Skating Through Life

Penguin Ice Skating Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Skates” today, I had very little time to make a sketch, so I did a quick brush pen sketch of a penguin ice skating and splashed on a bit of watercolor. The credit for this one goes entirely to my inner child, as my adult brain was stressing about my lack of time. The kid in me promptly took over and said, “we’ve got this” and then a little skating penguin appeared. Not my usual style, but fun to DO and proof that you don’t need any time at all to make a little something each day. Thanks, Little Charlie, for the reminder. I think my inner child is fighting for attention as the holidays pass. Philippe and I were out shopping today and it’s always sad to see all of the holiday decorations disappearing. Next up is New Year’s Eve, but we never attend any parties or gatherings. Yet, I’m still excited for the coming year. It’s a fresh start to try brand new things and relive things that I haven’t done in quite awhile. I doubt this will include ice skating, however, since I was really rubbish at it. I would spend more time clutching the railing on the side or falling on my butt. Yet, even though I was horrible at it, I still enjoyed the experience. I’ve never had to be the best at something in order to find joy in simply DOing it.

In truth, sketching and writing each day is the first time in my life I’ve truly practiced something regularly. I typically just launch into new things and then bounce right on to other things without ever really bothering to develop any real expertise. I’m always fascinated and amazed when people can simply say, “I’m a writer” or “I’m an illustrator” and that’s exactly what they focus on all of the time. For me, life has always been a struggle to find my focus. Or to focus at all really. There are just so many things I want to DO and to try that I’ve sort of dabbled in them all. The effect, of course, is that I’m not quite any one thing, not a master of anything in particular, and quite likely haven’t succeeded as I might have if I’d ever made a specific choice. But I did make one, years ago, when I was that little kid hoping for everything in the world. I made the choice to simply try things that I found interesting and fun and never limit myself. Looking back, this has made for a really fun life’s journey with experiences that I’ll never forget. But looking forward, I often wonder if now might be a good time to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

What I’ve always wanted to be when I grow up is a writer/illustrator. And I never expected that my little blog that I started to simply commit to practicing watercolor sketching would provide me a path to DO just that. I’ve now written and illustrated hundreds of blog posts, a memoir and an activity book, but I’ve yet to write and illustrate a work of fiction. So, that’s definitely something I’m moving to the top of my bucket list. Who knows if I’ll ever be able to focus long enough to make it happen, but I will certainly try. And trying is still, for me, the most enjoyable part of this journey. It’s just really fun to play and try things without ever putting too much pressure on myself. Success for me is in the DOing itself and if something awesome comes from it then that’s even better! But, it’s never really the goal. I just keep on playing and enjoying each new little thing that comes my way. I truly believe that things all happen when they’re meant and they will always happen as long as I keep making that next move forward, happily skating through life.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Kuretake Sumi Brush Pen 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!
Penguin Ice Skating Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended9 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. Karen Fortier 10 months ago

    Little Charlie did good, fabulous sketch Charlie! If you are happy doing what you are doing growing up isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. Some of us grew up and lost our inner child and have struggled to reconnect.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕Yeah, my hope is to be that annoying little kid who always reminds us adults to play and have fun more! hehe

  2. Priscilla DeConti 10 months ago

    Wow oh wow…Love your penguin skating…and also again your wonderful words…recently I have been experimenting more and more…letting the child loose….thanks for the reminder of the awe and wonder of being childlike in our creativity.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕So thrilled you enjoyed this post. Yay to having fun and being creative!

  3. Sandra Strait 10 months ago

    Jack-of-all-trades and Master of none. I think that saying is meant to be slightly derogatory while saying that someone is handy at many things. I think it simply shows someone who is eager to learn, and true – maybe not the best at any one thing, but great at anything they try because of the cross utilization of their many talents. I think it is essential in today’s world.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      I agree… I’m proud to be a jack-of-all-trades… hehe So much more fun and it is always better to try a lot of different things! 😃💕

  4. Lisa 10 months ago

    Years ago, I interviewed for a job, and didn’t get it. I was totally bummed. I was complaining to a friend, probably for the 100th time, when she told me that in her experience, I just had to trust the process. If course she was correct. Not too long after I got a better job in a much better location, with much better benefits. I’ve done my best to live by that simple ideal ever since. So far, so good!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Excellent! Love that, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, I truly believe that things all happen as they should when they’re meant!

  5. Mary Roff 10 months ago

    Not sure that becoming a “master” of something is all that important as long as you enjoy the process(s) and your life along the way. I’ve never been able to figure out what I want to be when I grow up but I sure have had fun along the way and I keep adding things to my “to do or to try” list. I truly can not imagine being totally focused on only one thing. There are just not enough hours in the day. Love that ice skating penguin!! 🥰😍

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 hehe… yeah… I can’t imagine it either. I would get so bored if I ever chose to focus on just one thing at a time.

  6. Darlene Campbell 10 months ago

    Your skating penguin is fantastic!! It always amazes me that you don’t need a lot of time to create such a work of art! I’m not sure where my inner child is hiding when I need her or maybe she’s there but not artistic. 🤦‍♀️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Darlene! 😃💕 Your inner child is right there and she’s very artistic!! Sometimes you just have to hand over the entire box of crayons and let her play. 😉

  7. Zertab Quaderi 10 months ago

    Love the motion of the penguin! Stay a child, Charlie!

  8. Gary Middleton 10 months ago

    Great picture Charlie. I love your characters. I looked at a couple of skating penguins before I chose my picture.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Gary! 😃💕 Yeah, I’ve been trying to do a bit more characterization when I can. This was just a photo reference of an actual penguin, but looks nothing like it now. hehe

  9. Heidi S. 10 months ago

    I recognise some of what you write, the split between the child that has no problem to put down easily some drawing, a sketch, just something whatever, where my adult persona usually starts overthinking and no drawing / sketching / painting gets done, even if it is for pleasure. * sigh*
    The penguin is so full of life and seems to move so easy on the ice skates…
    With all the writing and drawing skills you have I really hope you can fullfill your wish to write an illustrated novel or graphic novel or anything of that kind of work of fiction

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Aww thank you so much, Heidi! 😃💕 And I’m thrilled this post spoke to you. Yeah, I think we really can do anything we want if we just turn off that adult brain long enough to imagine it properly. 😉

  10. Lori C 10 months ago

    Oh I love him! Simple and cute, my kind of style. Good for you for shuffling your goal of writing a novel to the top. If not a novel, how about a kid’s book?? 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Thrilled you liked him. Yeah, I’ve thought about a kid’s book or at least a small illustrated story that people might enjoy.

  11. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 10 months ago

    Aweeeeeeeeeee super cute!!! Happy you let little Charlie do this one. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 Thrilled you enjoyed Little Charlie’s penguin!

  12. smzang 10 months ago

    Charlie says, “Success for me is in the DOing itself and if something awesome comes from it then that’s even better!”

    and that explains the huge success of DOodlewash.

    That frisky penguin looks as if it skated straight out of a children’s book.
    It is a beautiful illustration. It gives me good energy just looking at it!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 Aww yay! Thrilled you enjoyed my little penguin. It was a very different approach for me!

  13. Loan Anh Pham 10 months ago

    Fabulous Penguin, Charlie ❤️. That is the one I truly love to gaze in hours. Yeb, I think I can touch a part you’ve skated through life, I adore the way you have faced 🌹

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 10 months ago

    A perfect post – the man who became what he always aspired to be and the penguin who’s happy to find himself exactly where he’s most comfortable.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 10 months ago

      Aww I love that interpretation! Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕

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