One Little Fish

Betta Fish In Bowl Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Fish” today, I took the chance to sketch some glass again along with my favorite sort of fish, a betta, or Siamese fighting fish. I just love their fabulously opulent look like they are getting ready to appear in a Vegas show wearing their best fish drag. Okay, that’s probably an odd and over the top description, but you get the idea. What this has to do with travel, our theme this month, is anyone’s guess as this is simply what I wanted to make in the moment, and that’s always super welcome in a Doodlewash challenge. I guess, though, if you really wanted to travel with your betta fish, it would likely be good to keep him in a bowl of some kind. Alone, of course, as the “fighting fish” name doesn’t come lightly. For something so beautiful, these fish can be a bit territorial in the male form. For my own part, this fish was just super fun to sketch. I managed to create him in a very short amount of time, since I’ve sketched a few of these on my journey. A wonderful reminder that it’s not just about sketching something brand new each and every day, but revisiting those things I’ve made before and trying them again. That’s my personal challenge going forward. As much as I’ve sketched to date, I don’t want this journey to just become a job, only a practice.

Tonight, in the background, I’m learning about temperatures thanks to Philippe and his latest documentary. The woman hosting the show has said molecules so many times now that I got a bit lost and I’m not quite sure what is happening. Though, I’m sure it’s quite fascinating as it has that dramatic music playing in the background as well. While I consider myself a rather smart guy and a bit of a geek, it’s true that I somehow managed to marry up on this front. I try to keep up, but I’m always a bit behind when things get a bit too technical. It’s no different when it comes to art or anything in life, really. I don’t get excited about a lot of technical details, I get excited about stories, concepts and epiphanies. The sort of thing you’ll find in every one of the features written by artists that appear on this blog. There’s lots of wonderful technical information, to be sure, but it’s mixed with stories of real life and the glorious success that comes from human determination. What’s distinct in these stories is that they aren’t interviews. When questions do appear in the artist features, it was the choice of the artist themselves to create that structure. I just ask people to tell their story like I do myself, each and every day.

It’s a wild and wonderful thing to tell your story publicly. It takes a bit of courage to reveal things that are often quite a bit personal. Indeed, a little sketch in a sketchbook is also rather personal. The things I make aren’t commissions or anything grand like that, they’re just musings that I made that day. And though I adore writing and started out on that path, I do get judged first by the illustration that appears. Many times, I’ve written what I thought was a perfectly wonderful post, but far fewer people ever read or saw it because the sketch wasn’t particularly amazing. In a world where everyone else carefully curates each post, it can seem more daunting than ever to just show up and say, “hey, I made this today! Hope you like it!” But, I hope in my heart that you, like me, will continue to DO so! I love that we can all connect on this glorious thing called the Internet, but I still want it to be what it was when it began. A place to share all the wonderful little things we create in the moment. To me, that was always the magic of this technology. So, it’s what you’ll still find me defiantly DOing to this day. I’ve no idea how many others I can get to follow my lead, but sometimes, to affect a bit of change in this crazy world, it just takes one little fish.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Cobalt Turquoise, Leaf Green, Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermilion, Terra Cotta and Cobalt Blue. 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!
Betta Fish In Bowl Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended7 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sharon Nolfi 4 years ago

    Wow! Glass, water, and fish all spectacular. Love his expression.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕So happy you liked this little guy!

  2. Sandra Strait 4 years ago

    I’m sure with the skill you have in painting glass and with a subject ‘wearing their best fish drag’, you’ll pull them in tonight. Although it is vacation season – the competition is tough!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Yeah, vacation season tends to up the competition quite a bit! lol

  3. rubiescorner 4 years ago

    Your rendition is great.

  4. Karen Fortier 4 years ago

    What a flashy fish Charlie and I love your description! Well vacation is winding down. Today was relaxing and not as hot as yesterday but I still managed to get a bit more pink. A little sketching, walking the beach and standing in the ocean but only a bit past our ankles. Watching sailboats and fishing boats come and go. We ended the day with having dinner with friends. I managed to squeeze my DOodle in as well. Back home tomorrow.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 And it sounds like you enjoyed your vacation to the fullest! Yay! It all seems quite lovely. I’m a bit jealous! hehe Safe travels home my friend!

  5. Lisa 4 years ago

    I am kind of a science geek. When I take those left brain right brain quizzes, I come out almost 50/50. I even like math. When we lived in Chicago-land, Joe and I attended some lectures at Fermi Labs. I could keep up for about half of the lectures, then I got lost and started day dreaming about being outside watching the buffalo. Yes, they had buffalo on the prairie under which was the giant super-collider.

    I always wanted one of these betta fish. I’m not sure why I didn’t get one, but I think it should go on my Xmas list.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      You should totally add one of these fish to your Christmas list, Lisa! 😃💕 Yay! hehe… and buffalos under a super-collider is super geeky awesome!! lol Love it!!

