We’ve reached the last letter of our alphabet! Not surprisingly, this comes with an inevitable doodlewash of this young zebra. There are precious little options for the letter Z, and although Zorse and Zonkey were tempting, I decided to try a pure zebra for my first time ever doodlewashing one. I have to say it was rather cathartic to make it to the end of this little adventure, but also a little sad. Since I love animals so much, this project is a little harder to put down than the ones before it. If you have a suggestion for next month’s project, please let me know in the comments!

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you my customary sloppy research on this little zebra so here’s what I’ve found. Just like human fingerprints and snowflakes, a zebra’s stripes are individual and no two share the exact same pattern. Though on the surface, the signature stripes appear to be the worst camouflage ever, they are actually a great defense mechanism. When a herd of zebras runs together, a visually striking black and white mosiac occurs, that makes it incredibly hard for predators to single out an individual zebra to attack. Even standing alone, this “disruptive coloration” breaks up the outline of the body and makes it hard for predators to see them.

Zebras communicate with facial expressions, loud braying and barking sounds along with sniffing and snorting. The position of the ears and how wide they open their eyes are all signals of what they are thinking at the time. At least, for anyone who speaks zebra, which is mainly limited to other zebras. So there you have it! Though this is the last letter in the project, tomorrow is Leap Day so there’s still more to come. I’m swapping a couple of the letters out with brand new doodlewashes that I’ll be sharing tomorrow along with the reveal of the first ever Doodlewash ABC poster, so stay tuned for a bit more of this adventure yet to com!


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink and second pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

 

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!

74 replies on “Z Is For Zebra

  1. Yay, well done, and thank goodness for ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ the alphabet would not be complete without them!! Can’t wait for tomorrow post, exciting. I can’t think of a great suggestion, as you have complete two fine subject choices. But maybe breeds of…..dog/ cat…….places of the world, landmarks, sort of thing?? I am sure you will come up with an equally great challenge as the last two have been.

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    1. Thanks so much, Rebecca!! 💕😃 and haha…yeah…Y and Z really add to the alphabet. Hehe Actually the breeds of dog is one I’m considering…I just don’t really want to leave animals yet. But landmarks is cool! That’s a fun idea! See? This is why I just choose whatever comes out on the day…I want to do everything!!! 😊

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  2. You just did another horse-like creatures to annoy Philippe, didn’t you? 😀 Well, it’s a darned adorable critter, even if, like Philippe, I’m not a horse fan. What an excellent month of doodlewash this was! ❤ Can't wait to see your poster!

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  3. Such a beautiful zebra! I knew it’d be worth missing out on a zonkey for this. I’m now wondering what he’s communicating to us? I bet he’s expressing sadness at this project coming to an end! And I share his (and your) feelings upon reaching Z – end of an era! These are going to look marvellous all together – can’t wait to see it, complete with the new kitty (though I’m sure the urchin is cool too!)

    I like Rebecca’s landmarks suggestion, if you wanted to go architectural again. You could broaden that I suppose and have structures, as that would allow you to argue virtually anything fits! How about all things America? I’m sure you’ll find something – there’s a whole day to go yet!

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    1. Thanks Jacob!! Yeah…the Zonkey was pretty tempting actually. I just love the name!! Lol It’s so weird…I get a little sad at the end of each month when an adventure ends, but I do it to myself. And yeah…landmarks would be cool. But I don’t know if I’m ready to stop animals yet. I love things with eyes! It’s always tough to decide what’s next! Ugh! 😊hehe

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      1. You seem to get so into them, I’m not at all surprised it’s hard to move on!

        Haha, indeed, zonkey is the best name ever! Such love for the zonkey. Could you perhaps do a series of funky hybrid creatures similar to him? I’ve no doubt there are scores of them that we haven’t even imagined. Decisions decisions! 😛

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      1. Oohh, how’s about animal heads to go with a macro flower, as a watercolour of course. You decide which flower suits the animal in question! To start you off, the lotus with the frog on the big lily pad.

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      2. I think the challenge and time-consuming work, for you, would be the matching them side of things. OF course, if you like, I could think up some more for you and let you know! 🙂

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      3. You don’t mean…like gruesome creatures one sees in gaming videos…do ya?!! Like Jacob’s posts recently? I wait with bated breath!
        Anyway, I can still do the matching and send you an email; then you can do what you like with them (I’d rather you didn’t toss them into the trash ‘tho…you never know!).

