Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve wanted a Volkswagen bug because I had a little metal toy version back then that I loved. It was actually cherry red, but since today’s prompt is “favorite colors” I’ve painted it in orange, my second favorite color next to the blue of the glasses I painted yesterday. They are sitting next to each other now in a spread of my sketchbook, so together they truly create a complementary answer to this prompt despite the fact that glasses and a car are rather disparate objects. But, my sketchbook is full of random spreads like this and I think it gives it a lot of character and story. As for the toy car, it was actually rather large and my entire little hand could barely hold the top properly to roll it around. It was made of metal and real glass, so it seemed like someone had taken the actual car and shrunk it down it some magical machine of some kind. I imagined going to so many places in that little car that they almost seemed real as well. Though I was only rolling it around on the floor of our recreation room, in my mind, I was actually riding inside it. I would grab the wheel and head toward amazing destinations that I’d only read about in books. Just rolling it in a circle behind me, we’d arrive at a castle, which was in itself an event for a car of any kind, and I’d open the door and step out to enjoy a new adventure.
I’ve no idea what happened to that little car. No doubt I ignored it too much at some point and my mother placed it in a garage sale. Or, perhaps, she still has it somewhere in that box of treasures labeled “Charlie” that gets smaller each time I visit when she attempts to send stuff back home with me and free up some space. I’ve not thought about this car in years, but now I’d rather love to have it back again. It’s a symbol of a time when my mind was at its most recklessly imaginative. A wonderful reminder to have on days where I’m not feeling very creative. Looking at my doodlewash version, however, those memories still come flooding back to me. It was a magical time indeed to drive to places without worrying how much gas it might take and believing in places to fantastical to ever actually visit. So, that’s why I choose to show up each day simply sketching stuff while making my own coloring pages and coloring them. It’s my way of reconnecting with the mind I know I need if I really want to make the coolest ideas actually happen. And I sincerely hope to be that friendly little kid cheering each of you on in your creative pursuits as well. That’s honestly always been the heart of Doodlewash and nothing at all has changed over the years.
This is still the website that Little Charlie made one day in a fevered dream of instinct and imagination. It’s also become an artistic playground for others to enjoy as well! And though I’ve jokingly talked about never growing up, the truth is that I have grown up. And in doing so, I’ve simply realized what’s most important in life. As it turns out, that hasn’t changed at all either over these many, many years. People often talk about what they know now and wish they could have provided their younger selves some of that knowledge. What I’ve learned is that particular thinking is perfectly backward. My younger self already knew the most important things in life. So, I instead go backwards in time to revisit those days and have a little mental chat with my wise young self. This is the very same premise of many science novels on time travel. That moment when a young person sees their older self and wants to practically scream at them for what they are missing. Don’t worry Little Charlie, I hear you loud and clear, and I hope beyond hope you’ll join me now as once again go riding in a toy car.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange, Quinacridone Red, 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!