Little Charlie

Little Charlie by Charlie O'Shields

So this is my doodlewash submission for the first Selfie Art Day hosted by the lovely Teresa Robeson (follow her!). Since Guest Doodlewasher Jenny Kroik already showed you what I look like now just a week or so ago, I figured I needed to mix things up a bit.

So for this stop on the Kansas City tour, we’re going back in time to the mid-70s (as if the clothes weren’t a dead give away). This is only my second doodlewashed portrait (no ink this time, only pencil), but I did get the likeness right. For some reason drawing myself at this age was much easier as it’s not quite someone I even know.

In fact, my long term memory is so poor that the only recollections of childhood I have are the stories my mother tells me (and I’m still not sure just how reliable she is as a source). These are stories we cringe at hearing our parents tell, but since I’m not sure what to write about a selfie, I figured I’d share some with you. Or, according to mom, as I used to say when announcing my 3-year-old self bounding into room, “Here comes ole Chah-wee!”

First mom claim involved my learning to walk. I was behind the age kids should be walking on their own and my family was wondering what was taking me so long. One day, I was standing holding the edge of a piano and let go and suddenly walked across the room which caused the family gathered there to erupt in applause. “He was just waiting for the applause,” she tells everyone, “he’s been walking ever since!”

She also claims that I started reading before anyone remembered teaching me. In the grocery store as my mom and older sister were struggling to find the right kind of Campbell’s soup (and I mean seriously… maybe that can is a design that’s cool in Warhol’s hands, but it was a pain in the butt back before they added photos). I was only 2, but would casually point to the right one each time they were struggling. To which my sister would always reply, “Who taught you to read, Charlie?”

Also, the child you see above, was once asked the million dollar question. You know the one. The mother of all questions:

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Funny, how it’s so fun when we’re younger to dream about possible answers to this, and yet terrifying and impossible to answer as adults. But allegedly, according to mom, I didn’t skip a beat and answered, “Famous! So they’ll make a doll that looks like me.”

Yeah… I’m not sure the validity of these stories as they all sound a bit far-fetched to me, but I have to admire this kid’s ambition. Sometimes I wonder what “little ‘ole Chah-wee” would think of me now. Did I do all the things he dreamed about way back then? Would he be proud of “Old Charlie” now or feel like I failed him? Did I live up to our expectations?

“Sorry, Charlie!” (as that tuna used to say on commercials, making your childhood a one joke nightmare), I don’t think I’ve done everything you set out to accomplish yet. We’re not particularly famous now and we never got that doll, buddy. But there’s good news, we’re still growing up, so we get to keep dreaming.

So as we celebrate Selfie Day, and I get to see all of your beautiful faces in all of your beautifully unique styles, I hope you’re enjoying growing up as well. And if you still haven’t figured out what you want to be or are still waiting to fulfill that promise to your ambitious 3-year-old self, don’t worry about it! As little Charlie used to say, “Milk Shake! Boom! Boom!” He was just so profound, that kid. Always so thought-provoking.

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
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!
Published in By Charlie
39 Comments
  1. Rebecca 2 years ago

    Very cute! Great job on the eyes and the shadows on the face too. I always think eyes are really difficult, but these sparkle beautifully. 🙂

  2. Jacob 2 years ago

    Aw, weren’t you adorable. What a brilliant portrait!! Loving the eyes.

    And loving the stories! Wanting to be famous and milking the applause doesn’t sound like you at all…! (I too have to rely on similarly dubious sources for any kind of childhood memory… there are some corkers, though.) And blimey, I think three-year old me would tut in disdain; he’d trump twenty-three year old me in just about every way, especially in intellect.

    • Author

      I agree…I think the three year old me was pretty smart! Not sure what happened. Lol Glad you like the drawing! Portraits are really not my thing. 😊 But in this case, the likeness is dead on so I hope it looks good! Haha 😉

  3. artandmoondreams 2 years ago

    Fantastic! Having only seen your photograph, a painted portrait, and your lovely words…it would appear that you have captured your self portrait in a most charming way. Those beautiful eyes appear full of energy, excitement and curiosity, just like the current Chaw-wee…er, Charlie’s eyes probably are. Delightfully well done you.

