A Fragile Baby Chameleon

Doodlewash and watercolor sketch of tiny baby chameleon green

Wandering down the trail this evening on our #NatureDoodlewash hike, we’ve stumbled across this tiny newborn chameleon. I wasn’t sure what to doodlewash today as I kept changing my mind on what to paint. Then I started thinking about changing and how things change in nature. And then those ideas made me think of chameleons and so that’s why we have one here. That’s really pretty much how my mind works in a nutshell and probably why they keep trying to put me on Adderall. But it’s rather intriguing for a lizard, so I figured it was worthy of a stop to have a look.

Special color pigment cells under the skin called chromatophores allow chameleons to change their skin color. I’d always thought that chameleons simply change color for purposes of camouflage and to thwart predators. But they can also change colors simply to express emotions. For example, they can get darker when they’re angry or simply want to scare someone. When male chameleons are feeling sexy, they’ll sport a light multi-colored pattern to woo the ladies who apparently go gaga for rainbows. And the range of colors changes depending on the species. Some can create combined patterns of pink, blue, red, orange, green, black, brown, yellow and purple.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to have the chameleon’s abilities. Rather than simply frown to let someone know of my displeasure, I could turn a deep maroon and remove all doubt. But if human skin color changed and wasn’t consistent, I imagine we wouldn’t have so many issues of race in the world. Everyone would be considered the same, and judged only on their emotions. Then we’d know to simply avoid anyone who turned the color of hate. Though change is always rather difficult for humans. It might take years to get used to this new skin. Truly understanding the world for the first time, like a fragile baby chameleon.

Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month! 

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Permanent Green Pale, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna and Neutral Tint. Sennelier: Opera Rose. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

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! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
43 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 11 months ago

    Love your little green guy – he reminds me of Gollum from Lord of the Rings – another creature who changed though not for the good.
    First chameleon I ever saw was outside a circus tent – someone was selling them. Poor little guys were linked around their necks to tiny leashes that were pinned to one’s shirt. Odd way to keep a pet. I can’t imagine this would be legal nowadays.
    My granddaughter has a mood ring that changes colors according to her emotional state. She has to check it often to figure out what her mood is at the moment. I keep thinking she should just ask me.

    • Author

      Oh my gosh! I totally thought about Gollum when I doodlewashed this! Lol Philippe said he looked like he was starving. 😊 perhaps that wasn’t the best reference to have in my head. lol oh my gosh! That circus version sounds horrible. Poor little guys. But yeah, moods are actually pretty easy to discern as long as they’re not your own! Hehe

  2. Susan Feniak 11 months ago

    Cute little fellow. Great job Charlie! 🙂

  3. Jill Kuhn 11 months ago

    Thought provoking post today, Charlie! The world would be an different place if our skin changed color to those of our emotions. I wonder if it would be a more peaceful place? 😮 I didn’t know that chameleons changed so many colors depending on their specie. 🌈 Your doodlewash is awesome too! 💕🎨

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 😃💕 I think the world would be a very different place. But alas, I doubt humans will ever evolve that much. Just hoping our next president isn’t angry and orange! Hehe 😉

  4. Catherine Johnson 11 months ago

    Great thought process, Charlie! Cute cameleon

  5. Jodi 11 months ago

    Best line ever…. “Then we’d know to simply avoid anyone who turned the color of hate.”
    Lovely message to contemplate tonight with your amazing doodlewash!
    Thank you Charlie!
    I want to be the color of love and joy and happiness and peace. What color(s) do you think that is?

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jodi!! 😃💕 I have to go with Cobalt Teal…that’s my favorite color. 😊hehe

      • Jodi 11 months ago

        I see your post collaborates with Debi’s today. I think I must agree with cobalt teal. 👍

      • Author

        Today and many days! hehe… Debi and I are in the CBT Fan Club! There actually isn’t an official one… hmmm…. maybe I should start that! lol

      • Jodi 11 months ago

        If anyone could do it. It is you Charlie O!! Ctb!

  6. Teri C 11 months ago

    You are funny. Loved the commentary as much as the painting!

