Embracing Our Natural Talents

Cow Tongue In Nose Watercolor Illustration

For Day 18 of #WorldWatercolorMonth, and our prompt of “Clouds,” I did what I normally do with a prompt like this, quickly splash on some clouds in the background and then choose some sort of actual subject matter. In this case, I inexplicably chose a cow with its tongue in its nose. Certainly, this is an impressive talent. I once knew a girl whose tongue was so long that she could touch the very tip of her nose with it. This was something all of my friends would request to see each time she was near. And while indeed impressive, as far I can remember she was never able to actually jam it inside, so the cow has her beat in this particular talent. It strikes me that no matter what talent we pride ourselves on, there’s always someone out there who is just a bit more talented. Each year, during World Watercolor Month, I discover so many fabulous artists who are miles ahead of me in skill and aesthetic. While this could seem daunting, instead I’m perfectly inspired, and it’s a joy to discover them. It’s wonderful to know what’s possible even if I can’t make it possible just yet. But, what I love most is that each of us has a unique and interesting style, no matter our current skill level or approach, and that’s what makes this month so perfectly beautiful!

My own talent is simply all about cheering people on. I enjoy inspiring people to sketch stuff and want them to make things in their own unique way. This is why I don’t have any videos or books that are like traditional art instruction. I’m no master, after all. I just scribble, doodle, color, but that in itself is a bit of a method. Most everything I make is completed in less than an hour, sometimes less than 30 minutes. That’s because I don’t use the processes that take many hours to complete, but simply enjoy a fun and gleeful bit of sketching and coloring like a kid in the moment. In my current life, this is all the time I have, so it’s become part of my style and approach. Equally, it’s why I didn’t create a traditional step-by-step art book, but instead a jump in and DO Activity Book that puts all of the technical aspects in the background. The entire book is actually a unique step-by-step process, but that’s just our little secret. This was quite a big leap of faith, as there simply isn’t a book like this out there. And yes, there are some folks who just wanted me to make a book in the same exact way everyone else does. But, that’s just not me. So, I made the book that actually IS my approach. It’s my personal hope that if you DO try things this way, you’ll be so quickly hooked that you’ll want to take more of those actual art classes and learn more about whatever it was that excited you most.

I had hoped to release a second Activity Book on “Animals” last month, but then World Watercolor Month started before I could finish it. Also, I’ve watched people who have taken the the true spirit of my “sketch and color like a kid again” book to heart in our little Facebook Group share their pages and basically, achieve insane progress! People who had never sketched regularly before look like they’ve been sketching all of their lives. So, I want to make sure I have some more challenging activities in the next one just to keep up with everyone. And in these books, I’ll be sharing everything I’ve discovered, but again, in my own unique way. I’m considering making an even lower priced e-book version available for people who just want the tips and insights, so let me know what you think about that idea in the comments. Like my art, I myself am a work in progress, and I appreciate all of the feedback I can get along the way. I love to try new things, that have something different to offer in the world. I don’t set out to break the rules, I just don’t like following a bunch of rules as it’s not as much fun. I sincerely believe that we each have something incredible to share with the world that can in some small way change it. And, that can only happen when we begin by embracing our natural talents.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermilion, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, 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!
Cow Tongue In Nose Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
29 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 months ago

    Cheering people on is a very special talent, you can take pride on mastering your skill.
    The cow is rather funny, that long tongue doing exactly what we moms admonish our kids NOT to do. But then, cow, so who cares?I like its mop top hair do, pretty much like my sons’ when they were little.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕haha! Yeah, if a kid did this all the time I’d have to correct him. After being perfectly fascinated, of course. lol

  2. Sharon Nolfi 3 months ago

    LOL this post. I remember trying to reach my nose with my tongue as a child, but I never succeeded! An E-book version is a good idea, although I personally like paper.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 hehe… Yeah, I was never good talented enough to pull off this trick! And yeah… I think the paper one is best for the book. But, thought about offering the e-book version for folks who just want the tips.

  3. Karen Fortier 3 months ago

    What a great cow! Those tongues are something. There were cows up the road from us and I loved to hand feed them because their tongues would pull the grass from my hand and they felt so weird and strong. Your doodles always cause a flood of memories that were long forgotten to rise again to the surface.😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 Yeah… cow tongues are a wonder to behold! lol And yay! That makes me the happiest to hear that these posts bring back good memories!

  4. Sandra Strait 3 months ago

    Your post today was especially moo – ving (sorry, I can’t resist a good pun). Personally, I want the whole magilla when it comes to your book,, but it would be nice to have the tips and techniques on my kindle for quick searches.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 hehe… love a good pun, always!! And thanks on the feedback… yeah… this would just a be in addition to the printed version. Hoping I can set it up so folks who purchased the print version get a deal. 😉

  5. smzang 3 months ago

    Even before I read, I must tell you I absolutely love that painting!!

    and I love the article…especially the mention that the girl could never quite match the cow
    in tongue aerobics. That has me holding my sides…I love it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕hehe… not sure what a cow with its tongue in its nose spoke to me, but hey… I never question creativity! lol Glad you enjoyed this!

