Ladybug wings doodlewash and watercolor sketch of lady bug taking flight

Ladybug Wings And Wishes

Today on our #NatureDoodlewash hike, I’ve brought this super quick doodlewash of a little lady bug who’s just about to fly away, like my sketching time today. Since ladybugs are usually seen and illustrated as a crawling creature, I wanted to try a version with her wings showing, which are normally kept hidden under her bright red shell. Why are ladybugs red? Or other bright colors? Well, it’s actually to warn birds and send a signal that they don’t taste very good. Apparently, birds prefer their cuisine in more mundane hues.

When ladybugs are cornered inside a house, they release yellow stuff that I had always assumed was poop. I just figured a huge giant coming toward them stressed them out and made them sh*t themselves. I mean, I’m sure I would probably react similarly if a huge giant approached me. But actually, I was only half right and the answer is weirder. They release a small amount of their blood, which is actually yellow and stinks, as a sort of bizarre defense mechanism. And I honestly don’t know which is grosser.

As kids, when a ladybug would land on us, we’d make a wish. I always thought that meant the wish would come true. But as an adult, I read somewhere that you’re supposed to wait until they fly away and whichever direction they fly tells you from which direction your wish will come. Which makes no sense at all and is extremely disappointing. After all those years of wishing, it turns out the ladybug was just some sort of wish GPS and couldn’t actually deliver the goods. I guess it’s not so bad. Of course, having your wish come true is a wonderful thing, but there’s still something wonderful about simply making a wish in the first place. Perhaps that was all the magic I ever really needed.

Join me throughout the month of June on a virtual nature hike! Show everyone what you love most in nature with a watercolor sketch or painting and tag your images #NatureDoodlewash so we can all enjoy it with you! I’ll create a featured artist gallery of our global hike at the end of the month! 

World Watercolor Month is coming in July! Click here to learn more!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Pyrrol Red, Quinacridone Gold, Azo Orange, Sap Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

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48 thoughts on “Ladybug Wings And Wishes

  1. Charlie, I absolutely love this unusual pose of a ladybug. They’re also called ladybird beetles, and I think they retain the “lady” title even if they are gentlemen bugs. Enchanting critters nonetheless and good for the garden as they eat destructive aphids which can destroy your flowers.

  2. this is so very beautiful Charlie! love her out spread wings…. as if she is about to fly! wonderful colors, textures and details! love the pose. Definitely – one of my favorite Charlie doodlewashes so far!! cheers, Debi

  3. Beautifully done! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone make a picture of one in flight before. Ladybirds were one of the creatures that I used to love observing the most back in my explorer days – except the yellow ones which for a long time I was sure were poisonous. It always used to really startle me when they were on your hand and suddenly broke out those big wings and took off!

  4. Wow! Stunning rendition of the wings! You made it faerie-like! <3

    I could be wrong but I think it's only the stupid Asian ladybugs that release this stench. I don't believe the native varieties (or just one variety?) do. Also, Asian ladybugs bite. Rat bastards. AND (as if the stench and biting wasn't bad enough), they like to hibernate in people's houses. They are a damned nuisance…like most things imported to "solve a problem," they cause even more problems. Our neighbors actually get their house sprayed with pyrethrine (sp?) each year to try to keep them from hibernating inside.

    Still, I love your doodlewash and will pretend it's of a native ladybug! 😉

  5. We always just said that if a ladybug landed on you it was good luck…the number of spots meant something too, but I forget what. Wishes are for blowing those dandelion puffs…(K)

  6. Reminds me of the Nursery Rhyme – Ladybug, ladybug fly away home, Your house is on fire and your children are gone, All except one and that’s little Ann, For she crept under the frying pan! 😉 Interesting post today, Charlie and AWESOME doodlewash for not having much time! 🎨👍💕

  7. Charlie, what a great sketch, and so unexpected to draw a ladybug in this stance. Reminds me of a transformer toy! I am not fond of bugs but didn’t hesitate to catch and hold a ladybug as a youngster, I guess because they look so pretty. Happy weekend to you!

  8. Loving this very different stance of the ladybird, I bet it was quite hard to see all the detail, but you have managed it in a fine manner, I am sure the ladybird community would approve and WISH you well. Very interesting about the yellow gunk…I also thought it to be poo, thanks for that one.😀

  9. Oh, so sweet! They´re my favorite bugs. A very nice illustration, Charlie, this “flying off” state is probably a lot harder to paint than one just sitting quietly on a leaf… 🐞💕🌞

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