Today, I’m running behind a bit, as we had friends over early this evening and I hadn’t sketched anything yet. I asked them to forgive me a few short minutes while I scrawled a quick little two color doodlewash to celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day. It’s lovely to have friends who know you well enough that they don’t even bat an eye or question something as ridiculous as that. We then had a bit of pizza and I’m now back at the computer for a moment to make a post before heading to bed. I rather love elephants, and think they’re incredibly awesome animals. So, I’m happy that they get their own day to be celebrated and appreciated. Today was a bit of an animal toss up, as it’s also World Rhino Day as well as International Rabbit Day, but since elephants are the world’s largest land mammal I figured they deserved their place in the sun. Actually their trunk alone can weigh over 400 pounds, so that’s rather impressive. Just like an artist, preferring one hand over another, elephants are right-tusked or left-tusked, favoring one tusk over the other, causing it to become shorter over time. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen with our hands.
And though elephants have the largest brain in the animal kingdom, it’s still not quite as large as humans when compared to overall body weight. But they still have a highly developed brain and are rather smart. As a kid I adored them most of all the animals, because their sheer size made them practically epic. It was amazing to see one at the zoo, especially when I was much smaller and they seemed ever larger. Way back when, before it was deemed inappropriate to do so, I was able to take a ride on an elephant with my mother. She still talks about how unexpectedly bumpy and precarious the ride was, though I was too young to remember it properly. What I remember instead was the smell of the elephant. A rather harsh and earthy smell that burned my nostrils a bit. I far preferred simply viewing them from the ground so I could see them properly. Once, I was certain that one of them caught my eye and we were having a silent conversation. This was probably not the case, but my imagination, then and now, was always on overdrive.
I learned as a kid that elephants actually have terribly poor digestion that runs at only half efficiency. This fact was only interesting to a kid because it means that they fart a lot, releasing an extraordinary amount of methane throughout the day. Not a particularly wonderful fact to remember, but that’s just how kids think. What’s more important about elephants is that they are highly affectionate and caring creatures. If a baby is in trouble or complaining a bit about something, the entire family will rush to its rescue and touch or caress it to make it feel better. That, as an adult, is the fact that makes me smile most and love these creatures so much. Despite our superior brains, we’re not the only animals on the planet who can experience the beautiful effects of love and caring. This pure instinct is one of the best possible traits that any living being can hope to possess. So, it’s with much love and respect that I take a moment to raise a glass to this thoughtful creature as I humbly (and quickly!) celebrate Elephant Appreciation Day.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Vermilion, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click here!
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!