Today we have some sort of shiny little weird bug, sitting on a leaf. I’m not really a fan of bugs as most of them can be downright creepy. This particular bug is a bit more intriguing, but the more exotic the bug looks in real life, the more they freak me out. Most bugs are brown or gray and unassuming, so when they get flashy like this one, I get suspicious. It’s like a little alien bug who has come to take over the planet, one centimeter at a time. It’s unnerving. I imagine this bug is likely sending a signal to his alien leaders to let them know that it’s a good time to invade. Though assuming that aliens would want anything to do with our planet is always a rather pompous assumption in itself. We don’t really take very good care of it, so at best they would have to view it as a fixer-upper. Something they could occupy, renovate, and flip like an old bungalow. Though admittedly, finding a weird bug as a kid was truly a wonderful experience. It was much less about the bug and just the excitement that comes from discovering something I’d never seen before.

Finding something brand new when you’re a kid is a breeze since nearly everything seems new. As I get older, I find myself looking at things sometimes with what I might call “old eyes,” which means I immediately associate it with a thing I’ve seen before. This is something that often gets in the way and makes it difficult to sketch. Instead of looking at what is actually there, I associate it with an object I’ve seen before and the result isn’t always what I intended. When I go to sketch something, I consciously try to look at it with “young eyes” and, no matter what the subject matter, pretend that I’ve never seen anything like it before. This works sometimes better than others, but it’s something I always try to think about before drawing. And, well, doing just about anything in life. I think it makes things more fun when you try to look at life with the eyes of a child.

It’s not that I want to be Peter Pan or anything, it’s just that after my 40th birthday I decided that I would prefer to stop aging entirely. The so-called knowledge that we have as we get older is far less fun than the thrill of discovery that comes from embracing things as they come. Everything that happens in life is really something new, but so many times we think, “yeah, I’ve seen that before.” Even though we haven’t. But, for me, it’s far more fun to look at things as though they are excitingly new and different. Because they actually are! Much like looking into the sky and seeing various shapes in the clouds. If you squint just right, that’s definitely a squirrel floating next to a hot air balloon. So, no matter what I see, you’ll find me stopping for a moment to consider it a bit differently. Even the most mundane things in life can get rather exciting when you look at them as though they’re nothing more than a weird bug.

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About the Doodlewash

Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Green Phthalo. Light, Viridian, Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine Deep and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon with black ink in a little red cloth hardbound l’aquarelle journal I found in a Paris shop.
Day 20 - #WorldWatercolorGroup Shiny Bug On A Leaf - #doodlewash
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!

20 replies on “A Weird Bug

  1. It is definitely hard not to layer what you already know on your immediate experience. I’ll have to try your method. Better to take the filters off sometimes.
    In the meantime, I wouldn’t mind seeing a beautiful alien like this, as long as he wasn’t too large…(K)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a beautiful bug – for a bug. Not a big bug fan here (or a small bug fan either) except for ladybugs and butterflies. Only my grandchildren have been able to drag me through the bug exhibits at zoos, and more because I want to be with them than see the bugs.

    Still, we might have a garage sale for Earth – “For sale, one badly used Earth, dirt cheap because only the dirt and the bugs are left.” Sad, right? Maybe we should turn the planet over to the kids – they have a better sense of fairness and importance than many of the adults. Yes, you should remain young, Charlie – better for everyone if we all did that.

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  3. got such a kick out of your bug story !!! There’s one out there that is just a drab cemetery feel gray…and seems dusty…whatever it is it is so gruesome to me. The alien one you did is marvelous to see on paper as it’s so beautifully done. I am frightened of insects most of the time as they might crawl on me etc. Makes me remember when I was dating my future dairy farmer husband…he had to check the cows one night and asked me to hold a light on them for him so he could bring in the right one….I agreed as I wanted to be especially helpful as I just marry him someday…well, as I held the light, moths came to flutter around my bare hand and I had to NOT scream and throw the light down….but pretend all was just fine…I shudder to recall how many there were and that touched my hand…

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  4. Great post, Charlie. Your words and art together are a fantastic combo 🙂 Makes me think of this saying, “We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.” (Attributed to various persons) –Sam

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  5. Your story reminds me especially of my youth, when I felt like a discoverer for finding out about Bob Marley, Leonard Cohen – I liked the old music better than the music of my “own” time (early 90s). To me it was all new, even though it was already “old” music then. I found out that I wasn’t really discoverer just recently, when I saw young people dressing exactly like me and my friends when we were really young. It all repeats itself. And then I thought that maybe life is really rather circles than a linear way… Great little bug, Charlie, live its colors!

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  6. I love your philosophy about how (not) to get old, and your cheeky little bug, which to me looks adorable rather than menacing. Nice job capturing the iridescence of the shell too!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There isn’t enough Oil of Olay on the planet to stop me, Charlie! But the important thing is that we still feel young on the inside, right? xo

        Liked by 1 person

  7. So now I’m worrying a little bit about those bugs taking over the world, re-doing the kitchen, and selling it to the Vogons at a remarkable profit. But your little bug is wonderful, as are your reflections on seeing with young eyes!

    Liked by 1 person

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