For our prompt of “Fawn” today, I sketched a little one just learning to walk. I think baby deer are just about the cutest things on the planet. As ever, in preparation for the sketch I studied videos of cute little fawns frolicking. They bounce around in such a crazy fashion that it’s often hilarious to watch. In truth, I got so lost watching videos that I almost ran out of time to make a sketch. I become like a kid who’s just been sat down in front of a Disney movie and I sort of go into a trance. Fawns have little white spots that also add to their charm, and these are a form of camouflage that works well for spring and disappears when they get older. This is needed because you’ll often find them sitting alone as mom is out foraging for food. Interestingly, they have no scent while young as well, so predators can’t smell them. Mom takes care of keeping them this way by licking them often. Indeed, it’s really just a survival necessity, but when watching it happen, it always looks like pure love.

Even watching baby animals makes me feel like a kid again. Though I was too young to remember my own first steps, I remember many of those first steps that happened after that. The world was endlessly fascinating to me as a child and I couldn’t wait to try everything I could. Thankfully, this hasn’t really changed much, though I’ve tried many more things by this point in my life. Today, I was flipping through pages of old sketchbooks to see some of my earliest work. Though I’ve been adding a bit of a scene lately, I liked many of my early drawings with just the subject at hand and nothing more. Since I didn’t have much time today, I decided to retrace my steps and jump back to that style once more. The other thing I rediscovered was that most of my early sketchbooks were smaller than my current one. This allowed me to sketch and color much faster, but sometimes felt a little constrained. But, I still decided to sketch this little fawn a bit smaller, just like I did in the beginning.

I friend of my asked me recently if I thought I’d gotten a lot better at drawing and painting after all of these sketches. While I should have answered “absolutely!” I paused instead. In truth, I’m certainly faster and more accurate, but there was indeed some charm that appeared in those earlier sketches. There was a wonderful naivety that often produced some bits of brilliance. Like the spots of a fawn, some of those faults and foibles began to disappear a bit as I’ve gotten older. So, the answer to my friend’s question was a touch more complex than I expected. I have definitely improved over time, but I enjoyed looking back at all of the various approaches I’d experimented with over the last year or so. I’ve tried bolder lines, more ink, creating little scenes, and it’s been such a joy. Yet, I have to admit that this wonderful journey has also reminded me that I really loved the stark approach of just something simple on a white background. It’s a story that has no context, so you can fill in the blanks. And though I’ll keep right on experimenting, it’s also nice sometimes to go back to the beginning, when I taking those very first steps.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Extra Fine Nib) 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!
Baby Deer Fawn Watercolor Painting Sketchbook Detail


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24 thoughts on “First Steps

  1. Sweet!!! Watched two of these adorable critters snacking on my friend’s garden a couple of years ago. While they enjoyed their meals mama deer kept a,watchful eye from the edge of the woods. Fascinating and beautiful animals.

  2. It’s all about the legs in baby deer!

    Recently on Facebook one of those memories popped up, 4 years ago today. I had posted a woodland scene landscape. It was kind of awful in its beauty. The thing is, my sister in law loved it, so I gave it to her and she has it framed and hanging in her bedroom. And that’s pretty darn cool!

  3. You captured it Charlie, fabulous! Running a bit on empty tonight. First opening reception for our three month art exhibit went well. A glass and a half of wine after I got home and I am ready to call it a night. Great to talk about art for an evening but exhausting.

  4. He is so cute! He looks like a fawn. I don’t know if mine will when I actually get to it. I need to remember not to overwork things. Since I am so behind, maybe I will be in such a hurry and not overthink. Plumbing continues, it was to be a 3 day project, changed to 4 (we added a few things and the inspector did not show up). Now we are looking at next Tuesday, possibly Wednesday. As of now, however, we have new water pipes that flow like a river! Time to sneak in some sketching before I get to head out for the first time in 8 days! Hubby’s turn to stay home!

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