Along with spiders, bats can be a bit creepy, particularly this time of year. But unlike spiders, I think bats are rather cute, so I attempted to portray the cuter side of this creature. Sure, even a little puppy-like face can become a bit off-putting when combined with dragon wings, but the whole combo just makes me adore them all the more. Contrary to the way they look, bats are not actually flying rodents, but so unusual and special that scientists have given them a class all their own. The name for this class is “Chiroptera” which means hand wing, because the wings are supported by four long fingers rather than arms. Sure, the idea they actually have giant hands might not help the case against their creepiness, but to me, it just makes them even more unique and wonderful. And they’re not blind in the least, but can see us nearly as well as we can see them. The distinction is simply that they possess an incredible ability to truly listen, which is likely why humans often assume they must be blind. Instead, they’re an odd breed of mammal that simply can’t be fooled by visuals alone.
I don’t actually see very well at night due to my nearsightedness, so having a sonar ability like a bat is a wonderful thing to consider. This is merely among a long list of superhero abilities that I’ve imagined for myself since I was a child. The ability to fly, of course, combined with such skills makes the bat a sort of superhero to me. I used to think that bats were comical in their odd and erratic flight patterns until I learned they actually possess an internal GPS system. They create their own complex internal maps that guide them through the areas they’ve previous traveled. Rather than always soaring like a bird in a smooth line, they bounce around the sky based on memories that they’ve previously experienced. This gives me much comfort. As I spin through my own life here on the ground, I find myself often taking odd turns that seem a bit counterintuitive and incongruous. My own journey is never quite a straight path. Sure, it could simply be my attention deficit problems, but I love to think it’s something more. It’s my own built-in navigation system that’s built on memories and not just what’s happening in the moment.
My navigation system certainly contains flaws, as I’m simply human after all. I don’t function on pure instinct, since I have a wealth of emotions that come into play to guide my every move. But sometimes, in moments of pure clarity, I enjoy the thrill of moving forward on instinct alone. A burning desire to DO something that I’ve been suppressing out of some kind of fear. Well, let’s face it, it’s most often the fear of failure. That little idea that implants itself into my head to tell me that what I’m dreaming should well and truly remain only a dream. But if I listen instead to my heart and put all of my attention there, I often find myself taking a very different path. One that only seems precarious, but is, in fact, the best path of all. I have a lifetime of internal maps in my head to guide me, even on the most challenging and new paths I might choose. So, I do something that only pure instinct can provide. I don’t give up. I never give up. If a dream calls my name, I simply must pursue it and find out where it leads. Dodging things as they come my way and navigating uncertainty with all of that glorious primal intelligence of a little bat.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, and Indigo (my “Vintage” Trio!). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!