My earliest memories of making things and getting creative all involved building something. In my house, you’d find Erector sets, Licoln Logs, TinkerToys, and my favorite of all time, LEGO®. Shown here in this super quick and loose doodlewash as I had very little time to paint today. There was never a shortage of parts back then to construct something amazing. I loved to combine things that weren’t included in the sets and then combine all of the different sets themselves. I wasn’t a purist when it came to these toys as my mad genius could not be contained. Actually, I wasn’t all that impressive at building things in reality. But in my mind’s eye, I could imagine that I’d just formed an amazing skyscraper or a log cabin from outer space. Looking back, I think I used my imagination far more than skill, so it’s lucky that I chose not to become an architect. It didn’t matter that the thing I made didn’t look accurate. I could transform it with a little imagination into anything I wanted to believe that it was.
Out of all of those building toys, you’ll still find LEGO around our house. Probably more than one should find in a house with only two fully grown men and a small dog, but that’s the way it is. Those little bricks are just too enticing to leave behind and it’s fun to feel like a kid again each time we make something new. We’ve slowed down a bit on that as we were running out of shelf space for the completed projects. So, the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine and Mystery Mansion only come out at Halloween and Santa’s house and the toy factory get put away until December. The building process is really the most fun with LEGO and sometimes we’re left looking at the finished thing thinking, what the hell are we going to do with it now? But that doesn’t stop us from continuing to grab the occasional set and happily put it together.
Though I don’t go quite as crazy with my building as I did when I was a kid, I’m thankful that I had that experience. I’m pretty sure it’s helped me become a rather good problem-solver as an adult. Or at least, I don’t have trouble grabbing at whatever is in reach to make a creative solution. And each time I sit down to quickly sketch a doodlewash, it all feels the same. I don’t spend any time planning. I just jump right in and see what happens. Letting the next thing lead me to the next until I’ve finished or grown too bored and tired to continue. Either way, the time I spent imagining something is a wonderful moment. It rarely turns out as I expected, but that’s still not an issue. I’m not trying to make art. I’m the happiest when I throw caution to the wind, close my eyes, and imagine how I’d like something to look in watercolor. It’s not about making a perfect little illustration. For me anyway, it’s still simply the amazing thrill of building dreams.
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!