  6. Carol Hartmann 3 months ago

    Love this sweet bovine! You are the BEST cheering section for many of us, and I’m thankful for all the cheers you’ve given me, Charlie, especially at the beginning of my journey. 📣 I’m looking forward to purchasing your second Doodlewash activity book. I’ve had a lot of fun with your first one so far 😘.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Carol! 😃💕 It makes my heart happy to hear you say that. It bugs me I don’t have to time to comment as much as I used to. I’m spinning all the plates I started spinning… hehe 😊

  7. Lisa 3 months ago

    I love your cow. A year or two ago I decided I was going to teach myself how to draw and paint a cow. I have models all around me, so that was the easy part. The hard part was to convince my eyes to see the truth of a cow face. They look sooo long, but in truth, face on, the face is foreshortened and is really only about as long as the ears are wide. I never became a cow master, but one of my girls is hanging in a friend’s office, where she is admired daily in all of her glorious cowness.😁

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Love that story… so true! Cows are deceptively tough to paint… I had to erase a rather long-faced scribble entirely and start over! lol But they’re such cool creatures!

  8. Amelia walters 3 months ago

    Love your cow and loved your book . It is so lovely to have and to hold and I think that is one of the real joys of it. Could it be made to be able to,purchase it either way ?? You will know how many have been bought this time so gives you an idea . I have bought 3 as such a lovely gift for friends and I refer back to my finished one when I need a distraction !!! Well done Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Amelia! 😃💕So thrilled you enjoyed my book! And yes! It will always be a printed version, just considered offering a ebook option as well. I still love printed books best!

  9. Mary Roff 3 months ago

    Love your book in print form, Charlie but have to admit I would be tempted to have both versions. Love your cow!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕hehe… yeah… I love the printed version… it’s fun to hold something you made in your hands. But yeah… an ebook bonus version might be a good thing as well. 😉

  10. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    Bessie is so cute! Reading your post this morning, made me wonder how the heck you got in my head. Yesterday while on IG, I saw a few pieces people posted for WWCM and I immediately was embarassed. Embarassed for myself, thinking why am I posting my stuff? I can’t paint like those people. It really bothered me and I thought about it all day. I had a chat with myself as to why I was really doing it. 1. I love to sketch/paint and I want others to try it. 2. I am doing it for Charlie, ‘cuz he’s a nice guy and works hard for this. 3. I’m over halfway through the month and I can’t quit now. I don’t like unfinished things. 4. When July is over, I won’t have to post every day, just things that I feel are worthy of posting. 5. I’ve come a long way since 2011 and need to get out my older sketches! Thank you Charlie for inspiring me to look at others work and see what I can learn from them and you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕I’m so thrilled you’ve been inspired!! And yeah… the current state of social media makes us want to only post what’s “worthy” which I really hate for art. I think we should post everything!! hehe… but I get it, so I started my Sketching Stuff Facebook Group as a closed group for people who just want to share whatever the heck they made they day. 😉 You should join us and post those other sketches there – https://www.facebook.com/groups/sketchingstuff/

  11. LoriCtoo 3 months ago

    Thanks Charlie, I’ll give it a try!
    🙂

  12. June Hadaway 3 months ago

    That cow is just adorable. I will always think of this cow and the girl you knew in school when I see a real one. I am excited to know you are going to be publishing another activity book. Your first one is great. I love it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕hehe… yeah… I’ve never been talented in that way. And yay! Thrilled you’re enjoying my book! World Watercolor Month came before I could get the next one completed, so I’m hoping to do so next month! 😊

  13. Fanna Turano 3 months ago

    Newsy and inspiring post, Charlie! I like your suggestion of an online “tips and tricks” book. While I collect and cherish actual books, I gravitate more towards online info. So…to your point: Yes! I’d love something along this line for DW or CO’S.

    I am absolutely clueless about many watercolor things that would probably be in your tips book. I have NO idea which colors are warm/cool, earth tones, I cannot even visualize the “blue that’s inside this red pigment”. My painting table and the room in which it’s housed, is exploding. Tips for organization of filled palettes, travel palettes, tubes & pans from the same manufacturer, what to do with hundreds of brushes, ad nauseam would be a relief.

    In short, but long–I’d welcome a no-nonsense, “Watercolor Book for Dummies,” authored by you. I need help.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Fanna for the feedback! 😃💕 Yeah, I don’t use traditional techniques in watercolor or worry over specific pigments, etc. Yet, also, I’m a sketcher, not a painter, so I refer people on to my fave instructors if they want to try traditional watercolor painting. Everyone should try it! Yet, that’s why my first art instruction book came out as a Sketching Stuff Activity Book! hehe And my second one I hope to publish next month. I DO talk about color and warm/cool etc in my first book. But it’s all in a way that’s not too technical on purpose. There’s actually very little we HAVE to know in order to make great art. I decided to just focus on the essential bits and leave the rest out. 😉

  14. teresam61 3 months ago

    I lOVE cows…..their beautiful peaceful faces…..and that is a GREAT rendering Charlie!!! I’m trying to teach myself to have more of your easy-going outlook about watercolor painting. I confess that I am still so afraid of failing sometimes
    that I just stare at the blank white paper & never start. So I am very motivated by your fun, laid back attitude about it. Thank you! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      Thanks so much, Teresa! 😃💕 So thrilled to hear you’re motivated! I’m a sketcher who colors with watercolor…. a bit different than traditional watercolor painting. More like coloring like when we were kids!! hehe If you haven’t yet, check out my Activity Book meant to help get over that artist block and DO something fun – https://dwsh.co/ActivityBookNature

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