side views) of aircraft and ground vehicles, though some small boats (and even large ships) have been drawn in this scale.

FD scale is defined at 22.093 pixels : 1 meter.

What is the Shipbucket template?

All Shipbucket format drawings are placed into a standardized "template", consisting of a scale bar, watermark, class/type information, and author credits, on a white background. This template is one of the signature aspects of Shipbucket, and all drawings must be placed into this template before they can be published. The elements of the template are explained in detail below:

  • Scale bar: This is the standard 100 meter scale bar shown in Shipbucket Scale drawings, or 30 meters in the FD Scale format. It consists of alternating black and white measurements of 20 meters (in Shipbucket Scale) and 5 meters (in FD Scale).
  • Watermark: This is a small "" text placed in the bottom right of each drawing's template, designed to inform viewers that the drawing originated from
  • Class/type information: This is the text at the top right of the template which describes the nationality, ship class, and ship (for Shipbucket drawings), or the nationality and generic type (for FD Scale drawings).
  • Author credits: This is the small text under the class/type information at the top right, which shows the name(s) of the contributing artists.

Can I use drawings on this site for commercial purposes?

Shipbucket drawings are covered under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license, which does not allow for commercial use.

Can I post Shipbucket drawings on another website or forum?

Yes, but please remember that Shipbucket work posted on other websites must always be properly credited and a link to both must be maintained on the drawing. Our template includes this information by default.

Do Shipbucket crediting rules apply when posting drawings on other websites?

Yes. Posting uncredited Shipbucket work anywhere is a violation of the original license.

How do I know if a ship or aircraft has already been drawn?

This website currently allows users to search for any ship, ship class, or drawing from the Advanced Search page. If you can't find it on the site, there's a high probability it has not been drawn; if the subject interests you, feel free to give it a shot yourself!

Unfortunately, the FD Scale aircraft and ground vehicles are not yet catalogued in this system. If you are interested in finding a specific aircraft or vehicle, please search through the "master list" threads in the FD Scale sub-forum.

If a ship has already been drawn, can I make my own version?

Yes. Just because a ship has already been drawn does not mean new artists cannot redraw it or produce their own version.

I really like the idea of the Shipbucket Project. Can I donate to help it along?

If you would like to donate, please send any amount via PayPal to You can also support us on Patreon. Donations are used to cover server costs and developer time to add new features to this website. Donators who have a forum account will receive access to the "Admiral's Club" member group, along with a red-colored username on the forum, as a thank-you for their generosity.


How do I draw a ship?

There are several methods available to draw ships. Currently, most Shipbucket artists base their work off a pre-existing set of blueprints or line drawings which has been scaled down to match the ship's length in the Shipbucket scale. Other artists plot the drawing using measurements taken from blueprints, but this is a time consuming and often unnecessary process for the type of drawings we produce. Finally, it's possible to "free hand" a drawing based on a "best guess" of dimensions, but we do not recommend this approach.

Most artists usually start by first tracing the existing blueprints, and then filling in color and adding details based off careful photo research. Oftentimes, line drawings found on the internet (or even in published works) are inaccurate, so care must be taken to check everything against period photos. The finished drawing is then placed into the Shipbucket template (consisting of the scale bar, watermark, class/type information, and author credits), and then posted to the Shipbucket forum for critique and eventual upload to the site.

A full tutorial on the entire drawing process from start to finish is planned.

What software can I use to create a drawing?

There are many options available for different levels of technical skill and computer expertise. As a rule, all Shipbucket drawings can be created in something as simple as Microsoft Paint, though most artists use more advanced tools that allow layering and detailed color selection. This is a matter of personal preference. The below table lists programs that can create and modify raster pixel art which will be suitable for Shipbucket use.
Software Compatible operating systems Cost Skill Level
Microsoft Paint Windows Free Beginner
Adobe Photoshop Windows, Mac OS X US$19.99 per month, free for some students/workplaces Advanced
GIMP Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux Free Intermediate
Paint.NET Windows Free Intermediate
Pixlr Browser-based Free Advanced
KolourPaint Linux KDE Free Intermediate

What is the ideal "first ship" I should try to draw?

Most of our experienced artists will recommend starting with a small-size (under 100 meters in length) real-life ship as your first drawing. Real ships (provided they are not too obscure) will generally have plenty of photos available to help the process, and often blueprints and line drawings from other mediums are available as well. We do not recommend attempting to design your own ship as a first drawing.

Can I use someone else's drawing as a base for my own?

