Ladybug by Charlie O'Shields

So I was challenged to doodlewash a ladybug by the talented Sharon Mann who drew a lovely one recently (check out her wonderful blog and follow her if you’re not already!). With my penchant for macro and examining the world in realistic closeup, I present to you the Giant Beetle Who Ate Manhattan.

I discovered that these insects look a lot less lady-like in closeup. I’m not sure this one would be considered pretty as it sort of looks likes a rather angry cockroach who regretted his choice to go in lady beetle drag to a Halloween party. Though it is indeed a fairly accurate portrayal, I think this one looks a little more menacing because in my haste to pull references, I ended up on a website for Pest Control.

As a kid I was always fascinated with bugs and insects, and each time I saw a new one was always a thrill. It was like I was the first one to discover it. Being a pint-sized geek, I would then rush to look it up in the encyclopedia hoping that it wouldn’t actually be found there. But alas, I was always disappointed to find that someone had made the discovery first and indeed this insect had already been meticulously classified.

One thing that was always a small comfort was finding a bug that wasn’t popular enough to receive a cute nickname and was still forced to go by it’s often unpronounceable scientific name. That, at least, made it feel like I had found something unique and rare. And the nicknames were often wrong.

Ladybugs, for example, are more accurately lady beetles because they’re considered beetles and not true bugs – to reach this classification you apparently have to have “sucking mouthparts.” A truly unfortunate description. Apparently, these little creatures have “chewing mouthparts” and, of course, aren’t all ladies. There are male ladybugs who have heroic stamina as they mate for two full hours, which just sounds thoroughly exhausting.

As a very little kid I didn’t really have a clear idea of what this “mating” thing was, but I was just glad they weren’t having sex because that would be so gross. It was just exciting to learn about all the things I didn’t know yet. I would later learn about human mating when my father had the “birds and the bees” talk with me. This wasn’t really a conversation as he just handed me a box of adult magazines saying, “It’s all in there. Figure it out.”

But, male or female, these lady beetles are truly fascinating creatures. In nearly all cultures this little insect is considered quite lucky. In France, folklore has it that if you’re sick and one lands on you, your ailment will fly away with it. As kids in America, we didn’t care if they were really beetles. We called them ladybugs and we were just so excited to see one! When they landed on us, we were thrilled. For a brief, exciting moment the world stood still. And we simply closed our eyes and made a wish.

Posted by:Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world!

39 replies on “Giant Lady Beetle

  1. Hi Charlie, when I opened your blog page, I said loudly “oh my goodness”. And, then giggle that you accepted my challenge. Your Ladybug/beetle is gorgeous and I love her size. I hope I don’t have nightmares now of giant Ladybugs taking over my garden, haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Omigerd…yer killin’ me!! The angry cockroach in drag, the “weren’t having sex because that would be so gross” and your dad’s less than helpful “talk” with you…Hahahaha!!! *wiping tears*

    Your painting (as is your lesson on bug versus beetle) is so wonderful! And, it looks like a native lady beetle (versus the horrible Asian variety)…yay!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha!! Thanks, Teresa! Glad you liked this post! Never sure if I’m over-sharing…I don’t really have a filter. Lol 😊😊 And I’m so glad you like the beetle! I had no idea what variety it was…they just made them all look graphic and clear on the pest control site I found! 😊❤️😃


  3. This reminds me of the saying when I was a child, “Ladybug, Ladybug fly your way home; Your house is on fire… (Then my mind went blank so I googled the rest of it) and your children are gone, All except one and that’s little Ann, For she crept under the frying pan!” Seems like kind of a weird saying now! 😉 LoVe your Ladybug, Charlie!! ❤️🐞🎨

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You could be an entomologist, writing a textbook! And your posts are far more entertaining than a textbook so kids may actually learn something. Hehe.

    I love how rich the reds are here.. More bugs please!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You got me on “sucking mouth parts”…I will never look at a ladybug/beetle the same! I have to say, your rendering is superb! I feel like you have upgraded the ladybug/beetle to honorable royalty, which should be framed in a gold gilded frame! Great post, excellent morning read!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Awesome ladybird Charlie! I’ve long been fascinated by them, though I too remember being quite disappointed at how they weren’t that pretty up close. Still fun, though.

    I remember as a child happening across a yellow ladybird and, after recoiling in fear of it being poisonous, doing that very same ‘I’ve discovered a new species!!!’ thing, and then finding out that they were far from uncommon… I can relate to you on that devastating (for a few minutes) downer.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Like the metallic look of it. Guess no beetle bears looking at close up?! We are getting our annual orange lady beetle invasion any day now?! 😜 Will be glad to mail some to you. Hahahaha

    Liked by 1 person

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