For our prompt of “Children” today, I opted to sketch something that reminded me of Little Charlie. I’ve always loved teddy bears and still have my very first teddy bear with me to this day. Well, not all of the time, these days. I liked to spend a fair amount of time alone as a kid, and that hasn’t changed much as an adult. But, I was never fully alone, because I always had my teddy bear by my side. My first bear was actually bought in the store, but the teddy bears that came after that were all made by my mother. In fact, for this Christmas, I’ve requested she make me another Paddington Bear, this one based on the current movie version, as he’s my favorite bear of all time. It’s not just about the bear, of course. It never really was. I always thought that my mother’s ability to create a teddy bear from scratch was perfectly magical. She’s always been able to make anything I could dream and then surprise me with things I had yet to imagine. She doesn’t make as much as she used to, so of course, that’s the main reason for my requests these days. When someone has a talent for something, I just can’t stand it if that don’t DO something with it! So, I’m not at all above challenging my own mother to make a little bit of art.

I adore crafts of all kinds. The term “arts and crafts” seems to create some sort of distinction between the two, but I’ve never personally been able to understand it. For me, I adore the word “craft” as it’s the one used for making amazing teddy bears as well as the one used for doing anything with a high degree of skill. My mom has that level of skill and it was a joy to watch her make things as I was growing up. What struck me most was that she was never daunted by any challenge. If there was something she didn’t know how to do immediately, she just figured she could learn how and then did so with aplomb. So, I grew up much the same way, though I have to admit that I’m not sure I’ve quite reached my mother’s level of crafty self-confidence. Today, for instance, I was quite ready to show just a teddy bear in a wagon, but figured I should challenge myself by adding a rare human form as well. It’s what my mother would have done without even questioning it. If something is needed to tell the story, then it just has to appear there. Figure out how to make it, and then make it happen.

There’s really no better way to approach life, and that’s why I’ve modeled my mother’s approach throughout my own. Well, at least I try to most of the time. Sometimes, I have a bit of self-doubt that stops me from trying something. She, no doubt, had this as well, but it was always well hidden and all I saw were the amazing treasures creating by her efforts. And when I was a kid, I was riddled with a crazy mix of self-doubt and unwarranted self-confidence. I was rarely as good at the things I thought I excelled at, and far better at the things I’d overlooked. Today, I’m happy to excel at one very important thing. And that’s simply being true to me. I’m still that kid who ventures out on his own in search of an adventure. But, I’ve grown into an adult who adores being part of a community as well. Not just any group of people, of course, but one born out of a love for making things. The love that I enjoyed with my mother while growing up and the one I now share with people all across the globe. There’s nothing more noble in this world than to be a bit crafty. My mom taught me that. It’s something I’ve taken with me throughout my life. A life that began as all good stories do. Once upon a time, there was a little boy and his bear…

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Little Boy Wagon Teddy Bear Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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28 thoughts on “A Little Boy And His Bear

  1. I’ve still got my Old Teddy. He was given to me when I was about a week old. It’s amazing he survived swimming in mud puddles and the ravages of lions and tigers and general neglect. That’s due to Mom. She never made me a stuffed animals (dolls yes, but never stuffed animals, lol), but she took them apart, restuffed them and sewed them up like new.

  2. What a darling sketch! I love everything about it. I believe crafting is in everyone’s genes. It is a matter of being raised by those who have the urge to create. Lucky for me, I came from a Grandmother and mother who loved to craft. A Grandfather who was a stellar woodworker (and musician, which I did not get any of) and a dad who was a wonderful sketcher, though it did not happen very often. So I got the best of both sides. 🙂 I spend most of my time crafting, work and pleasure. My son is a photographer so the trait continues! 😉

    1. Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Yay to crafting! Love that both of your grandparents were crafters. And so awesome that you son is a photographer. Yeah, I don’t think creativity is inherited, but it definitely needs a role model! 😉

  3. Darn cute! And clever the way you avoided painting his face with your top down POV.

    My grandma Mabel was the seamstress in my family. She made clothes for me and my sibs, and she made my father shirts I until the day she died. My generation didn’t learn to sew like that. Mores the pity.

  4. Such an evocative sketch, especially from that high angle. When our first grandson was born, we bought him a small teddy bear, already named Tippy on the tag, in the hospital gift shop. He treasured Tippy so much that he still has it, in and pretty good condition (probably because his mom kept it on a shelf until he was 18 years old!) Anyone who can sew a bear is crafty indeed!

  5. Great post Charlie! It’s wonderful that your mom still makes you bears. Tables have turned with my mom. I traveled up to spend the day with her yesterday and brought her one of my paintings which made her happy. We had a nice day. Today my husband took me out on some of the back roofs here so that I could take some pictures for references to use for future landscape paintings. It was a beautiful day for a drive both days but I’m beat tonight.

  6. Charlie says, “I was riddled with a crazy mix of self-doubt and unwarranted self-confidence. I was rarely as good at the things I thought I excelled at, and far better at the things I’d overlooked. ”

    I think you’ve been peeking into my journal. That describes me as a child and I fear even now I have to guard against both temporary recession and temporary inflation
    (of the ego not the economy)

    Teddy bears are better than a Linus blanket. Your painting is so embraceable.
    I bet that little boy is saying to his bear, “Soon as we get to that big tree
    at the bend in the lane, it’s your turn to pull the wagon and my turn to ride.”

    Both painting and article are super.

    1. Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕Yeah, I still have to guard against those things today. I think it’s how we humans were built. Sometimes I think more forethought goes into building a teddy bear. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always loved them so much!

  7. Love your little Charlie Doodlewashes!!! There is just something about Teddy Bears…i still have the Teddy an aunt gave to me during a rather long hospital stay when i was seven. After all these years and being loved by me, my sister and my sisters 5 kids he’s in petty good shape and not too much the worse for wear. He’s sitting where I can see him and be thankful every day. You are so lucky to have a creative mom to add to your bear collection. Hope that when he arrives you will work him into a Doodlewash so we can all meet him.😍

    1. Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yay to still having that teddy nearby! When my mother asked me if I wanted to bring home my own first teddy bear, it was as if she was asking, “are you ready to take care him as I have?” So many things she sort of just wanted to get rid of to make space, but this was something extra special. He’s now where I can see him every day as well. And yes! I will definitely make a doodlewash of whatever bear I end up with this Christmas!

  8. So cute!!!!!!!!!! Your stories are something i look forward too as much as your art they can really grab the heart and pull you in and make you feel all sorts of things and recall wonderful memories too. thanks for all you are and do 🙂

  9. Lovely beautifully painted and a piece of sweet cake story!!! 🥰🌹Your mom is amazing, Charlie, I intended to post my comment yesterday but I had to get a little time to find the exact quote I’ve thought through out your story : “I believe the nicest and sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens but just those that bring simple little pleasures, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string. ― from L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea”.

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