Ladybug Wings And Wishes

Ladybug wings doodlewash and watercolor sketch of lady bug taking flight

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

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!
46 Comments
  1. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 12 months ago

    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.

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much Sharon!! 😃💕Glad you liked this! Yeah…and it’s cool they’re actually helpful to have around unlike some garden creatures! Hehe

  2. debiriley 12 months ago

    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

    • Author

      Awww really? Thanks so much Debi!! 😃💕I wasn’t sure I liked this one, but probably because I was so rushed. Hehe Wished I had more time to paint what was in my head.

      • debiriley 12 months ago

        would never, ever have picked out on this that you were rushed.

  3. Jacob 12 months ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob! 😃Glad you liked this! And yeah…that’s so funny. It was startling when they actually flew!! Hehe I remember that about the yellow ones!! But thankfully no matter what color, they’re not poisonous!

  4. angieabk 12 months ago

    Wonderful! I have always loved Ladybugs!

  5. circadianreflections 12 months ago

    LOL! I laughed out loud with your Ladybug in the house poop thoughts! Funny! I love this pose, and shading!

    Make a wish anyway. I think you’re right; that’s all the magic we need!

  6. Margaret Parker Brown 12 months ago

    Your doodles are so interesting and so well done, I always look forward to what you’ll do next.

  7. Teresa Robeson 12 months ago

    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! 😉

  8. memadtwo 12 months ago

    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)

    • Author

      Wonder if it was extra lucky the more spots? Hehe And yes to dandelion puffs! Wished on those too! Pretty much wished on anything we could wish on really. Lol

  9. M. L. Kappa 12 months ago

    Very interesting – and fun – post. And a very clever doodlewash! I would never have thought to draw a ladybug in flight mode. Well done, Charlie!

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! 😃💕 Glad you liked this! It was far more challenging than I expected. Just hoped it still looked like a ladybug! Hehe

      • jmnowak 12 months ago

        Challenge or not, a most interesting rendition, Charlie! 🙂
        Ladybugs are a fave too, along with the really tiny money spiders, so cute!

  10. Jill Kuhn 12 months ago

    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! 🎨👍💕

    • Author

      Thanks a much, Jill!! 😃💕 I remember that coming up the last time I doodlewashed one of these. That poem ends in such a terrifying fashion!! Lol

      • Jill Kuhn 12 months ago

        See, your memory is much better than mine! Lol! 🎨💕🌟

  11. Carol 12 months ago

    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!

    • Author

      Thanks Carol! 😃💕 It does rather resemble a Transformer! Haha! Yeah, these little bugs never bothered me as a kid. I think it’s definitely the pretty factor.

  12. Sharon Mann 12 months ago

    Beautiful Charlie, I love the pose! Thanks for the interesting lady bug info.

  13. 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.😀

    • Author

      Hehe… see? It was totally poo… I almost feel robbed finding out it wasn’t! Lol Thanks so much Rebecca! Glad you liked this! 😃💕

  14. ann christina 12 months ago

    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… 🐞💕🌞

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Ann!😃💕 It was super hard to doodlewash, and I’m not sure it turned out like I wanted, but it turned out, so that was cool!

  15. brushparkwatercolors 12 months ago

    Great!!! I think this is pretty difficult to capture motive – and you did a wonderful job with it, Charlie!

  16. Jodi 12 months ago

    Learn something new everyday here at doodle wash! Lol. Awesome ladybug! Such a unique pose. Love it.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Jodi! 😃💕Hehe… yeah… I’m sure most watercolor blogs teach watercolor exclusively, but here at Doodlewash you can learn about what comes out of a ladybug!! Lol

      • Jodi 12 months ago

        Lol

  17. Very beautiful and thanks for showing the wings underneath! I never knew there was so much beneath the shell. Lovely words with your post too, Charlie. Happy Weekend to you and P & P! <3

  18. anniedrawsthings 12 months ago

    So cool! I love that you showed this ladybug with the wings extended. Beautiful view!

    • Author

      Aww thanks Annie! So happy you like this! 😃💕I liked the idea of doing this and didn’t realize how crazy hard it was going to be, on the least time I’ve had to sketch yet! Lol Oh well… challenges are good!

  19. Tom Merriman 12 months ago

    A very different view of a ladybird, Charlie. You’ve caught its flight brilliantly!

  20. Teri C 12 months ago

    Thanks for showing a pose that we rarely see because they move so fast. A wonderful painting

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