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


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42 thoughts on “Little Footsteps

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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. 🙂

  5. 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!

    1. 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

  6. 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!

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