Today is the final day of this month’s Doodlewash adventure and it’s been a lovely and unexpected journey. I hope you’ll join me for next month’s Holiday Fun adventure as we celebrate all of the lovely icons of the season. This is the time of year when my inner child goes completely nuts and takes over, so I’m excited for the days ahead. And as I thought about this month’s final prompt of courage, my mind went to lions. I’ve sketched a little lion cub, because unlike lions, we humans often start out brave at this tender age. As the years go by, we learn how to fear things, but during those early years we were all rather fearless. Though certainly I always recommend harnessing your inner child for the delight and fun of it all, I have to admit that the courage bit is probably the best side effect of all. Without it, I simply wouldn’t have been able to show up each and every day to illustrate and write something. The very act of doing so is something my adult mind would tell me is ridiculous, bordering on impossible. But that’s only fear talking. The idea that not everything I post will be perfect, so I should only post things as they are fully developed. My child, however, screams with delight and urges me to post whatever happened that day. He’s a full-grown lion, that little kid. Full of bravery I can only hope to remember. But I’m glad he’s with me, cheering me on.
There’s a point in life when our fears take over. Where it becomes a real and tangible thing. This is usually the time when we’ve begun to learn our lessons from all of those “awful” past mistakes. But, it’s extremely difficult to know when something is truly a mistake. Perhaps it was just a bit of bad timing, and not really a bad idea at all. That’s where my inner child is extremely helpful. Rather than abandon every little thing that doesn’t work out as intended, he just shrugs and tries it a slightly different way. That slight shift in thinking turns out to be a rather breakthrough solution. Something my silly adult mind couldn’t possibly have imagined properly. I can barely count the number of times my grown up mind shouts at me, “but that’s the same thing! You’re doing it again! It won’t work! You know that!” And then, very thankfully, my littler version of me pipes in with a giggle and says, “it’s totally different! You changed something!” That little change was seemingly small and insignificant, but to those child’s eyes it was something sparkling, new and magical.
Sure, as kids we are afraid of things. There’s a fear of the dark or monsters waiting in our closets. But, those are all external fears. We’re not afraid to take a crayon and draw and color something. Despite all of the monsters that might be lurking around us, we’re quite confident we can create art. That we can make something pretty that people around us will think is wonderful. That lack of those internal fears makes little kids among the most courageous beings of all. So, that’s why I always tell people to simply “DO!” and not worry so much about the outcome. It’s a way to tap into that feeling we simply grew out of at some point. The good news is that it’s still there, like a dwindling fire that just needs a bit of air to blaze once more. And unlike lions, we don’t grown into our courage, we just spend a lifetime trying to hold onto it. Approaching each new challenge with the eyes of a child is no simple task indeed, but it really is the only way we will ever genuinely find ourselves growing up courageous.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue. Photo Reference: William Warby. 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!
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!