For our prompt of “Friend” today, I thought back to a couple of days ago when I saw a little rabbit and a squirrel outside my window. They seemed to be hanging out together as though they were fast friends, following each other around. It was fascinating to watch, and so I imagined that when I wasn’t looking they were much more active in their friendship and actually heading out on grand adventures together. So, I sketched the pair going for a lovely drive in a scooter with a sidecar. Why on earth I let the squirrel drive is anyone’s guess, as I can only imagine the ride would be a bit… well… squirrelly. Indeed, this is also a word used to describe a human who is restless or eccentric. Both of which, I’ve been described as before, so perhaps that’s why I placed the squirrel in the driver’s seat. Though this is a totally imagined scene, while I was creating it, I began to wonder if something like this just might be possible. Perhaps, I am a touch eccentric, or better yet, it’s just my inner child at work once again. He’s bound and determined to believe that any is possible.

While I’ve been sketching each day in my sketchbook, Philippe has been sketching on the iPad Pro he just got. I watched him sketch a fabulous cartoon cat, and was amazed as his skill. When I asked if he’d studied cartooning a lot, he just shrugged and said, “it’s just observation” as though that was all that needed to be said. I mused at this since I remember back to the time when I first started sketching stuff. I would get so frustrated that I couldn’t draw things as accurately as I would like. He would always shrug and tell me, “just draw what you see” and I would be totally irritated with such mundanely obvious advice. Yet, now after a few years, I’ve finally learned this was the only real sage advice I’ve ever needed. Though I had to amend the advice or order for it to make perfect sense. What he was really saying was, “just draw what you see!” A slight, but extremely important nuance. I was trying to replicate a thing instead of drawing what I personally saw. When I draw what I actually see, things get a lot more whimsical.

And indeed, things get a lot more fun. I’ve been having a lot of fun drawing what I actually see in my mind, or as close as I can render it. I use lots of references as my mind isn’t quite that crystal clear, but it’s been fun to finally see little bits of what’s actually going on in my mind appear on paper. Yep, as if you may have guessed by now, my mind is mostly filled with lots of fun and crazy adventures involving animals. I’ve done this since I was a small child. I remember inventing wild scenarios for whatever animal I just spotted. I think it’s because I like to imagine the best possibilities. With humans, it’s never certain, but with animals I know it’s all pure and lovely instinct. There’s much we can learn from animals. My own instinct is to chase things that touch my heart and make me happy. This means, in short, that what appears here will always vary wildly, yet I DO hope that when you visit, you have a joyful ride.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.:  Yellow Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine (Green Shade), 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!
Bunny Rabbit And Squirrel Riding Scooter With Side Car Watercolor Illustration Painting Sketchbook Detail

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34 thoughts on “A Joyful Ride

  1. This is the cutest thing ever! Yeah, I wondered how the squirrel (my eye twitched when I said squirrel – haha) would hit the gas, but he really only needs his hands. So cute! The bunny is pretty cute also. 💜 They have a Thelma and Louise thing going. haha So cute, Charlie. So sweet!

      1. I wouldn’t mind YOUR squirrel, but Miss Sassy Squirrel is who makes my eyes twitch. Our pecan tree is ripe with pecans and I know IT IS ON LIKE DONKEY KONG between me and her over my plants! haha haha One morning, I saw her climb down our car port post, which is where my plants are. I wasn’t dressed to go running out the back door like a lunatic so I kept remotely locking the car to make it honk in hopes of scaring her off. I ended up laughing because every time I made the car honk, she would jump where she was like she was being shocked. Her tail would straighten up like electricity was running through her. haha haha But did that stop her? NO! It was revenge time. 😂 She turned and looked right at me, Charlie! I almost expected her to give me the finger for laughing at her. It’s been all out war since then. 😋

  2. This is Fabulous, Charlie!!!! This could be the book..can you imagine the adventures these two could have on a motor bike adventure; the friends they would make along the way; the fun they would have? Love these two!!!!