Yes - this is a hallmark of the Shipbucket format. All work posted on the site can be freely modified and remixed as necessary, as long as credits are maintained. If you take a pre-existing ship and modify it, then you must credit the original author before your name in the credit line.

Can I use other peoples' creations in my own drawings?

Yes - all pre-drawn components created by other artists (as long as they are made for Shipbucket) are fair game, and do not require crediting. The massive library of components is one of the most helpful parts of Shipbucket for new artists, as they can then focus on just creating the design itself; the small parts are already drawn and ready to be cut and pasted onto the drawing.

Where can I find the most recent library of pre-drawn components?

Currently, this website does not have the component/systems libraries categorized and uploaded. The best place to find Shipbucket's famous "parts sheets" is the Parts Sheets Discussion sub-forum on the Shipbucket forum.

Is it mandatory to use the pre-drawn components on this site?

No. Artists are in no way required to use the pre-drawn components in our parts libraries; they are just provided to make drawing easier for new artists, and to provide a standardized "look and feel" for drawings of a certain nationality or era.

What do I do if I want to use a pre-drawn component, but I think it is inaccurate?

If you think a component is inaccurate, just make a post on the forum stating your findings and one of the users who manages the part sheet in question will get back to you.

What do I do if I find out a Shipbucket drawing is inaccurate?

If you find a Shipbucket drawing that is inaccurate (out of scale, incorrect colors, or outdated parts), first try to inform the artist via private message. If you don't receive a response, feel free to make a post discussing the drawing in question.

Why are some drawings shaded differently than others?

The Shipbucket Style defines a very broad set of rules that are up to each artist to interpret. Almost every artist interprets the rules differently, and this is why some drawings look "different" than others. This is most noticeable when examining the shading or highlighting on drawings created by different artists.

How do I properly credit a drawing?

If you have created the drawing from scratch, using no large parts of another drawing, then you only need to credit yourself in the credit line. If you base your work on someone else's drawing, or use a significant portion of their work in a drawing you have created, it is customary to credit the original author before yourself in the credit line.

What is the best image host for sharing my drawings?

Unfortunately, these days there are now very few free image hosts that are reliable enough for sharing drawings. The best image host still available is Website

How do I search for a drawing on this website?

The best way to find a drawing on this website is to use the Advanced Search tool.

How can I upload a drawing to this website?

Currently, uploads to this website are managed by a select group of superusers who have been given access to upload all "real" and "never built" designs. If you have a drawing you would like to submit for upload, please post it in the appropriate section of the forum and ask for it to be uploaded to the website and the superuser group will review it.

How can I contact the author of a drawing on this website?

If you would like to get in touch with the author of a drawing, find their username (in the "author" credits of each drawing), and then find their forum profile and send them a private message. In some cases, users have long since stopped reading the site, so you may not get a response. In this case, contact an admin.

What is the best way to contact an admin?

The contact information for the Shipbucket admin team is available on the Contact page.

Help! I'm trying to register an account, but my name has already been created. What do I do?

Since the user accounts on this site are tied to drawings (as author information), it was necessary for the admin team to manually create accounts for some artists. In most cases, the email associated with their forum username was populated into their site account record, so the artist in question can recover their password from the appropriate page. However, we were not able to find emails for every account, so if you are still unable to recover your password, please contact an admin.

Shipbucket Forum

Where should I post my first Shipbucket drawing?

The Beginners Only section of the Shipbucket forum is the best place for beginners to post new work.

How do I upload a drawing to the forum?

The forum does not allow attaching files, so you will need to find an image host (usually we recommend using and upload it there. Then, link to the drawing in your post using [img][/img] tags. Imgur will provide a BBCode link to your image that can be cut and pasted into your forum post to easily show the drawing.

What is represented by the member groups on the forum?

Some forum members have earned titles of appreciation over the years for various acts of service to the community. These members are shown with a blue-green (for Premium Members) or gold (for Elite Members) username. Donators are given a red username, and administrators are blue. User ranks have no impact on importance and do not provide any kind of exemption from the normal forum rules, but are awarded solely as a sign of appreciation for a job well done. The Premium and Elite members are folks who have been around for many years and their input and feedback can be invaluable.

What is the best way to contact an admin?

If you need to contact a forum admin, look for any user with a blue username and contact them via private message. If you can't reach them via the forum, please contact the mailing address. An admin will respond to your email as soon as they can.

My question was not answered here. What should I do?

Please register a new account on the Shipbucket forum and create a new thread in the "General" sub-forum, and your question will be answered by our forum users.