This is a tiny doodlewash of my very first castle. The one I had when I was just a little kid made by Fisher-Price with trap doors and everything! There was a moat with little doodled fish and it came with a pink dragon among other things that are difficult to remember since I was mainly obsessed with the pink dragon. But, I adored it! I realize that saying “my very first castle” implies in some way that I’ve managed to acquire another castle at some point in my life. Perhaps a real one that’s waiting for me in some exotic and wonderful location as a holiday getaway. That hasn’t happened yet, but I still hold out hope that it might one day. If it should not, then whoever lives on after me can simply retitle this post to read, “my very first and only castle.” I still have such rich memories of playing with this castle. I think it shaped much of how I still approach life today. I love to imagine possibilities and I’m not worried when things are a bit weird or inexplicable. Like a castle with cream-topped towers and a red tile roof. Later versions of this toy had fewer graphics and were dimmed down to a dull gray, to be more “realistic” I presume. Or more likely to save money. The one I had was covered in illustrated stones, bits of green grass with flowers and cattails popping up. It was like a page of one of my storybooks came to life.

The toys of my youth were often covered in illustrated decals and I loved that. These days, that’s an added cost, so many of the toys are mostly just plastic, in fewer colors than I remember. I think my love of stories and color itself came from playing with these awesome toys. In comparison, today’s offerings seem a bit drab to me. Perhaps, that’s why I tend to paint in a candy-colored way. It’s how I still see the world. Just a touch brighter and happier than it probably is in reality, but the way I think it should feel. And what I loved about this particular castle is that it had a pink banner on the side that said, “Play Family Castle.” There was a king and queen and a couple kids included as well. Sure, they were the only ones small enough to fall through the trap door and end up in the little jail at the right. But, I never questioned that. In that moment they were just part of the play as well. My play! And I love those three words. In many ways, I think that’s the spirit I hoped to create with Doodlewash! A place were all types of artists could come together, play together, be part of an art family, in a safe and lovely fortress of creativity! Yeah, that’s pretty grand, but that’s the way a kid thinks!

And I’ve been so thrilled at every step on my current adventure. It’s been wonderful to see all of the things our community has accomplished along the way. For example, former featured artist and World Watercolor Month ambassador Denise Soden, just released her own awesome new Da Vinci Watercolor Palette today! Please check it out! I’m always at my happiest when I’m promoting other artists, as most of you know by now. I just get such a thrill when we each DO something cool! I’m like, “Oh my gosh!! Check it out! Yay! Yay! Yay!” every single time. Yeah, I’m just a big kid who loves to play and enjoys every moment along the way. And my sincere hope is that we all keep enjoying it together. Supporting each other on this crazy art journey, no matter what type of art we choose. When I was a kid, there was never a thought about “putting myself out there” or a worry about sharing whatever I created. As an adult, I’ll admit, I can still spend moments second-guessing myself and wondering if what I’m sharing even matters at all. That’s just silly thinking! My inner child knows that we each have something amazing to share with the world. And when we come together as a family, it gets WAY more amazing! So, a big hug and sloppy inappropriate kisses to you all! Life is just so much fun no matter what happens. At any moment that I might be silly enough to doubt that, I need only think back to my very first castle.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Blue, 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? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Fisher Price Medieval Castle Illustration

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19 thoughts on “My Very First Castle

  1. Well, there is the common saying that ‘a man’s home is his castle’, so according to that logic you have had castles since you had this toy – just not ones with turrets, moats and dragons. And frankly turrets are no fun if you’re afraid of heights, moats get really stinky, and dragons like to play with fire. So, it’s fun to dream of castles in the air, but much more comfortable to live in the one you’ve got!

  2. Love the castle and especially the pink dragon! What a fantastic toy, and your painting presents it in all it’s magical glory. My son had one of the gray ones in the ’90s, not nearly as appealing as yours.

  3. Your castle is so very cute and so well painted. I think Fisher-Price makes the cutest kids toys. This one is super cute. Love the pink dragon. Congrats to Denise Soden. How exciting for her to have her own palette and best of all your support. You have made such a great community for all of us. Thank you!!!

  4. I am a bit older than you, but this castle brought back memories of commercials on TV for this castle or one pretty much just like it. Even as a senior adult I still like cartoons on Saturday morning, especially those that are smart and witty. I so miss Jimmy Newtron! I guess it didn’t take me long to find my kid in your castle!

  5. Excellent! No castles at my house. We had to build our own from cardboard boxes. We had a big basement and access to appliance boxes, so there was a lot of fort building going on. The bunk beds my sister and I shared made a great fort too when blankets were used to close in the bottom bunk. I’m pretty sure kids don’t play like this any more, and mores the pity.

    1. Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Oh my gosh!! Yes!! I forgot about those castles… we built them as well. They were probably the coolest of all since we made them ourselves. And I hope kids make their own toys and take a break from screens still. That’s the very essence that made us all creative in the first place!

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