Though I initially tried to sketch my current myself for our prompt of “self-portrait,” the result didn’t feel like me. I was worrying about getting everything just right so it looked human and then making tiny adjustments to make it actually look like me. Well, the me that one sees when they just look at me. So, I quickly ditched that one and just scribbled what was in my heart. If anyone were to actually meet me in person and sit down for a chat, I would end up seeming more like this doodlewash. A little boy, sort of lost in a sea of color and confusion, perfectly mesmerized and thoroughly excited to be there. When I finished this scribble, I was happy to doodle and color it. It was more authentic to me and told a bit of a story that might just relate to other folks out there as well. After all of these years, it’s still so much fun to play with color! In truth, I’ve not even strayed that far from my reckless “techniques” of my youth. To prove it, the other day I sketched a couple quick flowers and colored one in crayon and the other in watercolor. Watercolor was certainly prettier for it’s beautiful fluidity, but the style was exactly the same. I was pleased to discover that I’m indeed still that little kid holding a crayon and learned that Little Charlie guides me even more than I ever realized at first. Thanks, little guy!
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be working on a way to share my own version of how I sketch and paint with those of you who might be curious. Like today’s doodlewash, I started doing the obvious and then changed it up entirely to make it more authentic to me. The result is something I think is super cool, but I’ll be excited to see your reactions when I reveal it! Just remember this little boy from my self-portait and most everything I’ve written about here on this blog and you probably won’t be surprised at all. And I know I’ve alluded to “this thing” I’m working on before, so thanks for your patience. I just know that if I don’t make public announcements like this, my attention issues will get the best of me and I might not actually DO it. Now I simply have to! As a kid, I didn’t need this kind of motivation. I could barely be controlled and would dutifully finish, or at least finish to my own standards, everything I set out to do. These days, I’m still battling all of that awful adult self-doubt. I’ve always worried that my own personal approach to watercolor simply isn’t worth sharing. It’s wildly simple in the end and based on approaches we all did naturally in childhood. Granted, my technique is enhanced quite a lot on a regular basis by all of my amazing art instructors, but at its core, it’s terrifyingly simple.
As I was struggling to find my place, I think I’ve finally found it. I’m both a beginner’s introduction to sketching and watercolor as well as a friendly reminder for those more advanced as to why they adored this medium in the first place. From day one, my passion has always been simply to inspire more people to just try drawing and painting. And, with World Watercolor Month, which returns in July, and anything sold on this site, I’m able to offer a way to give back and support our future artists and get art supplies to kids who need them via The Dreaming Zebra Foundation. Those kids who are just like we all were once. Thrilled to play with color and make something new. I celebrate this with all of my heart! I’ve no idea where my own art journey will take me, but if I can inspire, bring artists together with one another, and share what I can along the way, then I’ll have made my little self proud. And, in the end, I think that’s all my personal journey has ever been about. There were so many dreams and schemes that Little Charlie had in store for the two of us. And this now quite middle-aged man is bound and determined to fulfill all of them. I’m a bit scared and worried that I won’t actually be able to DO it. But that’s just my adult mind talking. All I have to do to get past it is take a moment to consider this portrait of an artist.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Leaf Green, Quinacridone Red, Opus (vivid Pink), Benzimida Orange, 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!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!