Simpler Times

Marbles Yo-Yo Jacks Watercolor Painting Illustration

For our prompt of “Yo-Yo” today, I got to thinking about how much fun I had playing with one as a little kid. Indeed, I could amuse myself for hours with really simple little things back then, but I wasn’t very good at using a yo-yo at all. For me, if I could just make it go up and down I was making something amazing happen. There are people who can do incredible tricks with yo-yos and there were always several tricks described in the tiny little manual that came with them. This was in the days long before YouTube videos, so only a few sparse illustrations and a handful of words was all that was offered up. I’d try my hardest to follow those little doodled diagrams and perform those amazing feats of wonder described on the packaging, but I always came up woefully short of any level of mastery. At the time, I thought it was perhaps simply because I didn’t have those cartoon hands.

Today, I was watching some videos of people demonstrating how to do some wild yo-yo tricks. It made me realize that videos make understanding some of those tricks a little easier, but also immediately showed me just how bad I really was. As a kid, I thought I was nailing it when I tried those tricks and the little cartoon hands couldn’t really prove otherwise. So, perhaps I have a little fondness for those tiny illustrated manuals after all. I liked imagining I was doing something properly rather than being implicitly shown I was doing it all wrong. That was the beauty of play back then. There weren’t really any rules, just guidelines and suggestions. Most of it we just had to make up as we went along. I love those times, and it’s actually how still approach many things that I DO today. I still just like to look at a few examples and then jump in with glee and reckless abandon.

And, I’m not sure how, but another week has managed to zoom past! World Watercolor Month starts next week, so please, please join us by remembering to always add the hashtag #WorldWatercolorMonth when you post any art that contains watercolors or gouache on social media in July. Yep, it’s just that easy! For me, life is at it’s best when it’s just easy and fun. And if, by chance, any of you out there know how to use a yo-yo like a champion, do also let me know that in the comments below. I will become your total fanboy. The world seems a bit chaotic lately and yet, together we can still find and celebrate the beauty in it. Indeed, we can actually create beauty and share it with the world. That’s a gift that one should never waste. And we all possess it. Just like when we were kids and could imagine the most amazing things with just a few toys. When I turn to my inner child, I always know that I’ll once again get to enjoy those simpler times.

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Marbles Yo-Yo Jacks Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

Recommended6 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Karen Fortier 2 years ago

    Fabulous childhood memories when I look at your post Charlie! Hours were spent playing simple childhood games. Growing up in a very small town our tribe of kids was small but we were close back then. I left after high school and lost those connections but the memories remain.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Aww I’m so happy this brought back good memories, Karen! 😃💕

  2. Loan Anh Pham 2 years ago

    Beautifullllllll🥰🌹I love that, Charlie❤

  3. Sandra Strait 2 years ago

    Alas. I don’t think I ever even managed to get a yo-yo to go up and down. I so sad that you won’t be my fan boy, sob!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      hehe! Yeah, well not for yo-yoing at least, I guess! 😉 💕 But for so many other things!

  4. DibakarRaha 2 years ago


  5. Lisa 2 years ago

    No yo -yo expert here. Or jacks or any other kids game that was popular back then. What I was good at was reading. I went through a lot of books every summer. We were part of the Summer Reading Program at the library and I remember filling out lists of books. I don’t remember any prizes, but for me that wasn’t the goal. I just liked the lists. I was an odd child that way.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      We have that in common! 😃💕 Hehe… yep… these games of coordination I was not good at, but reading! That was everything! Loved those lists!

  6. Zertab Quaderi 2 years ago

    What a splendid sketch of the yo-yo! Amazing! Even I couldn’t do any tricks with a yo-yo and was perfectly happy having it move up and down!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Zertab! 😃💕 yay! Glad I’m not alone there!

  7. Fatima Chamkha 2 years ago

    Beautiful Charlie!

  8. Sharon Nolfi 2 years ago

    I wasn’t very good at yo-yos either. Jacks were my favorite and I was pretty good at them. Love these paintings of once common diversions.

  9. Gary Middleton 2 years ago

    Nice doodle Charlie. I still play around with a wooden yo-yo, but I’m no expert. I remember playing playing Jacks as well. We used to use stones sometimes.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Fun memories… hmmm… maybe I should get a yo-yo again and give it a go!

  10. heila 2 years ago

    Beautiful! I was good at yo-yos and oh, how I loved to play jacks, nearly forgot about those. Thanks Charlie for bringing back wonderful memories.

  11. Mary Roff 2 years ago

    Beautiful yo-yo, Charlie!Never could do those fancy moves with a yo-yo but not for a lack of trying…more lack of coordination.. Doesn’t mean I didn’t have fun trying though. Good childhood memories!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Always fun to try though isn’t it?!

  12. Everett Cossaboon 2 years ago

    I still play my Yo-Yo. Never gets too old to do.

  13. LoriCtoo 2 years ago

    Oh jacks! I forgot all about those. They were fun. (Another good toy that went by the wayside because kids couldn’t keep them out of their mouths. Who the heck were these kids??) I still have my blue Duncan Imperial yo-yo! My dad had to replace the string on it because I wore it out or it got a super knot in it. Lol I wasn’t very good at it either,but I was able to do a few simple tricks. Thanks for the great illustration of a memory that was long lost. 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 years ago

      So happy this brought back fun memories, Lori! 😃💕 Oh, so true…. who are these weird kids who keep stealing all the fun away! We survived without helmets!

  14. Mugdha 2 years ago

    Hello Charlie,

    My yo-yo fascination ended within minutes of getting one. An older cousin tried showing me tricks and the yo-yo hit me squarely on my mouth giving me a cut lip. So that was that! But jacks were my favorite and you’ve sketched such lovely ones! Hope your foot is healing fast. 🙂


  15. Priscilla DeConti 2 years ago

    Wonderful! I wasn’t good at yoyo’s either but I could play some jacks LOL
    Lovely sketch and memories!!

  16. Sandra Pavloff Conner 2 years ago

    Marbles, jacks, and yo-yo’s. Brings back lots of fun memories. The yo-yo I remember best of all was one my “boyfriend” in first grade gave me for my birthday. It was huge and had all colors of stripes in a circle on both sides. 🙂

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