For our prompt of “Gator,” I wasn’t sure what to make so I let my mind wander a bit. One of the first things that came to mind was the idea of crocodile tears, which is a way to describe a fake or insincere display of emotion. As it turns out all alligators are crocodiles (or crocodilians to be a touch more accurate) and both are known to cry when eating their prey. It’s romantic to think this is a show of some sort of regret, but it’s really just caused by all of the hissing and huffing they do while chowing down. How I began to wonder what would happen if a newly born alligator and dragonfly immediately became friends, is anyone’s guess. I’m not sure how this story ends, but it all depends on which view you take. If it’s pure science, this one would have a sad ending, I’m afraid. But, if you take a more romantic view, then perhaps this unlikely pair becomes friends for the six short months that a dragonfly lives and those tears are sincere, after all. A bit bittersweet, to be sure, but still a much better ending.

For me, I always choose the romantic notion of things. Perhaps it’s my perpetual optimism or just the fact that I adore stories about love and hope. The idea that experiencing something truly special is always worth the journey, no matter how the story ends. Though, yes, I also adore a perfectly happy ending. These are the kind of stories that end so nicely and neatly that they always feel like a fantasy. But, that’s my favorite part of stories. I don’t need to be reminded of what’s wrong in the world, that’s clear enough. I want to be shown a world that should exist. Not a utopia, as that’s perfectly boring, but one that has all of the elements one finds in a wish. A dream that just maybe we could sort it all out and things will turn out as we’d like them to in the end. It’s the kind of story I always had spinning in my head as a child. The one that’s just a touch impossible, but just feels right.

My head has been spinning lately with the story I might write and illustrate. And, instead of trying to actually choose something and write it, I’m just going to keep practicing a bit this month and see what crazy things comes to mind. In the midst of all of those ideas, I’m certain one will form that excites me enough to create an entire book. It’s fun to dream of ideas, and I do often get a bit lost in the “what if” of it all. Yet, that’s always the best way to approach one’s art. Instead of chases answers, it’s often better to just keep on asking questions. The right question will appear and then what happens next will feel a bit like magic. It’s that moment when something that didn’t even register as a thought previously, becomes the only thing you can think about. I adore this process, and yes, it makes for a rather romantic journey. The kind of journey where everything feels somehow amazing, engaging and beautifully sincere, even crocodile tears.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, 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? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Crocodile Tears Baby Alligator Dragonfly Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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32 thoughts on “Crocodile Tears

  1. Wonderful Charlie! I have a younger sister that is an expert at crocodile tears but enough of that. Ooh a book? It has only been a matter of time as to when you would ride and illustrate one. We are all here for moral support!

  2. So well said, Charlie. Definitely need a happy ending! Can you put all the little critters in a book? Each day brings more wonderful characters in your post…would be difficult to choose.

  3. I don’t usually go “awww” over crocs, but your painting is awesome! Gorgeous colors! You know, maybe the libelule (umm, that’s French for dragonfly; my friend in France taught me that) has a chance. Crocs “tolerate” butterflies who land on their face and drink their tears so the cute libelule has a great chance of surviving! Yay! 😀 Gorgeous painting, Charlie!
    P.S. I sent you a private comment on your contact page. When you can….nothing urgent.

  4. This is adorable! You’ve painted the only alligator I like because I really don’t like gators or crocs at all – but this guy is charming even if he’s only faking it. And the dragonfly – gorgeous, because, well, dragonfly and gorgeous, next to each other in the dictionary. These two have a great story for you to tell. As for your dreams – keep right on dreaming, You’re right about what the world needs more of. You brightened my day – and I’m being sincere.

    1. Aww thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, reptiles and amphibians are not my first choice for cute, when I think of them. But, I like trying to make them appear a touch cuter. I’m so thrilled I could brighten your day!

  5. Ok Charlie, I have an idea that could be both sad and funny and magical! Poor dragon fly gets eaten, the croc sprouts wings and finds out what it’s like to fly then you decide…dream sequence or no 🤔😉😆

  6. I know some people can just outline and come up with their story, but I always have to play with ‘what if’s until suddenly one of them snaps into place and blam! The whole story just falls into place. From what I’ve read from various authors, I suspect the ‘what iffers’ are less prolific, but more innovative and for my taste, more interesting.

  7. Namaste, Mr. Charlie O! My name is Benjamin. I am 6 & 1/2 years old. I love to paint with watercolors just like you. I am not so good like you but someday I will be. I started watercolors cause I wanted to paint the same way that My Jodi does. She is my friend and she is really really great with watercolors. My friend Mr. Mike painted an awesome Dragonfly and he put it on his nature photo blog. He did a watercolor every day last month. I couldn’t do every day but my Auntie H and I did do lots of days. We have so much fun painting together. I love this watercolor Dragonfly and the baby Crocodile coming out of the egg. Gem helped me read the story that you wrote. I hope they become friends and the Dragonfly doesn’t get chomped up. I love all kinds of Dragonflies and other bugs and Crocodiles and other animals too. I have a toy fluffy Crocodile that came from the Australia Zoo and his name is Crikey. Thank you and Bye!

    1. An explanation : My Jodi is the name that Benjamin gave to Jodi McKinney. Mr. Mike is Mike Powell, a talented photographer and blogger. Gem is the name that Benjamin gave to me!

    2. Aww thanks so much, Benjamin! 😃💕 You are amazing! Never stop painting. Keep right on making things every single day! You have a wonderful gift and the world needs to watch it grow. Share what you make and love each moment of the journey my friend!

  8. Hello Charlie,

    Lovely sketch and even lovelier post! Only you could’ve made a croc look non-creepy. I love the way you perceive the world and the fact that you too believe in happy endings is so heartening. Last but most important, thanks so so much for your kind words yesterday. Your words provided a lot of comfort and a bit of confidence. I wont stop painting but I will definitely learn to take things one day at a time. Thanks a bunch Charlie!


    1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Aww I’m so happy my words helped yesterday. Yes, please! Never give up! It’s a weird and wild journey… we always want it to be a constant leap forward, but it’s just not like that in reality. Yet, if you stick with it, those leaps forward always appear. It’s the craziest thing… and when they DO… you realize what it’s all been about!

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