Blue Sky Thinking

Giraffe Blue Sky Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Blue Sky” today, my mind first went to the idea of blue sky thinking. That wonderful, often crazy way of creating ideas without the silly constraints of practical thoughts. How we ended up with a giraffe to illustrate this is anyone’s guess, but that’s where we landed today, as I simply love sketching giraffes. As a kid, I would employ blue sky thinking without even thinking about it. For kids, it’s perfectly natural to chase thoughts and ideas that seem a little nutty as they’ve not had enough experience with failure to have any real fears. Though we should learn from our mistakes, we shouldn’t be afraid to try anything again, and again, and again, if necessary, until we get it right. That’s my entire approach to daily sketching and life in general. I don’t worry over the mistakes I make, and instead, simply love the chance to show up and make some new ones. It’s why in the Doodlewash Manifesto I encourage by telling them to “DO try the hard stuff before you think you’re ready.” There’s no specific time in an art journey, or indeed a life’s journey, when we’re truly ready to try some new. We just have to muster up all of the optimism we can and take that exciting leap into the clear blue sky.

In truth, I take blue sky thinking a bit far at times. I nearly always leap before I look and launch into new ideas for projects without considering any of the practicalities that are lurking there. Sometimes, I find myself at a dead end and having to backtrack a bit and chase down another path. The thing is, I find this approach really joyful and fun. It should probably stress me out, not having that ironclad plan, but instead it always makes it more enjoyable. You can’t really fail at something that doesn’t have a strict plan. That said, in truth, there’s no measure for success either. I just have a little internal “happy meter” that I follow. If I find myself extremely happy about doing something and pleased with the result, I’ve won! No idea what I’ve actually won, of course, other than that glowing feeling of accomplishment. I made something happen, something new, and that’s all I ever intended to do in the first place. What I’ve discovered is that I end up accomplishing more things this way. If I tried to plan everything out in advance, I doubt I would have been able to make all of the things happen that I have so far.

When I was starting my career as a Creative Director there were many books on creativity and business that I read because I had no clue what I was doing. While there were lots of great ideas, many of them tried to create a checklist or step-by-step approach. My mind shut off as I just don’t function in this way. What I learned about myself during that time is that I had to play to my own strengths. And one would think I’d simply invent my own method, to overcome this, but that’s when the reality struck me. I don’t use a method, only a mindset. I will often find myself doing things in a completely different way each time I try something. It just depends on my mood. But, following my feelings, I have always manage to end up with something new, at least, and it always seems like something only I might do in the end. That’s the beauty of our own unique styles. Mine isn’t born out of my process, but simply out of my heart. I like it better that way. It’s the most genuine version of me that I could ever hope to share with all of you. And it makes my world of chasing ideas so much fun. I can’t think of a better day than one spent with a little bit of blue sky thinking.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!
Day 5 - Giraffe Blue Sky Watercolor Illustration_IG
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
26 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    We must be related in some way, lol. I don’t think I’m capable of doing the same thing in exactly the same way if my lift depended on it. I’ve always got that little voice going ‘What if I did this?’ Of course, I also have that other little voice saying ‘You’ll probably screw it up, that’s what!’ But I ignore that one. It’s a buzz-kill. Tell me though. Should I be worried about all these voices I’m hearing?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      haha! I think we might just be related, Sandra, and that would be SO awesome!!! 😃💕hehe… as for the voices… don’t fret it… I feel more sorry for the people who can’t hear them. 😉

  2. Diane Maley 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful giraffe and of course blue sky.

  3. memadtwo 3 weeks ago

    A giraffe is always welcome, especially with a blue sky! (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Kerfe! 😃💕 I was so scared of sketching giraffes at first because of all that patterning… hehe… but now I adore them most!

  4. Karen Fortier 3 weeks ago

    The colors really pop on this one. Blue sky thinking is what I am doing and had not voiced that before. At 64 I am starting to push myself forward with my art and seeing where I can go. Doing these little doodles are great practice.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Glad you liked the colors… I started with a heavily pigmented wash of my two blues and then set about making my giraffe while it dried. hehe And yay to pushing yourself forward. I think a doodle a day is the best way to do that! It’s all about the practice… in that… great things will always appear at some point!

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 weeks ago

    Gigantic ears, blubbery lips, and a black tongue. Spots stolen from a cow, legs filched from an ostrich, a back hump borrowed from a camel, and eyes to die for – What’s not to love?

    Should we ever go hiking together, I’ll take point, you follow.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      hehe! Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah… what’s not love about a giraffe! And yeah, if we hike together, you are well and truly in charge to be sure! lol 😉

  6. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I was hired as director of four public libraries. I was good at it and I think you have the key in the right lock here. Mindset is a huge deal when working with the staff, administrators, and public. The old cliche that the customer is always right and comes first is a cliche for a reason. If you put the customer first and everyone knows that is your fallback position then they buy into it and it becomes their goal too. In my business, the other thing is that everyone has to like people. If you don’t, then this is not a good fit for a job.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      So true, Lisa! 😃💕 I think you have to genuinely like people in order to communicate with them. While there are certainly people I don’t care for, I’m always rooting for humanity in general and think everyone has something to teach me!

  7. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Perfect doodle for today’s prompt!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕hehe… yeah, the guy who rarely paints landscapes had to come up with something!

  8. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    I always love your giraffes! I like how you included clouds in your sky.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 I actually started out painting scenes with skies…. hehe… but I liked the main subject matter best. That said, when it came to landscapes, skies were my favorite! Glad you liked this one!

  9. J.S - WEW 3 weeks ago

    Nice giraffe painting, and good color combination in the painting.

  10. Jodi 3 weeks ago

    This is why I love you! <3
    "That’s the beauty of our own unique styles. Mine isn’t born out of my process, but simply out of my heart. I like it better that way. It’s the most genuine version of me that I could ever hope to share with all of you."

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Aww thanks, Jodi! 😃💕 And you know I love you back because you’re just the same!! hehe It’s amazing what we can make happen when we create from the heart!

  11. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 weeks ago

    So super cute!!!! I really love your blue sky thinking also makes perfect sense that giraffe would come out. He is able to see a bit broader. I too tend to just take leaps.Do not know if you recall how we talked about Wiley coyote just waking off the cliff and not falling til he got educated that is lol. Better to just walk off the cliff and fly out in whatever direction we want to and see what fun things happy. Happy leaping lol 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Lisa!! 😃💕 Haha! I remember the coyote! Yes, I definitely think that taking a leap is the best thing we could ever DO! Happy leaping to you as well my friend!

  12. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    Nothing better than a blue sky – and yours is especially bright. Nice giraffe, too.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕Yeah, I went full on with blue for this sky! hehe… glad you liked it!

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