  7. Skyscapes for the Soul 11 months ago

    Love your little chameleons. It would be a pet I would like to have, were I to have the kind of lifestyle that allowed a pet. I also love your take on human skin colors!

  8. debiriley 11 months ago

    Charlie, you had me….rofl and nodding my head in vigorous agreement, and then slack jawed. This post Was Totally Brilliant!! really well done, in every aspect. good on you!!! I’ll be rereading this one, several times. 🙂
    People, sadly, have some very weird, attitudes… towards Any Thing, that sets another person Apart, as ‘Different.’
    * we all – need to embrace – “Viva la Difference”!!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Debi! 😃💕 Yes to embracing differences! They’re the best part of life! I can’t imagine a world without them!

  9. Teresa Robeson 11 months ago

    “But if human skin color changed and wasn’t consistent, I imagine we wouldn’t have so many issues of race in the world. Everyone would be considered the same, and judged only on their emotions. Then we’d know to simply avoid anyone who turned the color of hate.” <– I LOVE this sentiment and I love your sweet chameleon! <3

  10. Very interesting, I am now contemplating the rainbow of colours I will need on a daily basis to reflect my moods, can I order them all? Your chameleon is utterly adorable, it must be that cute green he is reflecting out at us.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Rebecca! 😃💕hehe… yeah, to probably reflect moods, I’m thinking we’d need every color in our palettes!

  11. […]  Doodlewash post on  the chameleon and Change. Funny as!  Yet, thought provoking as well.  All this, from A […]

  12. Cathe 11 months ago

    So we would become something like mood rings…but I’m in your camp, no to the angry orange man.
    Your chameleon is very charming and a world that loved one and other for all their uniqueness sounds lovely.

  13. memadtwo 11 months ago

    What a wonderful post Charlie.
    I do remember chameleons in my elementary school classrooms. Much more fun to watch than the chalk board in the front of the room! (K)

    • Author

      That sounds cool! I would have loved that… I think we just had turtles. Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕Glad ya liked this one!

  14. Yes. The Zen Art Guru God has struck again with a beautiful post. Oh and so with you on angry and orange guy! Oh Charlie. We were separated at birth. ZAGG…..hmm. Wish it had a nicer ring to it but you are so right on today, my friend. Thank you.

    • Author

      Thanks Laura! 😃💕It’s funny… I didn’t even have to mention the angry orange guy in the post. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen, and we don’t have to ever see what a world of pure hate looks like next year.

      • Right? Oh, Charlie. We try and make positive energy as artists, but he scares the ever living H out of me, I have to be honest about it. Parallels to the WWII H come to mind! Remember last summer, he was just a joke. No one ever thought he’d be viable at any level. The mind is continually blown. We make art to keep the good vibes alive and well, and you sure do your part over here daily, Charlie. Thank you.

      • Author

        awww thanks Laura… I try. At least we know we’ll be adding a lot of beauty into this crazy world when we paint it with watercolor in July!!! 😉Hehe

  15. Jacob 11 months ago

    He’s adorable. How awesome that the colours vary on mood aswell… though, I’ve seen plenty of people turn that deep maroon in my direction actually, so maybe we’re almost there? 😉 I think this chap’s trying to tell us he’s in the mood for some Citrus Polos with that lush colour! 😉

    • Author

      Thanks, Jacob! lol… he’s definitely in the mood for some legendary Citrus Polos. I’m sure you don’t cause that many folks to turn deep maroon, do you? You seem so delightful!

      • Jacob 11 months ago

        Hahaha! Well I may be delightful today 😉 but I think my mother went that colour quite frequently when I was growing up!

  16. Angie 11 months ago

    Absolutely cute, and I love your write-up!

  17. M. L. Kappa 11 months ago

    Aawww- he’s even cuter than my gecko!

  18. brushparkwatercolors 11 months ago

    AWE!!! This little character is really touching me!

  19. broworkshop sketching 11 months ago

    Lovely absolutely. And your analysis on over and below the skin is terrific.

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