Little Footsteps

Baby Elephant And Mother Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Baby” today, I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone that I chose the animal variety. The first thing that came to mind was an elephant, so I made a quick little two color sketch of a baby elephant and its mother. Philippe has been creating a virtual zoo on his computer lately and yesterday when I came upstairs there were elephants on the screen. They’re one of my favorite animals so I knew I had to sketch one soon. Of course, I watched a few videos of baby elephants playing to really get in the mood. It’s sometimes said that kids follow in their parents footsteps as they grow up. But as far as I could tell watching baby elephants, it was rather the other way around. As it turns out, when you have a toddler, the parent often finds themselves following in the kid’s footsteps. Mostly just following behind with a watchful eye or rushing madly to stop the kid from doing something dangerous. And watching a little baby elephant run around is always a wonderful way to spend some time during the day.

I often find myself chasing around my own inner child at times. As most of you know, I let the kid call the shots most all of the time, because I don’t trust my adult brain to make super fun decisions. Today, this sort of showed up in my sketch as my baby elephant begin charging boldly forward. When I was a kid, my mother always encouraged me to chase after my dreams. She didn’t even question the really crazy ones. I guess she knew what I would later learn. Some things work out and others don’t work out quite like I imagined. In some cases, I failed miserably at something I was attempting to accomplish. But, even when my mother knew I might fail, she didn’t say a word. These were lessons that I had to learn on my own. And what I learned is that each failure brings fabulous new knowledge that helps me succeed doing the next crazy thing I dream up. To this day, I just keep charging forward, letting each dream lead me on to the next step in life.

As a child, I think I was a bit bolder than I am as an adult. Sometimes, that list of failures can weigh on me like a heavy brick. I have to remind myself that just because I couldn’t do something once, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Some things just take a bit more time and practice. That’s been my journey with art. Today I was able to quickly craft my own composition while glancing at several references. This is not something I thought I could ever do. But now, each time I just go for it and give it a try it gets easier. And though there is a lot to be said for age and wisdom, I still think my inner child has plenty to teach me. I think there’s little point in becoming older, unless one can become bolder in the process. For me, at least, this involves reminding myself of that fearless kid I was way back when. In this way, I can confidently sit down in front of that white piece of paper, with only a few minutes to spare and happily make something appear. I’m not sure I could do it if I only listened to my adult mind. Instead, I like to live each day following in my own little footsteps.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) with sepia 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!
Baby Elephant And Mother Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 2 years ago

    Aweeeeeeeeeee so breathtaking!!!! I love your words about feeling your inner child still has things to teach you. I totally agree with that some mine pretty much runs things!!! lol 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Yay for letting your inner child run things!

  2. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Adorable Charlie! I knew that you would sketch a baby animal, me too!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 hehe… yep… I definitely prefer sketching animals over people!

  3. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Love those elephants!!!

  4. Laura Hale 2 years ago

    Adorable elephants! Thank you for sharing such a joyful doodlewash. Also, I wanted to thank you for the wonderful Denise Soden Wildlife palette that arrived today from the Doodlewash giveaway. I’m really looking forward to using it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 YAY!! so thrilled the palette arrived! Congrats again and hope you adore it!

  5. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

    Look how far you’ve come as an artist. This one is beautiful, delicate and so lovely.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww… thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 This one did have that rare effortless quality that felt like I might have just learned something along the way!

      • Sharon Bonin-Pratt 2 years ago

        A baby elephant was just born at the Prague Zoo, took her first steps, doesn’t have a name. Wouldn’t it be cool to name her “Doodlewash?”

  6. Cathy France 2 years ago

    c’est très beau ce que vous dites – vous me touchez beaucoup – vous devriez écrire – devenir écrivain – vous êtes fait pour çà – ou rassemblez toutes ces notes d’ici, et les publier, comme un journal – avec à côté, tous vos dessins – Cathy de France

  7. smzang 2 years ago

    The baby elephants you draw are happy babies full of vim and vigor and even
    the mother’s eyes have a special gleam of joy to them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I was hoping I got that gleam of a mother’s eye!

  8. Danai Mongkolrat 2 years ago

    Wonderful and beautiful!!

  9. Lisa 2 years ago

    I have found that the older I got, the bolder I got. I was a shy and timid kid. As I get older I don’t seem to care as much about looking stupid, or telling an unpopular opinion. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but I don’t hold back much either.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Yay for older and bolder! 😃💕 I think I’m the same when it comes to opinions, but I do find myself editing ideas that my inner child would have let fly through. 😉

  10. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    Oh squeal!!! I love this!!! Elephants are my favorite for so many reason. We just watched an PBS show last week on a baby elephant Naledi (sp?). It was from 2017 and I have probably watched it before, but didn’t remember it. So good! I better go sketch an elephant. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Aww…. that show sounds wonderful! I’ll have to look it up!

  11. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    I really envy you your ability to do realistic paintings without a specific reference so quickly. I can do it, but it takes me several studies and planning and is not something I do often. Probably I’d be quicker if I did do it more often, but it just seems to much like work, lol!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Actually, I’ve just started trying it much more lately. I thought I’d never be able to do it, but something shifted. So far it does only work with things I’ve sketched a few times though! hehe

  12. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Brilliant doodle. I’ll have to show this to my wife, she loves elephants.

  13. Fatima Chamkha 2 years ago

    Gorgeous elephants and the pose is so pretty!

  14. tinafolks 2 years ago

    Charlie, I really love how you listen to your inner child when it comes to making art and sketching! I often find myself tapping into that childlike joy as i start a new sketch. It helps me find the humor in what I draw and i can convey it to others in spirit!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, Tina! 😃💕 Yeah, my inner child pretty much runs the show when it comes to sketching. I doubt I could get much expression with just a few lines without him!

  15. Linda Calverley 2 years ago

    Wonderful elephants

  16. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    Wonderful elephants and insights 😍❤

  17. shawnthompsonart 2 years ago

    Nice painting. I really like how you added oranges and blues!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks, Shawn! 😃💕 It’s been awhile since I did a 2 color painting… it’s always a fun exercise!

  18. Fanna Turano 2 years ago

    Fabulous painting, Charlie! Just 2 colors? Wow. Lovely. Well-done.

  19. Trivita Roy 2 years ago

    Aww so cute

  20. Caroline 18 hours ago

    Love this drawing so much! Are they African elephants? And mummy and baby?

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 9 hours ago

      Thanks so much, Caroline! 😃💕 And yes, they are! Mom and baby elephant!

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