Today is Draw A Bird Day, an unofficial holiday, yet one that’s been celebrated for over 70 years. In honor of the day, we have this little watercolor sketch in only two colors. In England, back in 1943, a little 7 year old girl by the name of Dorie Cooper went to the hospital to visit her uncle, a wounded soldier. He had lost his leg and much of his sense of hope, and to cheer him up Dorrie requested he draw a bird for her. Looking out his window, he spotted a robin, and drew a picture of it. The little girl giggled and told him he really wasn’t a very good artist, but said she would proudly hang it up in her room anyway. Each time she came to visit, other soldiers joined in and actually held drawing contests to see who could draw the best bird for her, until the hospital ward’s walls were covered in drawings of birds. Tragically, just 3 years later, Dorrie was struck by a car and killed. Today, on her birthday, to commemorate the joy she created with her simple request for art, draw a bird day has continued on April 8th each year. It’s a day about drawing and sharing a piece of art to remind others of the joy and hope to be found in the simple things in life, and that, to me, is definitely a day worth celebrating.
When I very first started blogging, I quickly met a lovely community of fellow artist bloggers. My friend Laura helped extend this lovely day and act of joy by hosting a draw a bird day on the 8th day of each and every month. It was so wonderful to share our birds, and really helped keep me inspired in those very early days of learning how to draw and paint with watercolor. And that’s why, to this day, you’ll often find a bird of some kind in the 8th spot on the monthly prompt lists. If you’re wondering what my first drawing of a bird was, well it was a rooster, or since I was in a French theme that month, le coq gaulois. This, I shared with my mother by having it printed onto a kitsch little throw pillow. Even the simplest little acts of art and kindness can put on smile on someone’s face, and so it’s always been my goal to support art and artists around the world. And why I encourage everyone to post and share whatever they made that day. Sometimes, there aren’t a lot of comments or reactions, but rest assured that someone, somewhere in the world is smiling because of the art you just shared.
In this month of being a kid again, I think it’s important to remember how the smallest things in life could bring us all the happiness we required back then. Though life gets more complex as we get older, this doesn’t really have to change. When I look at the world around me, it’s still the same place, filled with the same mysteries and wonder that it held for me as a kid. Little Dorie asked for only a simple drawing as a way to cheer up her uncle. This innocent and selfless act created a tradition that lives on today. Though fine art is destined for galleries, the gift of our simplest line art is destined to find it’s way into someone’s heart. Beyond the crazy and often awful news headlines, lies our everyday lives with the people we love. This is the most important thing of all. So draw, sketch, and paint each and every day. The world, now more than ever, needs to see itself through your eyes so it can remember how to smile. There’s power in that pen and paint brush. And someone, somewhere, is waiting to enjoy your unique and wonderful art! If you drew and/or painted a bird day, please add a link to your art in the comments below and share it with us! (if you shared it here in Doodlewash Club, you can click the caption at the very top of the gallery lightbox pop-up to get the link to the individual image!)
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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!