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.
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!
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