For our prompt of “Rainforest” today, I opted for a little sketch featuring a few of its creatures and plants. I decided to try more of a coloring book composition for this one for a bit of fun. As a kid, I used to collect cards about nature and various animals and I was always most fascinated by the inhabitants of the tropical rainforests. There were just so many cool and amazing creatures to be found there. So, this was also one of my very favorite subjects to color! I never got to actually visit a rainforest when I was young, but it was fun to learn about it and imagine visiting one day. I also loved books about nature and various colorful illustrations found in them. I remember thinking that I’d love to make illustrations like those when I grew up. Life ended up taking me on a creative path for jobs, but more about directing concepts, and so I stopped drawing after school. Now, after all of these years, getting to make my own coloring book pages is a dream come true!
As I’ve mentioned before, I actually started college wanting to be a journalist. In my heart at the time, I thought that one day I’d work on the cool documentaries I so enjoyed watching. None of this actually came to fruition, of course. The biggest barrier was that I didn’t love fact-finding as much as I loved story-finding. And, I would find my mind wandering into a story before I had checked all of the facts. I wasn’t daunted and just moved to a creative writing class instead. But, I think all good stories are never really fiction, because they’re always grounded in truth. I remember coloring in my coloring book when I was very young and I made an elephant pink instead of gray. It wasn’t a pale pink like a reflected sunset, but a bright pink. When one of my classmates asked me why it was pink, I told her it was because the elephant was very shy and blushing all over. Looking back, this sounds like a quickly made up story on the surface, until one considers the facts.
As a kid, I felt extremely shy. So, I would compensate and try to hide it by being more outgoing. This continued well into adulthood and my professional career. It strikes me now that my pink elephant was also a self portrait. If one blushes in just his cheeks, the secret is revealed, but if I was blushing all over, nobody could tell I was shy. And I’ve just realized that I still color a bit like this today. In many of my creature sketches, you’ll often see this bit of blush. A touch of pink in the cheeks or indeed, sometimes, all over. The difference today, of course, is that I’m proud to be who I really am. Still a touch shy and no longer trying to overcompensate for it. These days, my palette creates a world that’s all a bit brighter and more colorful than reality. But, it’s my truth. It’s a mixture of how I see the world and the story of how things make me feel. It’s not a photorealistic representation, but something I like to call faux realism. It’s precisely what would happen if I could take a photograph with my heart. And, each time I sit down to sketch with my inner child, it’s always a joy to relive those coloring book memories.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Cobalt Turquoise, Indigo, Terra Cotta, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click Here!