Jumping In Head First

Kitten Cat Skydiving Jumping Through The Air Watercolor Illustration

For today’s prompt of “Courage,” I made a sketch of a little kitty enjoying a bit of skydiving. The actual thought of skydiving is something that I have to admit terrifies me since I’m not a particular fan of heights. So hurling toward earth at 120 miles per hour before being yanked and airlifted to the ground by a fabric umbrella is not an activity that you’ll find on my bucket list. Yet, the idea of leaping into the unknown head first is something that I can certainly appreciate conceptually. I tend to live my life in this fashion, always jumping in to tackle a new project idea well before I have any of the training or skills one would normally say are required to do so. I like to learn things as I go along and have found that the best way to learn is to have the courage to simply try doing whatever it is that I want to try next. Unlike a cat, there’s no guarantee that I’ll land on my feet, but I always feel better for at least having tried something new!

Back when I was in high school and later college, I was perfectly lost in possibility. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do when I got out of school, and so I spent much of that time simply saying “yes” to practically any opportunity that came my way. This is what lead to an endless list of experiences that made that time in my life rather exciting, but not particularly successful. It’s why I ended up becoming a Creative Director for my entire career. It’s a skill that I can apply to practically any type of job or industry and allowed me to continue to pursue jobs in very different fields. Combined with my core skill of having the courage to try something without building up years of practice, I managed to carve out my own path. The truth is, I find it very boring to do the same thing over and over again. So, when I practice something new, I always try to push and nudge my ideas in a direction that keeps things fresh and interesting.

Philippe has been extremely supportive of all of my wild new ideas. Mostly, he just sits back and accepts that whatever I’m currently doing today will indeed morph into something else at some point. Practice is doing the same thing over and over again, but creativity is learning how to push that practice in new directions so life always stays fascinating and compelling. And, it’s equally how to push past any fears and have the courage to do something in spite of them. Though, for me, this won’t include skydiving at any point, it will include a list of fabulous things that even I can’t predict for the future. I guess in many ways, settling on a final “this is who I am and what I do” description of myself feels a bit too much like growing up. I prefer to let that definition continue to change organically over time. I’m just a creative guy who wants to experience new things. I want to learn from my mistakes and be propelled forward by my successes, rather than be defined by them. When it comes to something I want to try creatively, the sky’s the limit, and you’ll always find me happily jumping in head first!

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Kitten Cat Skydiving Jumping Through The Air Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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21 Comments
  1. Louise Primeau 1 month ago

    We are both lucky to have partners who support our wild ideas! Always enjoy your illustrations and the text that accompanies your art work. Cheers!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Louise!! 😃💕 Here’s to having more wild ideas!!

  2. JA Wilson 1 month ago

    I’d have my nails out too.

  3. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    In 1986, Ray Bradbury gave a keynote address, saying that if enough people followed their hearts, they could realize their optimistic vision of humanity’s future, and encouraging people to “jump off the cliff and learn how to make wings on the way down.” Different versions of that quote have been spoken through the years by many people because it’s very true. We need people like you to make our best possible future happen.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Aww thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 And, I really enjoy Ray Bradbury books as well!

  4. scrittoralinda 1 month ago

    Way to go Charlie!

  5. Nellie Nellie 1 month ago

    Love this excited kitty! My niece and nephew just crossed the “big jump” off their bucket list, I felt a little ill watching on IG!🤢 but thrilled they got to do it, she looked so stoked! I love a nice walk in a new land, a new restaurant, a new painting assignment! 😆😄🤣 Just re-read your 8/2018 post about your little painting travel companions on the kitchen counter, one of the first I read and said to myself, “I do this watercolor thing too!” Thank you for giving me that Charlie! 🤗

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Aww thanks so much! 😃💕 I’m so happy we met here! And wow… that’s cool that your niece and nephew tried the “big jump.” I could never do that! hehe

  6. Cathy France 1 month ago

    Il y a aussi le saut à l élastique ! Encore pire ! Pas de parachute ! Juste ces mots pour vous dire que de France je suis toujours à vous lire. Admirer vos aquarelles. Vous lire aussi sur Facebook. C est bien cette Newletters..le mot anglais est venu dans la langue française. Je reprends mes cours demain 1/9. Intervenante dans divers arts. Auprès des enfants. Avant…en support je prenais vos aquarelles classiques. Sans animaux. Là ce n est plus possible. Je leur fais encore regarder les anciennes. Une question car je ne le sais plus. Dans vos cours.vous avez appris à dessiner ? Cours d arts? Ou vous êtes complètement autodidacte ? Contente de vous lire. Même si j interviens rarement. Bonne rentrée pour vous deux !

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Cathy! 😃💕 I went to art school for college, but then paused for over 20 years and just starting drawing and painting again when I started Doodlewash. Between books, articles and classes, I’ve learned lots of new things along the way. My goal was always to be an illustrator, not a painter, so drawing and sketching are my focus and then I totally love to color with watercolor most! 😉

  7. Gary Middleton 1 month ago

    Great doodle, Charlie. It doesn’t appeal to me either.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I think I’m fine staying on solid ground.

  8. Marisela Delgado 4 weeks ago

    Hola, mi amigo, Charlie! Super cute kitty! Yup, I’m with you about the sky diving. TERRIFIED! I don’t mean to sound gross, but I would pee-pee all the way down until I landed, which, by the way, I would be dead by then, too. 😂😂😂 Great big hugs to you, my friend. Looks like we’re headed into Fall since we have been in the mid to low 90’s. I know that’s still hot in other places, but it’s Fall for us. 😂😂😂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Hola, mi amiga! 😃💕 I’m pretty positive I would pee-pee all the way down as well, if not before the jump even started! lol And yay! Here as well… autumn seems to already be on the way! Hugs and much love to you!❤️

  9. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Not on my bucket list but this kitty sure looks happy and excited! Thanks for continuing to keep us all inspired!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, it was tough making the cat look excited since even the thought terrifies me! lol

  10. Mugdha 4 weeks ago

    Hello hello Charlie!!!

    How are you? I love the kitty and the very first impression I had of the beautiful parachute was that it was made of different flavored and colored marshmallows stuck together. It’s strange coz I don’t even like marshmallows. But I still keep scrolling up to look at the colors. And I wish I had your courage to still jump into things with happy abandon. I used to do that but over the past decade every single thing brought such negativity that now I’m scared to approach life like that. Like you though, I have a very supportive family who has kept me in good cheer. However, thanks to you, I jumped into watercolors and I’m glad I did. Much love to you my friend,

    Love,
    Mugdha

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Hello, Mugdha! 😃💕 I love the idea of a marshmallow parachute… hehe… but I don’t really care to eat marshmallows either. I’m so thrilled you jumped into watercolors! I tend to be good at keeping my expectations low… that way I’m always pleasantly surprised when literally anything sort of good happens. I have no clue if what I do will be successful, but it’s always fun to try and see what happens! Much love to you! ❤️

    • Marisela Delgado 4 weeks ago

      Hola, Mugdha!

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