Comfortable In Your Own Skin

Elephant Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Skin” today, my mind leapt to an elephant, which doesn’t quite qualify as an everyday thing where I currently live, but I would love it if that were the case. I’ve always adored elephants. And they are made up of a festival of skin that creases and folds, only adding to their character. Indeed, the skin I see most often each day is of a more human variety, but I prefer sketching animals. This is no slight to humans, but when I’m illustrating a story, or more accurately a daily ramble, it’s fun to use animals to portray what’s going on in my mind. In truth, thinking about “skin” made me think about the idea of being content with being oneself. Growing up, I realized right away that I wasn’t quite like the majority of the other boys around me. I was indeed in the minority, but I never let that make me feel minor in any way at all. In fact, it just made me feel rather special. Though I always say I’m no rebel, in many ways, I can seem that way. I don’t have a need to be just like everyone else in the crowd. I’ve never been worried that I might be different in some way and therefore wouldn’t “fit in.” Truly, the entire concept of “fitting in” has always been a perfectly weird thing to aspire to in life. Why on earth would I want to be just like somebody else? What’s the point in that? For me, what makes the world so incredibly interesting are the differences and unique traits that we all possess. Therein lies the greatest beauty.

In high school, I joined lots of groups, but soon found that I wanted to lead them instead. I ended up becoming President or Vice-President of every group I joined. One would think this would lead me to a career in politics, but what a horrible bore that would have been. No, I just wanted to stand up and scream, “The best thing about a group is all of the fabulously unique individuals who created it in the first place!” I fought my way to the top to make a change. I saw people adapting to the group rather than fiercely asserting their individuality. I wanted to change that mindset. There’s nothing greater in this world than the strikingly unique contributions we all have to add to it. And in today’s world, there are so many rules set on social media and via various algorithms that tell us exactly how we must behave next. And, I’m not at all shy in admitting that I despise them. So, hey, maybe I am a bit of a rebel after all. My goal and wish is to encourage people to always follow their hearts first and foremost. I want people to create what they felt should be created next, not what some trend or algorithm told them to make.

I should indeed insert a caveat here, and say that following the mighty algorithm is indeed the best path to more follows, likes, and social media success. But, that’s not what this particular blog has ever focused on. Everything posted here is a true and honest account of personal life histories, art journeys, experiences with art supplies, and much more! And that makes me feel incredibly happy. It’s always been the goal I hoped for with regard to this site from the very beginning. Artists connecting with other artists and sharing their own individual views of the world. It’s what makes Doodlewash so very different from others places you find on the Internet, save many of the wonderful featured artists you’ll find on this site. Together, we’re carving out an honest world of experience and possibility. We are each so different and yet art can bring us together in incredible and profound ways. It’s been years since I was that awkward boy coming of age and attempting to understand how I should proceed in this world given my own unique traits. Today, I invite you all to embrace yours. There’s nothing more perfect than the moment you fully grasp the beauty of being comfortable in your own skin.

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Elephant Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
22 Comments
  1. Laura M Bailey 1 month ago

    Charlie, you make me wish that drawing was my gift but alas….I content myself to simply admire and appreciate yours. You are very much a gifted writer as well. Your posts are infinitely well composed yet relatable and warm.
    Great job, Charlie. I’m so glad you are uniquely , authentically, you.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕What a wonderful compliment!! And anyone can sketch! It’s just the gift of practice! 😉

  2. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    Love your elephant – the way you used the colors and line gives it a mosaic appearance without taking away from the reality of it. You hit it on the nail when you talk about embracing your own uniqueness. I spent a good deal of my life doing things I didn’t really enjoy simply because I thought I was supposed to. It took a while to convince people I wasn’t sulking or trying to be a pain. I just simply didn’t want to go boating or swimming or play sports. When someone really enjoys something it’s hard for them to understand when others don’t.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Glad you liked this one! And yeah, you’re so right. When people love something they’re blind to the idea that others might not enjoy it. I’m guilty of that with sketching because I want the entire world to join me! hehe But it’s sooooo much FUN!

  3. Karen Fortier 1 month ago

    I love your elephant Charlie! I am glad that you embraced your uniqueness early in life. Sometimes life throws us curveballs and it takes us a while to get back to that acceptance. It is nice when we finally get there again. Being unique and proud of it is how we all should be. Enjoy your weekend Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah, that’s the joy of getting older. We can finally just DO what we really love and leave behind what we don’t care to do as well. Hope you have a wonderful weekend as well!

  4. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 month ago

    I love your elephant so super cute!!! I agree fully with what you said about individuality. When we are being ourselves we are giving the world something fresh and new. Now that is awesome!!! wishing you guys the best weekend. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Yay to that! So true! The world doesn’t need a bunch of copycats… they need us to show up and be our wonderfully unique selves! Hope you have an awesome weekend!

  5. Susan Feniak 1 month ago

    Superb elephant Charlie 😍

  6. Lisa 1 month ago

    I think it was because of my dad that the search for individualism took hold in me so early. If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you too? It was also his fault that I didn’t have a lot of compassion until I was in my 30. He believed in truth takes no prisoners no matter whose feelings get hurt. I’ve learned to temper that trait. I’m kind of bossy, maybe a bit loud, and I ask for what I want. Those are the good things and possibly the bad things all wrapped up in this skin.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Good things and bad things are deciphered in the approach we take indeed! 😃💕 I was a lot more headstrong when I was young, but glad that today I’m much more heartstrong. 😉

  7. smzang 1 month ago

    Charlie says, “There’s nothing more perfect than the moment you fully grasp the beauty of being comfortable in your own skin”

    A huge amen!

    Your elephant has me wondering what elephants think about. Do they worry?
    I know they feel joy and anger….I feel an elephant poem coming on. : )

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Hehe… I often wonder what elephants think about. I think they definitely need a poem!!

  8. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Beautiful elephant, Charlie!!

  9. Robert J. Coleman 1 month ago

    That’s one happy elephant, with a square mile worth of hide! One can spend days painting all the details of an elephant’s skin closeup, or back out and capture the spirit of the beast. The choice is one’s own, based on personal preferences, not on someone else’s “rules”. Thanks for all your guest artists who display their own individuality so well.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 Glad you liked my happy elephant! And thrilled you enjoy the guest artists posts. I do as well. It’s so inspiring to not only see the work of others but learn of the story of their art journey as well.

  10. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    Elephants are my favorite animal. So large, but yet so gentle. Nice job on this one! I may not be following the prompts this month (I am doing 2 other groups), but you inspire me every day to create something everyday and you bring a lot of memories out! 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕Ah yay! That’s my goal! I just hope to inspire people to make! Thrilled to know I’m still inspiring you, my friend!

  11. Loan Anh Pham 1 month ago

    I love elephants. And I love your elephant sketch, too. His eyes look straight ahead. To your writing, of course, I love it. Not only I read it, I’ve seen it, have experienced it. That’s why I’m here. I feel comfortable and safety here. Thank you, Charlie!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Loan! 😃💕That’s the best compliment and encouragement I could ever hope to hear, my friend! That’s my entire concept with Doodlewash. Thrilled you’re enjoying it here!

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