  6. Alicja Alka 4 years ago


  7. Winna Jill Mordasky 4 years ago

    love this bubbly frilly fish “somewhere inside fishbowl”

  8. LoriCtoo 4 years ago

    What a pretty little guy. We used to sell them at my work. Hmmm, haven’t seen them for awhile.??? I try to read all of your posts each day and comment, however there are those mornings I am limited on time. 😉 Most days I only have time to get on the internet in the morning (I have to have time for sketching!).

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕As long as you have time for sketching, we all know that matters mostest! hehe And, I adore your comments… thank you so much my friend!! ❤️

  9. Michael Powell 4 years ago

    I love today’s fabulously flamboyant fish–I am in awe of your skills. I may be a rare reader, though, who is drawn as much–or even more–to your stories as to your paintings. I guess that’s why I enjoy the podcasts and why I have read through your “Sketching Stuff” book in less than a week (I have a few short chapters to go). I too have come to the quite obvious realization that “life” as we see in on the internet is often merely a carefully curated view that masks a quite different reality. In your writing I can feel a sense of authenticity and humility that is so lacking and so desperately needed in this world. Most importantly, for me, you are willing to laugh at your own flaws and foibles and enthusiastically embrace your imperfections.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Wow, thank SO much for the wonderful comment, Michael! 😃💕 It’s SO affirming to hear! Yeah, I’m one of those guys who still just blogs what he really thinks and feels and doesn’t well… show up in my best drag! lol That said, we DO live in a world that favors success for those who play by the rules and the game, so I always try to point that out. But for me, success has always meant just being true to myself and always showing up as ridiculous me, no matter what! 😉

  10. Mary Roff 4 years ago

    Beautiful fish!! I look forward to your stories AND your doodles. It’s always fun to see what you’ve painted and your stories are always fun and inspiring. Keep up the good work!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yay! I’m so thrilled you still enjoy my stories and show up to read them. I know daily is sort of overwhelming… hehe… but I really, really appreciate the support!

  11. Laura Kate 4 years ago

    Oh, he is beautiful. And such a sly look in the eye!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕 hehe.. yeah, I think he sort of knows he’s fabulous! lol

  12. Myriam (Myr's Bytes) 4 years ago

    Cute fish! He’s got a lot of flair. His wonderfully colourful tail and puckered lips do remind me of a flamboyant drag queen. I’ve never seen a fish carrier, but it should be a thing. Why don’t people take their fish shopping or on an airplane? Seems like a very reasonable idea! 😊🐠💕

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Myriam! 😃💕hehe… yeah, it’s probably good I don’t have a fish and a fish carrier or I’d take him everywhere! Especially if he was in fabulous fish drag! lol

  13. Ellen 4 years ago

    This Doodlewash is quite reminiscent of all the dearly loved Betta Fish that were purchased for my Son betwixt the ages of 5 – 10. Their home was the exact same one that your Betta dwells in too. It must be admitted that their lives were shorter than perhaps they should have been, but not for lack of his trying. I recall one in particular that upon our return from the store was found floating belly up in the plastic bag of water, never made it into the bowl. A return to the store for a replacement was made and that one at least made it into the bowl, but was belly up the following day. Son kept trying, but success was short lived each and every time. He never stopped trying, but eventually gave every fish the same name. The name : “Bet-ya” as in bet you don’t survive! This sweet Betta should live a long and happy life amidst the pages of your sketchbook!Thank-you!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks so much, Ellen! 😃💕And oh my goodness, that’s a fabulous story! Well, a not so fabulous ending for the Betta fish to be sure, but a beautiful tribute to youthful persistence at least!

  14. smzang 4 years ago

    “I’ve no idea how many others I can get to follow my lead, but sometimes, to affect a bit of change in this crazy world, it just takes one little fish.”

    A very lovely fancy fish it is too. I turned in my lap top and told my boss (make that ex boss) that I’m going fishing…
    actually I said i was going to make a career out of deciding what to do each day when I get out of bed and not a moment before. It is fun reading article after article at DO and celebrating your paintings. That fish has an absolute star quality
    and as for the glass, You are the champion my friend.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 years ago

      Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕I do try to paint glass whenever I can, I just love it! And kudos to your new career… that’s best kind of all! 😉

  15. Dawn Renee 3 years ago

    That is beautiful. I’ll spare the story, but I knew a very special Beta fish named Jeremiah who convinced me that fish have feelings too. It’s heartbreaking that they’re always kept in such tiny, empty containers.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Dawn! 😃💕 Ohhh… Jeremiah sounds like a wonderful and special fish indeed!

      • Dawn Renee 3 years ago

        You’re welcome. Thank you, that your post & art made me think of him (but possibly her : ). Jeremiah was a special little being, indeed!

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