The drawing is a quickly drawn outline of the composition of Undertow. Unlike the painting, however, there is no second lifeguard at the right. In his search for the most satisfactory width for the picture Homer has drawn the left edge of the sketch in four positions. The scribble at lower right has not been identified.
Although Homer has crossed out the study and added the word over, on the reverse are only a few lines representing water and the inscription, No 2.
—Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, Standish D. Lawder, and Charles W. Talbot, Jr., Drawings from the Clark Art Institute, 2 vols. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1964), 1:144-45, no. 347.