A Little Crab On The Beach

A Little Crab on the Beach Doodlewash and watercolor sketch on white background with shadow

I can’t get the beach out of my brain lately, so for today’s #NatureDoodlewash, I’ve discovered this little crab. Also, it’s Friday, and he appears to be cheering on the weekend so that seemed like a fitting image to bring today. Weirdly, I find little crabs on the beach rather cute. Perhaps it’s their little eyes poking out a little ways from their heads, or that funny little way they walk sideways. I’ve only seen them on the beach a few times, but it’s always a treat! Since they’re good at staying hidden, it’s fun to actually spot one.

Years ago, when I spent a few days on the beach for the first time I was befriended by a young guy who lived in a nearby house. He was one of those impossibly bronzed beach boys who spent the entire day outside, terribly bored, and on a constant hunt for new tourists to hang out with.  So he chose me that day and was determined to teach me how to body surf. My inexperience with beaches has always made me feel shy about water, but I bravely attempted to do everything he was showing me. On a final attempt, after multiple fails of gagging for air and looking like a dead sea creature being washed up on shore, I managed to catch a wave and gracefully glide back into the beach. It was exhilarating!

He immediately said he’d run home to get his bodyboard if I wanted to take the next step, but I said no, feeling the need to quit while I was ahead. The next moment, I saw a tiny crab comically sidestepping his way across the beach. He looked almost ridiculous, and yet didn’t seem to be bothered by that fact. Why did I care how I looked or if I did things perfectly if I was having a good time doing them? I turned to the guy and said, “On second thought. I’m in. Go grab that Boogie Board and let’s surf!” The next hour was a blast and I cursed my self doubt for almost making me miss out. A landlocked Midwestern guy got to finally experience surfing in the ocean. All thanks to a little crab on the beach.

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: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Teal, 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


Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie
  1. Oh he is so cute….I was going to say ‘ step away, move back” as that’s what he looked to be saying, but now after reading your post I have changed my mind ” come on over, join the fun” an open armed and welcoming crab. So pleased he tempted you to the waves for a memorable moment of fun.

  2. Phil Cooper 6 years ago

    I’ve never been surfing, it sounds fab Charlie, what a great afternoon😊 Love how you got this crab to really look like it’s about to scuttle off the page, gorgeous colour too

    • Author

      I’m sure it’s much cooler if you can actually do it standing, but I still felt accomplished even on a bodyboard! 😊lol So glad you liked the doodlewash of this little guy! Thanks Phil! 😃

  3. kirkistan 6 years ago

    Great image. I’m crazy about that shadow! Walking forward by moving sideways–Is that some metaphor for life? What are your really saying here, Charlie?

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk! Glad you liked the doodlewash! 😃hmmm… I just meant if a crab doesn’t mind looking ridiculous than why should I? Lol But that metaphor is intriguing. 😉

  4. Teresa Robeson 6 years ago

    Your anecdote is every bit as fabulous as your crab doodlewash! <3 Those are inspirational words that don't make me gag…and that's a compliment! LOL! Happy Friday, dear!

  5. debiriley 6 years ago

    fabulous Charlie!

  6. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Aw, your little crab, shuffling off to watch Charlie catching his first body board waves – now that is a memorable event. Glad you tried it after all. And this little guy is most attractive in his lavender hues. He seems pleased at his portrait. Are you still a beach fan? It’s most amazing to stand at the shore and imagine the countries on the other side.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 😃💕 I’m so pleased I tried it as well! And I haven’t had a beach trip like that in years. Very much still a fan…hoping to plan one soon!! Love the idea of imagining the countries in the other side!

      • Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

        Supposedly, if you stand on the shore and look to the horizon, your eyes can 18 miles distant.

  7. Jacob 6 years ago

    I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a crab at the beach. Lots of people go crabbing, so they must be there, it’s just my pitiful luck. How amazing it’d be to catch sight of this guy doing his fun dance – what wonderful colours and details! And with the shadow it really feels as if he’s about to carry on with his jig. And what a great story to go with it… when you come to visit, I’ll be counting on you teaching me how to surf. I can’t wait! 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! 😃Yeah, it’s like seeing a leprechaun…so it’s pretty cool! And it’s been so long, I’m not sure I’d be a great instructor! 😊 but little things like a complete lack of experience never stop me! So, okay!

