For our prompt of “Underwater” today, I decided to sketch a dolphin happily enjoying the scenery under the sea. I love dolphins, and think they’re lovely creatures. I also adore them because they always seem to be smiling and happy with life. It’s inspiring to watch them, which of course I did today, getting lost in another rabbit hole of videos showing cute dolphins in the wild. I’m not sure captive dolphins are quite as happy. Indeed, freedom is something most all animals prefer, including humans. And, along with chimpanzees dolphins top the charts as the smartest animals on earth. So perhaps that smile is also a bit of a smirk, a sense of knowing that they’re just a touch superior. But, I like thinking they’re simply happy in their own skin. Content with the world, in harmony with nature, and excited to see what each new day brings. And though I can’t hold my breath that long underwater, I can still choose to live a life that’s very similar in approach.

I’ve had very busy weeks lately and that’s made me a bit mentally exhausted by the end of the day. And no matter how much I think I’m getting done, I suddenly think of something I’ve forgotten to do and feel like I’m behind all of the time. Instead of worrying too much about all of that, of course, I do what any smart dolphin would do and take a break. I don’t go for a swim, but I do play in the water! Today, I had a blast on my sketching break, as my mind really needed to focus on something else for a moment. And the power of a drawing and painting break is incredible. No matter what, I’m happier after I’ve made a little something and even a bit enthusiastic to go and tackle all of those looming projects that I still have to complete. This includes things for work, but also less fun things like laundry. That’s another area where dolphins are superior since they don’t have to do laundry or wash the dishes. So yeah, they really might be smirking after all.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about where I’d like to swim next. Thinking about what next thing I’d love to try most. I’m not completely certain so I just keep right on the path I’m on and thinking about things along the way. For example, I love sketching stuff and all sorts of stuff so I just keep doing that. I’d love to make a storybook with animals, but like a little kid, I can’t choose just a few animals to include so my story will simply have to include them all somehow. I’m sure I can come up with a way to do it. Phineas, no doubt, wants to be the star of the story, but this one will be fiction and he’s not a fan of that. But, my inner child has decided that animals are his favorite lately so there will be more creatures to come. I actually love that an animal can relay a story in a way that’s totally universal. And, I’m just enjoying making these little stories appear. Even if I’m not sure what comes next, I’m grateful to be living my life each day, like a happy dolphin.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click here!
Dolphin Swimming Underwater Coral Reef Fish Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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36 thoughts on “A Happy Dolphin

  1. Oohhh! That could be a smirk..!! Couldn’t it..!? I love dolphins too, as I love your sketches, and it’s wonderful how with just a sketch you can convey a short story. A very short story, but that’s the fun of it! that you can leave a bit to our imagination ..!! In these rare times, thanks for “showing up” Charlie, and making us smile too!! ✨🤗🤗🤗

  2. Hi Charlie. It is 2:28 a.m. in Israel. I woke up an hour ago because I went to bed early after an intense day at work. The first thing I did was check my phone to see if you had already posted your sketch for today! I love your sketches and your whole blog, with all the wonderful guest artists. Thanks so much for being so consistent.
    And today’s dolphin is adorable!

  3. So beautiful! I love dolphins and, yes, I think they know that they are way smarter than everyone. They outsmart sharks. I heard a story of a scuba diver, who got disoriented from his party and they left without him. Geez, imagine that panic and terror? Then, it got worse: a shark popped up and started swimming around him. He figured it was over. It was getting dark and now the shark. He said that out of nowhere, a big friendly face popped out of the water and was almost nose-to-nose with him. He said that it was like the dolphin was trying to reassure him that he would be okay. He said that all of a sudden, a whole pod of dolphins came up and surrounded him, chattering. He said that for an hour the dolphins fought off the shark (bumping him) meanwhile the dolphins took turns chattering with the man like trying to get him to not focus on the shark. The shark finally gave up and the dolphins stayed another 30 minutes with him. All they wanted to do was play. The man said that as his party came back for him, they swam away, but one came back as if telling him bye. The man hugged and kissed the dolphin on the head and said thank you as he chattered and swam away. Is that not the sweetest story ever? Made me cry and sealed my love for dolphins. 😊 Wonderful painting, Charlie. I would love to see you paint a Panda 🐼🐼🐼🐼 bear! So cute!

  4. I’ve always wanted to see whales in the wild. And a moose! I was backpacking on Isle Royale years ago and missed seeing a moose by just a few minutes😡! All the time I lived up north and the only thing I was lucky enough to see was a black bear. You never know though, someday a moose might come strolling through our yard!

    1. Just be very quiet and stand behind something sturdy😆 my friend from Idaho showed me babies and mama moose in her neighbors yard-they are such mooses! Gigantic. And yes so lovely in their moosiness!

  5. Hello Charlie,

    Today’s Doodlewash reminded me of Disney’s Little Mermaid! I half-expected to see Ariel or Flounder peeking out from behind the happy dolphin. I like dolphins a lot too because they really look like they’re smiling. When India went under lockdown and all activity stopped, dolphins were spotted at the Mumbai harbor after over a century! I havent yet seen them but the news itself brought on a great feeling. 🙂 And I know EXACTLY how you feel about wanting to write that story but not knowing where to start. But I also know that when you’re least expecting it, your inner child will tell you the perfect story in one go! All you probably need to do is keep listening…


    1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 When I was painting this one, Philippe started humming “Under the Sea” from Little Mermaid! hehe So cool dolphins appeared there! And so true on the story… my inner child already knows it well. It’s just a matter of listening closely.

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