Mushroom Forest Storybook Watercolor Illustration

Entering The Mushroom Forest

For our Doodlewash prompt of “Forest,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Overgrown,” we have this fairytale mushroom forest. I felt like doodling mushrooms, so I just made them gigantic as you can see by the Little Charlie whom I added for scale. And though it’s Halloween month and ripe for something spooky, I opted for an impossibly happy forest that welcomes everyone who enters. Of course, most of the mushrooms shown are actually poisonous or psychedelic, since those are the prettiest, and the ones most often found in storybooks. Many people thought Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was on drugs when he wrote that incredible story. Yet, there’s no evidence whatsoever that Carroll was under the influence of mind-altering drugs, unless one counts creativity as one. In truth, when artists and writers simply let their minds wander, they can take us to fantastically unexpected places. Letting my own mind wander today, led me to a completely different style and approach along with a childlike enthusiasm that led to using all 12 colors in my current palette (carefully curated to work well together). I’ve always wanted to travel through a place like this, and luckily, thanks to my own imagination, I can. Whenever I like. I’m not holding back this month as I travel down this road of creativity, and I hope you’re enjoying the ride!

For the sketch on this one, I used bolder lines for a more graphic, coloring book look. I also tried using far less lines than I usually do and simplify things a bit. The scene is entirely made up, composed from my previous practice in sketching mushrooms and a hodgepodge of mushroom references. And I’m rather excited to have created my own unique little world in the process.

Mushroom Forest Storybook Inktober 2019 Illustration
As much as I’ve talked about wanting to illustrate a children’s book, I’ve not really tried anything that would qualify for that until this month. The truth is, I was standing at the edge, worried that I wouldn’t be able to DO it properly. Now, I’m deep in the woods of my own imagination and I’ve no clue if I’m doing it properly, but I’m having so much fun that I’m not worried about it at all. That’s the beauty of a journey built on whimsy, there is no right or wrong. It’s just an exploration of thoughts and ideas and traveling down that next road that has the shiniest appeal. So, yes, creativity alone is indeed a mind-altering drug and the only one that I happily endorse.

I’ve been a happy cheerleader when it comes to encouraging others to DO things and try new things, because I know that it’s the best way to excel on this crazy art journey. But, on my own path, I’ve been a bit less experimental. I’ve told you to go for it and DO it, but then I haven’t always done the same myself. This month, I decided to throw caution to the wind and create whatever came to mind, instead of what I thought I could actually do well. And the effect has been transformative for me. I won’t say that I have no fear, as that’s not entirely possible, but I will say that fear no longer stops me from taking that next step. I’m more excited than I’ve ever been to show up and sketch stuff! I never knew what would appear before, but these days, I’ve absolutely no clue whatsoever. Truly, I started with a reference of a fall forest today and then a little voice, no doubt that pesky Little Charlie, demanded overgrown fungus. So, I just followed that voice and for once, I didn’t even pause to question it at all. I’ve no idea now where this journey will take me next, but I can truly and joyfully say that I’m beyond thrilled to be entering the mushroom forest.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Yellow Ochre, Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Cobalt Turquoise, Indigo, Benzimida Orange, Opus (Vivid Pink), and Leaf Green. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!
Mushroom Forest Storybook Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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43 thoughts on “Entering The Mushroom Forest

  1. Your mushroom forest is WUN-derful, Charlie! So colorful, and immediately you know there’s a story there. You can’t help wondering what it might be. I’ve been so impressed with your offerings this month. The things you are DO-ing are phenomenal!

  2. Excellent! The shrooms make a great imaginary forest. I think you could do a picture book easily. Stuff like this, and your animals would be very appealing to the little ankle biters. Spend a Saturday in the children’s department of your public library looking at book illustrations to get an idea what publishers are looking for. It would be time well spent.

  3. You’ve hit on the key to success with your book concept: get down on the floor of the forest and look at the scene with the eyes of Little Charlie! Today’s Doodle has all the charms of the view of a child enchanted by the beauty of a forest seen from the lowest perspective. It’s terrific and I can see a book flowing from this position. Love it!

  4. As a lover of forests and mushrooms I was excited before I even started to read your post. I also say Go For It!!! Who cares if you are doing it properly! Your creativity and flair for writing is uniquely you and that alone will give whatever you attempt, life and a freshness. I think that a lot of people go down the “Proper” road and is like everything that has been seen or done. So I reemphasize….Go For It! Lol I had to write that just one more time 😂 ♥️

    1. awww thanks, Margaret! 😃💕 Yay! I think I shall go for it… though as you know it probably won’t be the sort of approach everyone else takes. A good reason to do so it that you fit in a genre and sell more books, but I’d rather make something new instead!

  5. Little Charlie in the Mushroom Forrest is spectacular! All the colors – yay. When asked if he used drugs, Salvador Dali once replied, “I AM drugs!” I’ve taken this as a personal motto for many years.

  6. It’s a wonderful world, Charlie ❤️. You’ve really entered your adventure this month. I’m excited as thinking about that. It’s encouraged you and friends surrounding you. I also have had some, no clues forwards, but it’s time to go forward 😘

  7. You are going to do those children’s books and they will be a huge success!!!!!!. Your enthusiasm for this month’s adventure is evident in your illustrations and they are wonderful! You continue to inspire everyday!

    1. Thank you, Mary! 😃💕 I’m having an insane amount of fun this month. It’s like I’m starting at the beginning of the story all over again. In many ways, I think I am. And, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

  8. I am a big fan of house size mushrooms. Love your forest of them. I don’t like to eat them however. It must be the full moon making our imaginations kick in, I drew a ballerina pumpkin girl. ????? Bahawa!

          1. Oh my gosh! Walt Disney walked on the grounds in Disneyland, unlike WDW. That in itself should entice you to go. Weren’t you looking for a vacation spot???? 😉

  9. Charlie, you most definitely should do a children’s book! The drawings you’ve done so far this month show just how imaginative and creative you are (though most of us had no doubts about that at all!). I think you could even create an adventure for Little Charlie using the Doodlewashes from the past two weeks – amazing things can happen in a mushroom forest!!!

  10. This is totally trippy, those are some magic mushrooms for sure 😉 I don’t know about Lewis Carroll being on drugs, but we know a far better type of addiction is responsible for this mushroomy marvel.

  11. You’re still making magic, Charlie. Don’t ever stop.
    I think you are doing some of your best work this month…
    that is not to diminish your previous work. I am still
    enthralled by it, but you seem to have found a new
    energy that transfers itself to the consumer. DOodlewash
    is a magical kingdom…a joy to explore!

    1. Thank you SO much my friend! 😃💕 I too feel that energy this month. Something clicked and changed. I’m having a blast! And, of course, starting all over again at the beginning of the story as I figure out what the heck I’m DOing! 😊

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