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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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Vermilion, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). 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!
Marbles Yo-Yo Jacks Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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32 thoughts on “Simpler Times

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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. 😉

  5. 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. 🙂


  6. 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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