  8. YesterdayAfter 6 years ago

    Great story of a surfing day with a beach friend and an inspirer crab! Way to go Charlie Beautiful doodle that shadow looks great! 😉

  9. Teri C 6 years ago

    Love the crab and love the story. 💞

  10. Catherine Johnson 6 years ago

    Awesome story and great crab!

  11. Margaret Parker Brown 6 years ago

    What a memory, love the story and your crab. You need to make a trip to the ocean, there is no question that it needs to happen….soon!

  12. Jodi 6 years ago

    who knew the power of a little crab! Only you Charlie! Great story and great doodlewash!

  13. anniedrawsthings 6 years ago

    This little guy is so fun! Love the colors on him! Well done!

  14. Jill Kuhn 6 years ago

    Enjoyed your story, Charlie! We can all learn something from that little crab! 🦀 And they are so fun to watch! 😍 Awesome doodlewash, surfer dude! 😃🏄🏻

    • Author

      Thanks dude!! Surf’s up!! 😉lol So happy you liked this post Jill! 😃💕 Crabs are super entertaining to watch!!

  15. M. L. Kappa 6 years ago

    Perky little guy!

  16. We see them all the time on the NC beaches, scuttling sideways into holes, and I agree, Charlie, they are so adorably cute. You’ve captured him wonderfully. You have such a gift. So glad you share it with all of us, bro. <3 Bravo! Love the story too.

    • Author

      Awww that’s so sweet of you to say! 😊💕Thanks, sis! And so cool to be close to a beach! It’s such a wonderful place to be. Guess the little crabs like it too! Hehe

      • We were so fascinated by them the last couple of times we’ve gone to the beach. We left some food near one of their holes and got pics of them when they scuttled out to eat. They’re so cool! Your painting brought all of those memories back. 💜

        • Author

          That sounds like a blast! Now you’re really making me want to book that beach vacation! Hehe 😊😃☀️

          • Charlie, do you ever paint wet in wet?

          • Author

            I did early on! Anytime I do a sky…hehe…but have been just doing single object illustrations lately and honestly, I barely have time so I can’t wait for it to dry properly. Many of my early watercolors were wet in wet. Hoping to carve out more time and try different things in July! Since the only theme is watercolor! 😉

          • I think that makes a big difference. I always want to work wet in wet and many times…the story doesn’t end well. I’m trying to think about ways I can manage to have a postable WC piece every day in July. lol. I am coming up with lots if ideas but I think I may need to work more dry, most likely. I’ll be really curious what you come up with too! Are you going to go with daily prompts, and if so, will you post the list in advance?

          • Author

            I’m not sure yet how I’ll be doing it, but will figure something out this week. At a minimum I think I’m going to create a page with various creative prompts to give people ideas who want them. Whatever I end up with, I’ll be posting before the end of the week!

          • Woot! Thanks, Charlie.

  17. scarletpassionblog 6 years ago

    i posted the wrong link. pls ignore that.. just check out my blog to help me start my way here on word press too.

  18. memadtwo 6 years ago

    It’s definitely beach on the brain time. Those crabs are really fun to watch. And they do look ridiculous! A good lesson from Mother Nature. (K)

  19. Tom Merriman 6 years ago

    When the moment strikes, Charlie, you should grab it and go for it! You did, and look at the memories! All because that little crab prompted you. Crabs always appear a little grumpy to me.. in a cute way, that is.

  20. brushparkwatercolors 6 years ago

    Great! The shadow makes it almost hop out of the paper. The colors are beautiful and it makes me want to relax on the beach, while they crawl all over me!!! 🙂 Well done, Charlie!!!

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Carsten!! 😃 I love the shadows things cast as much as the things themselves! Hehe I’m so ready for a day at the beach!!

  21. broworkshop sketching 6 years ago

    Great sketch!

  22. mckitt123 6 years ago

    WOW! The shading and meticulous detail are fabulous, as is the brilliant color palette

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