We’re completing the first week of World Watercolor Month and it’s been amazing to see the thousands of watercolors that have been posted so far on social media in celebration of the month! If you’re trying the 31 day challenge, then one week down and just three more and three little days to go! Hang in there… it’s totally DOable! Today’s official prompt, if you’re following along with those, is playing games, which for some reason, made me think of the game of Jacks. This game is of ancient origin and is also called “knucklebones” because, instead of metal pieces, it was originally played with the ankle bones of a sheep. This was thankfully well before my time and so we simply had little metallic jacks and a red bouncy ball. I remember playing the game, but can’t remember if I was any good at it. Mostly, I just remember bouncing the ball around and making mad little grabs for the pointy metal bits that left little marks on my hand. Even without the sheep bones, it was not a game for the faint of heart and not terribly entertaining. I quickly moved on to other games as I got older.
I was bit nerdy as a kid, and well, probably still as an adult, so I liked games that required mental skill over physical prowess. I liked cards games, but I think my favorite were games like Mastermind, where you had to break the code created by another player or Battleship. Both of these were really just guessing games, but required a bit of quick thinking that I enjoyed. My family loved word games most like Boggle and Scrabble. Our family game nights would consist of geeking out over how many words we could assemble. And often included rousing arguments about the validity of certain words so we always had a dictionary nearby as an inanimate judge. By the late 70’s, the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary was released and appeared at every family gathering after that. This was an abridged dictionary that only included playable words that conformed to the game’s rules. The idea of automatically conforming to rules and not gleefully arguing them out made me lose interest and so I left it to my aunts to play and moved on again to other games.
Video games had been growing up along with me and were suddenly reaching maturity becoming all the rage. In 1980, Pac-Man was realized and I was so enamored with it that I designed and reconstructed a little model version of the arcade machine, complete with joystick, as my Valentine’s Day box for school. In my memory, it was a perfect replica, but I think the real version left a lot to be desired. Later in life, I would go on to direct creative teams making online games for a few years, which was incredibly fun, and so I guess I have Pac-Man to thank for that. But what I’ve loved most over the years is that this little kid who liked to laugh and play games has never become a distant memory. He’s still very much a part of me and who I am today. I like to always look for the joy in life and never take it too seriously. And when it comes to painting and sketching, I just want to have a lot of fun! That’s what keeps me coming back each and every day. It would be terribly daunting to think I had to show up and create a masterpiece, so I think of it more as simply taking a “fun break,” like I did all those years ago as a little kid, just playing games.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, 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!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!