For our prompt of “Candle” today, I imagined a mom reading bedtime stories to a little one by candlelight. Since I only had a brief time to sketch today, I decided to simply create a little doodle of what was in my imagination without using any references. I typically use a mood board of references, but I wanted to see what would happen if I just tried to create something entirely from my mind. This seemed fitting for the topic as when I was a little kid I loved to imagine the scenes from the bedtime stories my mom and sister would read to me, painting each one with a mental brush in my head. Even if there were pictures, I preferred to imagine it all by myself. Indeed my mind still fills with images when I read stories. And many of the things I imagine are still far too difficult for me to sketch at this point. But it’s a fun exercise to DO, and see what happens while trying to sketch a dream.

My sister always loves to tell the story of how I started reading all on my own as if by magic. “Who taught you to read, Charlie?” she’d say surprised. The truth was that she actually did without realizing how effectively she’d done it. For this reason, I think that’s why I have no recollection of picture books, except for Dr. Seuss books, which had incredibly clever rhymes that made me smile. Many of the picture books that were written for kids my age were too young for me and felt like they were for “babies” as I used to say. I wanted to be a grown up so badly back then. Now, it’s quite the opposite, of course. And though I do still enjoy children’s literature and shows, they have to be a bit elevated and smart. My inner child is really just that same little version of me, after all, so he still doesn’t like being talked down to in a story.

Of course, now when I go to bed, I read all by myself. Philippe hasn’t offered to read me a story yet, but if he did I’d totally be on board with that. He’d have to agree to dramatize it a bit and do the voices though, as that was my favorite part. My sister used to make even those baby books a little more interesting with the way that she read them. That was all a very long time ago, and so it’s just part of my earliest and happiest memories now. I used to read to my nieces and nephews, but they each grew up so quickly and now there’s nobody left to read to anymore. I considered reading a book to our dog Phineas, just to see what he’d think, but I’m not sure he’d enjoy it unless he got a treat in the end. For me, books have always been a treat and finding a particularly wonderful one is like discovering gold. I’m always sad when those books finally end, but thankfully there’s always a new book waiting for me. In many ways, not much has changed since I was Little Charlie, taking a wondrous journey to new world each night as I continue to enjoy those bedtime stories.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.:  Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, Pthalo Blue, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? 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!
Bedtime Storybook Rabbits Bunnies Reading Books In Bed Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

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20 thoughts on “Bedtime Stories

  1. When I had my mastiffs, I picked up a children’s book that had objects that would pop-up, like a frog’s tongue, or gloved fingers where you could actually stick your fingers in to move them around. I’d read it to the dogs and make the objects move . They were intrigued at first, but soon lost interest. Hubby still plays with the book on occasion, though, lol!

  2. Read to your French niece! Tape it online so she can watch it when she wants. I don’t remember being read to. In fact I’m sure I wasn’t. I got to do story time at my library jobs, so that was fun! A former first grade teacher told me this story. One day she was sitting at her desk when a little boy came running up with a book and yelled to her, teacher, teacher, I can read!! Just like that, he got it. That warms my heart!

    1. I did actually read to here before, in English of course! hehe But now she proudly showed off a photo of the first book she read all by herself. It was just like your story… it’s such a heartwarming moment! 😃💕

  3. Wonderfully cozy scene Charlie! Sometimes audio books are good as many of the narrators will act out the story. I need to make time to read. My art seems to fill my day. That’s not bad but my pile of books to read is a scary large stack!

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 I used to listen to audio books years ago when I had a bit of a commute to work. Some had wonderful narrators! I just carve out about 20-30 minutes at the very end of the day. Sometimes, I’m asleep in 15, but that’s still moving the story forward! hehe

  4. I laughed out loud that you can read all by yourself now! 😂😂 I never got read to, but I do remember one day at work, another teacher asked me to help her with her kindergarten class while she prepared a class project to do with the kids. I taught 5th and 6th so I was out of my zone. She just needed me to keep them settled down. It wasn’t working. I know how to crack the whip on 5/6th graders, but my scare tactics don’t work on kindergarteners. So, I had an idea 💡💡💡! I grabbed a Sesame Street book and started to read. To my horror, part of the story required SINGING! Believe me, no one wants to hear me sing. So, I went with it. I sang. When I finished the book, the students clapped for me!! The teacher I was helping, made scrunchy face and said, “They never clap for me!” No wonder she taught kindergarten….she’s the same age.
    Super cute painting, Charlie! So sweet! 💜

  5. Hello Charlie,

    What a sweet Doodlewash! At first glance, I thought those were miniature bunnies in a bedroom made of a walnut shell. In fact, am gonna try making it using a real walnut shell and colored clay. And please do shed light on a term I’ve heard lots but never understood – mood board. Why is it called a “mood” board? Finally with your talk of reading, Im gonna share my life dream with you here. Its always been my dream to help kids heal through reading out children’s books. I healed thanks to kidlit so I know it’s possible. I just don’t know where to start. But I DO know that the path will appear. Here’s hoping you will also find little friends to read to. 🙂


    1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Yeah, they do look like miniatures! Would be cool in clay! And a mood board is just a bunch of references for style, color, and subject matter. I started by using single references, but this way I can invent my own compositions and approach. I’m certain the path will appear for us both one day!

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