Entering The Mushroom Forest

Mushroom Forest Storybook Watercolor Illustration

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
Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
43 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 1 month ago

    How cool is this! I love it Charlie! It has been watching to see what you will DO with the double prompts! You will DO that children’s book, I have no doubts! 😉🤗🤩

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Thrilled you’re enjoying these this month. It’s been so much fun! And I hope to make a picture book… though it just might be for people of all ages. 😉

  2. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕I’m so thrilled you’re enjoying them! It’s like something clicked over and I’m not sure there’s any going back! hehe… it’s so much fun!

  3. Lisa 1 month ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Appreciate the vote of confidence! I really do want to make a picture book, but can’t decide if it’s a true kid’s book or a gift book with a message for all ages.

  4. Robert J. Coleman 1 month ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Bob! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this! It was quite a departure from my usual style and I’m rather loving it! hehe… total child-like coloring book feel. Definitely needs a story to go with it!

  5. Margaret Parker Brown 1 month ago

    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 😂 ♥️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      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!

  6. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 month ago

    Happy dancing this is fabulous!!! I am so happy you are letting loose more. I hope little Charlie is having a most excellent adventure in gigantic mushroom land!!! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… Little Charlie is doing cartwheels and babbling on he’s so excited. Suffice it to say… anything goes this month and anything can happen next!

  7. Sharon Nolfi 1 month ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 Haha!! Love that line… I think I’ll steal that and use it in a conversation! lol 😉

  8. Loan Anh Pham 1 month ago

    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 😘

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Loan! 😃💕Yeah, I’m having so much forward lurching forward this month into the unknown. It’s so much fun!

  9. Jerson Antao 1 month ago

    Well done Charlie!…very nicely done….looks very colourful and interesting.😊

  10. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      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!

  11. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 hehe! Yay to imaginations!! More, more fun! Yeah, my imagination is letting loose this month!

      • LoriCtoo 1 month ago

        I forgot to tell you, you can visit a mushroom forest at Disneyland. It’s Tinkerbell’s meet and greet area! I love going in there!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

          hehe! You know I’ve never been to Disneyland in California. I really need to go someday!

          • LoriCtoo 1 month ago

            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???? 😉

          • Author
            Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

            hehe! True! That’s definitely an allure! Though actually I lived in the city where Walt Disney started and have walked through were he first saw little mouse that later became Mickey! 😉

  12. Heidi S. 1 month ago

    Love the atmosphere of this painting. Not painting / drawing at the time. Just reading. Way behind…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Heidi! 😃💕 Glad you enjoyed this! Well… painted drawing, so… a doodlewash! 😉

  13. Silvia Elena 1 month ago

    I love the colors, the composition and the atmosphere, very beautiful!!!!

  14. Mariam 1 month ago

    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!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, Mariam! 😃💕Aww so happy you see stories here. It’s been a blast this month. And I definitely think there are adventures ahead for Little Charlie in the mushroom forest!

      • Mariam 1 month ago

        ” Little Charlie in the mushroom forest” Great name for a book, don’t you think?

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

          Could be! I just have to think up the story to go with it! 😉 hehe

  15. Linda Calverley 1 month ago

    Love this and the idea of a mushroom forest.

  16. Jacob 1 month ago

    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.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks, my friend! 😃💕 I feel like I’ve been on mushrooms all month long this month… hehe… I’m way outside my comfort zone!! lol Thrilled you liked this!

  17. smzang 1 month ago

    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!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      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! 😊

  18. Kunal Thakore 3 weeks ago

    Nicely done, Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Kunal! 😃💕 This was one of my favorites this month!

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