For our prompt of “Origami” today, I wasn’t quite sure what to sketch. I adore looking at origami, but every time I’ve tried it myself the results are questionable. So, I made a little folded-paper dog and cat, although I’m not entirely sure all of the folds are correct. I’ve always wanted to be good at origami from the time I was a child. I thought that being able to create amazing things out of a single piece of paper would be so cool! As an adult, I can still make wonderful things with just a single sheet of paper, but in a very different way. Once as a kid, I folded a dollar bill into the shape of a swan and that was super enjoyable. Though it looked less like a swan and more like the Loch Ness Monster. As a young boy, that just made it cooler still. And I’ve grown up to cherish and appreciate those happy accidents, especially when it comes to sketching with watercolor.

Though I tried a lot of arts and crafts when I was a kid, I never felt like I was particularly good at any of them. I loved to make things, but I lacked the patience required to learn a skill with any remote level of mastery or finesse. That didn’t stop me from making tons of things and happily enjoying every moment, of course. What I realize now is that for almost everything I did, I would end up employing little hacks. I learned how to do things the proper way and then would shrink that timeline in half or more and do things my way. I wanted to make things, but I always wanted to make them quickly. It became like a game to see what I could create in just a few spare minutes before running back outside to play again. And, as many of you now realize, that hasn’t changed one bit as an adult. But, I like coming up with little ways to create something that looks kind of cool in just a matter of minutes. As fun as I find this approach, I do envy those with more focus and stamina.

What looks to some as that same quality in me, is really just a side effect of popping in to see what appears on paper next. Both from me and the many artists who paint along with me each month. I just get super excited to see what will appear! That’s really about it. I’m not sure that if I set out to learn and master techniques that I’d still be around DOing this today. In fact, I’m rather sure that approach wouldn’t work for me personally. I think it’s important to learn the proper way to do things, but if doing things that way every day feels like too much, then by all means create a few hacks that work for you. At least to keep you painting and sketching on a daily basis. When there’s time and focus you can always go back to that tough thing you were trying to master once again. What I’ve learned is that showing up to make something daily is the most important thing we can do as artists. It’s a habit that I hope to spread around the world as we each find our favorite ways to create those paper dreams.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Vermilion, Hansa Yellow Medium, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!
Origami Dog And Cat Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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35 thoughts on “Paper Dreams

  1. Wonderfully done Charlie! It was fun to see what everyone came up with. We have an artist here that was trying to combine watercolor with origami. I enjoyed talking with him and seeing what he was up to. The art center we attended briefly has closed. We are or were to have a local downtown art walk for a week starting Memorial day weekend filling the storefront windows. This was to be my first year doing it and the origami artist has done it in the past. I am having my doubts that it will go on. I am waiting to hear if I got juried in. There is always next year.

    1. Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Oh wow, that art walk sounds so wonderful! Yeah, nobody seems to know when things like that will happen again. I hope you got in though! And yes, there’s thankfully next year, which will definitely be a better time!

  2. I’m a lot like you in that, I want to do many things, but look for shortcuts. When I was very young, a neighbor taught my brother and me how to play the piano. Unfortunately, the first music book she used to teach us with had some kind of the extra notation, that I found easier to read, and after that, I ignored both the instruction and notes. My teacher was very surprised when we moved on to the next book and I had no idea how to read the notes. I did that kind of thing a lot.

    1. hehe… yeah, I did that sort of thing as well. I learned to read the notes, but enjoyed just playing piano by ear and even making up my own songs in the moment. I’m always impressed with people who have the focus and stamina to learn and continue to DO all of the proper techniques! 😉

  3. You’re going to love this, I used to teach origami. I took a class years ago and I was pretty good at it, so I taught a class or two. My name started getting around so I was on the public library summer reading program circuit for a while. Then the boy and girl scouts started hiring me too. Soon enough I became boring and that was the end. But, I can still fold a mean crane, and a fortune teller. Kids love those. I also taught adults how to fold Xmas ornaments. It was fun and paid pretty well as a side gig to my library director jobs.

    1. BTW, I don’t take short cuts very often, what I do is make one or two of something, buy all the tools and supplies to continue to do it, then get bored and quit.

  4. Well done! I did not know how to approach this prompt, so I have dance around it. Teehee. I’ve danced around a lot of them this month, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t painted every day. 😉 It’s in my blood to create and I have visited some long lost projects and art supplies. It’s been exhuberating for me! Here’s to a creative weekend!

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