For our prompt of “Historic” today, my mind first leapt to famous landmarks. Then I thought about all of the tourist photos that appear when people visit those iconic places. Here to demonstrate, we have a quick little doodle of the selfie cats capturing a memorable moment at the Leaning Tower of Pisa. When I visited Pisa myself, I certainly enjoyed seeing the famous tower, but I equally enjoyed watching all of the people around taking the same sort of photos to make it look like they were holding up the tower or pushing it back into the correct position. It’s an odd way to celebrate history, to be sure, but this never stops people from pinching the Statue of Liberty or holding the Eiffel Tower in their fingertips. There are also those lucky folks who have touched the top of the the Great Pyramid of Giza or kissed the Sphinx. While one could call such actions cliché, the truth is these forced perspective photos are quite fun! And it’s really hard to pass up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get one’s own iconic shot of an icon.

Indeed, taking photos like these is a sure way to call oneself out as a tourist. But, unless you’re on some covert mission that requires absolute secrecy and not actually on holiday at all, then who really cares? And, if you’re standing anywhere near that tower in Pisa and not a member of the clergy or running one of the many pizza restaurants, everyone already knows you’re a tourist anyway. What I love about these photos is that they are completely cliché and while I’m sure there are still people who think they’re the first to come up with the idea, these photos have been taken for many years. Long before digital cameras and digital sharing, people were filling scrapbooks with these very same shots. To me, it’s like being a part of a second history, of humans acting on impulses from their inner child. So yeah, I totally did my part and held that Tower of Pisa up with a stupidly happy grin on my face.

What some people might think is childish, I just find joyful. I don’t know how to take life seriously, and I’m not sure I’d bother if I did. And, it’s not that I don’t appreciate historic landmarks, I quite adore and revere them. But, my reverence for anything I enjoy always comes out as excitement and giddiness. I’m just a kid who is thrilled to be seeing something straight out of the history books. I want to learn all I can about the stories behind whatever I’m looking at and only hope my wallet and suitcase don’t break as I gather books in the gift shops. And yes, if it’s a specific place where I know I can stop and take that silly iconic photo, then I’ll always oblige. I’ll get stares from the adults around me and huffs from folks who think I’m ridiculous and acting like a child, but, I don’t mind. I’m just sharing in the joy of the thousands of people who have traveled here before me, and making history.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Hansa Yellow Medium, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black ink  in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click here!
Cats Taking Selfie At Leaning Tower Of Pisa Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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34 thoughts on “Making History

  1. I missed the Leaning Tower during my trek through Europe. Not sure how that happened. I’ve always wondered why people would even try to pretend they aren’t tourists – it’s not something you can hide. I guess they think it makes them cool, but you’re right. They just miss out on half the fun!

  2. Everyone should enjoy themself as much as this cat! The only time I’ve ever been to Europe was an 8 day trip 3 years ago and that was spent in France with only 2 days in Paris. Lots and lots of touristy photos and every time I look at them I just want to get on a plane and go back….and stay for a long time; so much to see and do….it would take a lifetime.

  3. Fabulous painting…I did the same when we visited Paris a few years back at the Lourve. It was fun and silly but it was so enjoyable…thanks for the reminder…Those cats are having a ball…as they should be on Holiday.
    Have fun always!

  4. I totally agree, Charlie. When we visited a scrunchy faced relative in California, I wanted to do EVERYTHING touristy. I especially wanted to see the LaBrea tar pits, but he kept saying no to everything. Frowny person that he is, he said it was stupid. I thought he was stupid. I mean, DINOSAURS are in there! They walked around that area before falling in! So mad! I love going to historic places. I am in awe that so-and-so famous/historic person stood here or lived here or did this or that. To walk in their footsteps or stand where they did….wow. So thrilling. I get chills. When I started college at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ‘Em Horns!), I was like, ” I’m really here! ” Hey, I think I ‘m a cool nerd and I just don’t care. I am a nerdy tourist, too, and I love for everyone to know that I am. 😊

    1. Yay! Glad you agree! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… I’m all for historic fun! And dinosaurs? Who wouldn’t want that. Philippe got PhD in Science just because he loved Jurassic Park when he was younger! Yay for nerdy tourists!

  5. I spent my semester in Europe before digital cameras. I left with bags of unexposed film, and returned with bags of exposed film that had to be developed. I was so excited to get those photos back and relive my adventures. If I had gone to Piza, I’m pretty sure there would be a holding up the tower photo. I do have one of me riding a unicorn. That reminds me. I found out recently that the national animal of Scotland is the unicorn. That makes me happy!

    1. Love this Doodle! You’re such a delight, Charlie, and your childlike enthusiasm comes across in your art. Sharing your art and stories brings such joy to the world and it’s what you were meant to do!

  6. Hello Charlie,

    What a fun sketch! That kitten looks like it’s enjoying itself immensely and that’s definitely not the last picture it’s posing for. I enjoy going to historical places too but I dont like my pics taken. But yes, like you I too like to let my inner child play and most of the time Im laughing out loud at the silliest of things. I have an uncle who thinks the moment you turn 21 you should be “mature” (unsmiling and serious). He’s tried to tell me how childish I am many times, finally one day, when in an especially wild mood I told him I laugh coz I see ghosts doing funny things around him. That spooked him out of talking to me at all! 🙂 Am not sure that was a good thing to do but life sure has been peaceful since then.


    1. Thanks so much, Mugdha! 😃💕 Yeah, I’m not found of having my pic taken in general… hehe… I’d rather takes pics of others! And that’s hilarious about your uncle. Funny that he both believed in ghosts and believed that you could see them! 😉

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