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  4. I love your zebra Charlie. I was very excited to see how this fellow worked out, very nicely I’d say. It is hard to come to the end of such an engaging project. Let’s see ideas for next month, food focus, beach focus, national parks, ha – whats in front of you… baby animals (spring), herbs… plants, flowers!!! Obscure objects, a certain decade, presidents…musicians through the ages…

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    1. Thanks so much Cathe!! 💕😃 I’m thrilled you like my zebra. It suddenly felt like the pressure was on to not screw it up in the last letter! Lol And wow…okay…I don’t know if you’re helping or confusing me…those are all GREAT suggestions!!!! Haha…I want to try them all!!

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  5. an amaZing Zebra charlie o! You did a great job going through the alphabet this month! Can’t wait to see what leap day brings and then what exciting adventure awaits us for March! Oscar watching tonight! Cheers!

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    1. Thanks Jodi!! 😃💕 Glad you liked him! I can’t wait to see what’s next either! I find about 2 hours before all of you do when I start doodlewashing something! Hope you enjoyed the Oscars… We didn’t watch…hadn’t really seen any of the movies this year. 😊

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  6. Magnificent flourish at the finish…wonderful painting, love the beautiful zebra portrait. Your artwork always brightens the day and your words often entertain. Looking forward to seeing more of your projects and adventures. Thank you for sharing this.

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  7. A poster!
    I was reading somewhere about zebra stripes being used for camouflage, I thing it was for ships, during WWII. The Germans couldn’t figure out whether the boats were coming or going because of the stripes…
    I know you’ll come up with a good idea for March, Charlie. But keep legends in mind…(K)

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    1. That’s so wild about the ships…I didn’t really that, but I guess if it works in the wild it would work for that too! And I’m keeping all the ideas in mind! Love that one! And unfortunately several others so I’m having a hell of a time choosing. 😊 Oh well…I usually just grab a pen and then see what comes out first!

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  8. Great job as always, dear Charlie! It is always a pleasure to come to your blog and see so much beauty on your drawings and read an always sharp text. Thanks so much! Have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂 X

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  9. 👏🏼👊🏼😘 You did it! And what a month it was! I love animals too and I truly enjoyed your animal doodlewashes and all the interesting facts! Whatever you decide for March, I’m sure it will be fun! ❤️😜😘

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  10. Brilliant little fellow with an alert expression – I just love him! As for the continuation, I love alphabets too, so I’ve made one for each of my grandchildren, with slightly different techniques. The first was wild animals, using Lino printing and prismalo pencils, the second was characters from Greek mythology, the third (for friends) was flowers, then a sea theme using collage, then horses (including a rocking horse and a unicorn!) and now I’m drawing dog breeds on the pages of an old book. Fish, birds… The choice is huge – although you have to cheat slightly for some letters!

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  11. Lovely doodlewash, Charlie! And quite interesting facts, I didn´t know that their patterns were individual, and I didn´t know about this camouflage thing. Makes sense, and how great that is. Reminds me of some of the psychedelic art of the 60´s when they made patterns that seemed to move (I hate to look at them, it´s just too strange!). Waiting for your news projects – have you had a flower-project (from A to Z) already? Wishing you a wonderful week! 😊

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    1. Thanks Ann!! 💕😃 Yeah…I didn’t know about the camouflage thing either, but it’s super cool! I feel like even with my clumsy research, I learned a lot this month! Hehe …those 60’s patterns are super hard to look at too! I haven’t done flowers yet, it’s definitely an option, but they just don’t pull me in like buildings and animals. 😊Hope you have an amazing Leap Day and a wonderful week ahead!

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  12. This was a wonderful series this month and the Zebra is an awesome end. I ‘d suggest music instruments, but unterstood you like something animal related, so maybe Jungle where some animals face a peeking it out? But landmarks sound interesting as well.

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    1. Awww thanks Michael!! Metaphorical hats are the best admiration ever! Assuming this is because you don’t actually fancy real hats? Hehe I really appreciate you coming along the ride this month. Hope you’ll stick around for whatever the heck happens next. Yeah…still don’t know 😊hehe

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      1. I think it would’ve been cool for you to paint it; shame I no longer have the photo otherwise I could send it to you. Maybe if you Bing “zebra trio” you could be lucky…

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  13. Hi Charlie! ☺ Nice to see you here as well! Your alphabet display is very nice. I followed you on FB, maybe missed some letter but it was a great fun to see your sketches. I am looking forward for more.
    Have a great week! ☺

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  14. I’ve been catching some Z’s today so it seemed necessary to read your Z post that I missed when in Mexico – the internet connection was very poor there. Beautiful Zebra, Charlie! 🎨👍❤️

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