    • Author

      Thank you so much Haunani!! ❤️😃You’re so sweet. Chah-wee would have liked you. And Charlie thanks you’re super awesome and glad you’re his friend!! 😊😃

  4. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Charlie, I just looooove you! Not only do you constantly delight me with a piece of wonderful art daily, but you also make me laugh so hard with your stories! Regardless of whether the stories are true, I really love them. And you sound like my older son: he also learned to read on his own before he was 2 and was slow to walk. 😀

  5. Kari 2 years ago

    I love Little Chah-wee!! Just so adorable! I bet you were just a charming child!

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Kari! ❤️it sounds like I was quite a handful, but that’s just what my mom tells me. I can’t remember a thing!! 😊

  6. Jodi 2 years ago

    As if “old” Chah wee hadn’t already stolen our hearts, you had to go and really get us swooning with this adorable baby Chah wee! 🙂 Seriously – though – what an amazing drawing/painting buddy! And even if you don’t get to be famous someday (though there is A LOT OF TIME!) – you are famous in our little world in an endearing way – and we all think YOU are a DOLL! xo

    • Author

      😊😊😊😊😊😊😊wait…not done😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊okay…that’s done. You’re so sweet Jodi!! ❤️❤️😃 Thanks!! Even without the doll, I hope little Chah-wee is pleased with what I did with his life! 😉

  7. kungfunaomi 2 years ago

    That is stunning.
    When I was seven my life’s goal was to work at Subway because workers get free sandwiches. XD

    • Author

      Haha! Love that Naomi!! ❤️😃 What a wonderful dream! (Unless you actually do work at Subway now, as I have no idea really, in which case, congrats!!)

  8. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    WOWZA! Charlie! You are a cutie pie! 💜 FABULOUS selfie as a child! Love that gleam in your baby blue eyes that match the sailboats on your outfit. I used to cringe at some of the old family stories too – I like yours much better! 😊😊😊

    • Author

      Hehe…I sort of edited out the truly cringe worthy ones! 😊😊So glad you like this Jill and recognized the sailboats (what a ridiculously complex outfit I had back then!!) thanks friend!! 💜😃😃

  9. I love it, Charlie, right down to the cute little boats on your shirt! hehe! Wonderful! I’m so glad you did this. What a cute story, too!

  10. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    What a charmer Charlie, the stories are full of love . We mothers like to embellish a bit when it comes to our darling children.
    Your drawing is wonderful.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! My mom is pretty awesome😊😊hehe Glad you like this drawing, it’s a bit of a departure for me!! ❤️😃

  11. memadtwo 2 years ago

    Just like I would picture you looking at 3. And aren’t you lucky to have a Mom ready willing and able to embarrass you with her loving stories! Thanks for sharing, made me smile. (K.)

  12. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Aw, you are so adorable! This is truly the perfect selfie with a sweet story! Best post ever!

    I wanted to be a stewardess (flight attendant) so I could fly. A good thought anyway, my path didn’t go that way…

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe!! ❤️😃 A stewardess, eh? That’s an awesome goal…hehe…funny how we don’t quite end up where our little selves imagined.

  13. courtney 2 years ago

    Awww…i love this post!!! Xo love you! No matyer what you do I am proud of you and you are damous in my eyes!! 😉

  14. ann christina 2 years ago

    You may not have a doll, but you have a painted selfie and a painting someone else made of you (if I remember well). So you´re almost there! 😊 I forgot selfie-day, darn! 😳 Next time! Oh, and I really like your selfie, it´s a wonderful watercolor painting of a really cute kid!

  15. certainline 2 years ago

    Splendid – what a wonderful idea! If it helps we used to wear weird little sweaters in the 1950s too!

  16. […] starting this journey with a little doodlewash of little bear that used to belong to little Charlie. He’s practically the only clear memory I have from childhood, but probably because […]

  17. Monica 2 years ago

    Love the stories and what a fantastic self portrait.

  18. […] think that I was going to get any money, nor did I fancy myself a future bank president (I wanted to be famous, after all, not obscure). No, I went for the candy. And also because, at my tender age, it was not […]

  19. […] hope many of you will join in! For those who have been reading this blog for awhile, you know about Little Charlie. That kid inside, that always wants to create something new and get as many people on the block to […]

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