When I was a little kid, I dreamed of taking a plane trip all by myself to a distant land. It seemed like an exciting and daring thing to do. Though it also seemed a bit scary, I was convinced it would could only lead to a grand and thrilling adventure. In my mind, I listed all of the things I would pack in my suitcase for my trip. My favorite clothes were on the list, but none of my stuffed animals as I wasn’t certain they could breathe properly confined like that. In the end, I decided the only sensible thing to do would be to carry along a single travel companion. There was no doubt this would have to be my best friend at the time, a small bear named Buff. This, of course, meant I would also need to pack the matching clothes and pajamas my mother had made for us. But, planning this grand escape in my little mind, only lead to me thinking about all of the things I would have to leave behind. In the end, I never asked my mother for a plane ticket or ever mentioned this dream to anyone at all. Because somewhere in all of that dreaming, I would always realize I already had everything I truly wanted, right there at home.
I would be practically grown up before I even rode on an airplane, but would later get to travel to distant places. What I remember and love about being a kid was that my imagination was so incredibly vivid that everything felt real, almost tangible. Perhaps that’s also why I didn’t demand that trip. I felt as though I had already taken it. As an adult, I’ve always tried to get that feeling back. To imagine something so vividly that it begins to burst with color and emotion in my mind. It’s not laboring through “what if” scenarios, but simply mentally jumping into an idea and pretending it’s already happening. I’ve used this technique throughout my career to help me come up with and consider new ideas. And it’s precisely why and how Doodlewash came to be. I imagined a place where artists of all different styles and approaches were coming together to share what they made each day. Not worrying over exactly how they draw and paint, but simply celebrating the fact that they DO it. It was beautiful in my mind, and it’s even more beautiful in reality.
When I first started sketching and painting, I imagined that I was already good at it. I knew I had a lot to learn, and would continue to always be learning. So, I skipped that bit at the beginning of worrying whether I was good enough to share anything I made. I just started doing it. This wasn’t born out of anything difficult to acquire like confidence, I’m still working on that, but instead, simply reconnecting with the imagination I had as a child. I was actually scared to go on that plane by myself back then, but that never once stopped me from dreaming about doing it. I didn’t take that flight, because it wasn’t the thing I really wanted after all. But since that time, when I want something, passionately feel it in my soul, there’s never been anything that could stop me from chasing that dream. In many ways, I’m still that little kid, vividly imagining a world of possibilities. Knowing that what I actually do in this moment, is the most important step in my journey to a distant land.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo. 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!