  3. I do always have a joyful ride after reading your rambles, Charlie! Your imagination is so like mine, I could swear I’ve seen some of your adventurous animals zipping around in the stories I’ve been imagining about my own!

  4. Did you know that Isadora Duncan, the dancer, died because her long scarf got caught in the wheel of the car she was in and strangled her? Just so you’re not tempted to name your squirrel Isadora!

  5. Charlie you so sound like a writer and artist, which of course you are. Your imagination is boundless! Phillippe is right, draw what YOU see. I replicate well, I found to my surprise, but what I want is not to replicate (unless I attempt a portrait) but to go the impressionist route. Jean Haines says not to use black or brown as those are dominant and boring so I gave those tubes of pigment away. Fortunately she also indicates we can use colours that really don’t reflect reality. Thank goodness because when I did replicate an ancient tree I filled it in with watercolour pencil crayons and somehow made the trunk purple. Now if I could get over my perfectionism ….

    1. Thanks so much! 😃💕 Yeah, my lack of time has helped me get over my perfectionism. I just have to stop and post no matter what! hehe And drawing what’s in my head has been fun, although it’s weird in there sometimes. And yes to that! No blacks or browns, just lovely color! I only use 5-6 colors usually and just versions of primary colors mostly.

  6. Bonjour, ces nouveaux dessins avec des animaux, allez-vous les proposer pour des livres d’enfants ? je n’ai jamais de réponse…mais peut-être que je suis mal abonnée – j’ai tellement de questions à vous poser – bonne continuation !

    1. Bonjour, Cathy! 😃💕 I always answer, so I’m not sure why you don’t get notified, if you’ve checked to box to be notified of replies. I hope you’ll check the post again and see my comments. I’m currently practicing storybook illustration as I plan to write and illustrate my own book at some point. I’m auditioning characters, if you will! 😉 hehe

  7. As a huge fancier of squirrels, I love the illustration and especially the tale of friends on a squirrely voyage! When I think of some of the hare-raising trips I put my friends through, with me at the wheel of my truck-oi! I’m grateful for the flights of friendship and fancy but they’re probably happy I usually suggest meeting at coffee these days😆☕🐿

  8. Hello Charlie,

    Your Doodlewash made me giggle. Thanks! And Im so relieved that you said in your initial years your paintings didnt look like what you had imagined. That was such a reassuring thing to read. I tried to paint from my imagination but the only thing Im able to do then is wildflowers. For everything else, I look up images and go for what looks to be the simplest. And right now even that seems difficult at times. But I plod on. Hopefully someday I’ll manage to make something that makes me say “Wow!” My sister diligently does that everyday to encourage me and sometimes gives me a prompt calling it her “commission” just to make me feel like an artist.. Big Yaaayyyy for sisters and those who tell us we’re artists. 🙂


    1. Aww glad I made you giggle, Mugdha! 😃💕 I still use references for most things, but now it’s a stack of them instead of just one. I can still only draw a few things completely from memory to my liking. But I spent 4 and half years just sketching one thing at a time before leaping into things I imagined just last October. Then I went back to things again for awhile. I figure in a few more years, I’ll really be able to draw what’s in my mind the way I really see it! hehe And yay for sisters! That’s awesome!! I love that!

  9. Wow Charlie loved your prompt and the illustration for the same. I would say you’re genius! I mean your concepts and it’s representation is always mind blowing! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Oh my goodness! This is soooooo cute! It reminds me of Beverly Cleary’s story, The Mouse and the Motorcycle. I often wonder if most peoples minds go off into these grand adventures. Or is it just those of us who have very creative minds? I think a study/survey needs to be done! TeeHee!

  11. Philippe nailed it: draw what YOU see – whether with the eye or the mind. Great rule for life! And with all those adventures running around in your head, we can hardly wait for them to appear in book form! i’v got some great grandchildren who will love the stories!

  12. Beautiful post, both illustration and writing. Previously when I draw or paint I was giving too much effort to replicate things. Nowadays I understand a drawing is not copying it is a right mixture of what you see and what you feel.

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