For our Doodlewash prompt of “Rock,” paired with the Inktober prompt of “Sling,” we have a much younger Charlie with a slingshot. Thinking back, I’m not sure I remember actually owning a proper slingshot when I was a kid, but I do remember trying out a friend’s once. The target was a series of aluminum cans stacked on a small wooden table. What I remember most was that I was pretty terrible at it. I think I managed to hit the cans, but this was by mere chance and luck more than anything that could be attributed to real skill. In truth, I was usually shabby at many of the activities that were often enjoyed by other boys. Instead, I far preferred doing other things like making crafts with my mom. The idea of a creating something new has always seemed way cooler to me than toppling cans with a rock. I never really understood the intrigue there. I wanted to play with felt and glue and make crazy things from my imagination. Things that didn’t exist just a moment before I started making them. Making has always intrigued me and it’s why I still show up and make a little sketch each and every day.

I had no reference at all for today’s doodlewash, so I just sort of tried to make things up from scratch. This, combined with a human element, pushed me entirely outside of my comfort zone. A zone which I’ve been happily teasing and toying with all month long this month. As it turns out, without a reference, I couldn’t be “wrong” so it was actually a bit easier to make a quick little sketch.

Day 19 - Boy With Slingshot Inktober 2019 Illustration
I’ve no idea if this is what I looked like back then attempting to use a slingshot, but it was likely very similar. This was the moment just before I learned that I wasn’t very good at actually doing it. And what I remember about the moment after was that I didn’t really seem to mind that I sucked at it. I didn’t really enjoy it very much. There’s little point in trying to excel at something that doesn’t bring you joy, so there’s equally no point in feeling bad about not doing it correctly. I just went home and did something crafty instead.

These days, nothing much has changed. I focus on the things I have a knack for and those happen to always coincide with the things I truly love. It’s really tough to be good at something when your heart isn’t in it. Though true, I often wish I were better at the things I do, but that just takes a bit of practice. I don’t have very much time to practice my art, but I try a little something each and every day. Over time, it means I’ve learned a lot as I continue to try anything and everything this month, I’ve had a few hits and a few misses. But, that’s the beauty of making things. It’s the act of DOing it that provides the best reward. And, I’m happy to reconnect with my childhood self each day. Though they say that wisdom comes with age, I think Little Charlie had a rather great approach to life. It’s an approach that’s helped me through many adult struggles and inspires me to try new things each day. And though I may not have been a boy who loved flinging rocks as a kid, I still have a great deal of fondness for those slingshot memories.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Opus (Vivid Pink), Vermilion, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Cobalt Turquoise. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!
Boy With Slingshot Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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34 thoughts on “Slingshot Memories

  1. What a great “let’s give this a try” expression on young Charlie’s face. I’ve really enjoyed your sketches for Inktober, thank you for letting us come along on this journey with you.

  2. You are the master of perspective and a composition that leads the eye from the front to the back of your painting. It almost feels like being on a roller coaster – you just shoot from the top to the bottom!

  3. Boys with sling shots make me nervous. I imagine dead birds in their wake. I was glad you were shooting cans. A much better target!

    My cleaning girl was here today, and my neighbor brought dinnet, so I painted practice fence posts today. I finally nailed the gray. Next up, weeds. Lol

  4. Great slingshot post Charlie. I remember making slingshots from tree branches and something stretchy but I don’t remember what we did with them. I would have been trying to keep up with the boys as I didn’t like playing with dolls. Brief glimpses of small town memories. Likely I’m just too tired tonight. I am just getting back from a solo round trip to see mom. 4 hours to Maine, 4 hour visit and 4 hours home. I got to see the last of the foliage and snow on the distance peck of Mount Washington. Pretty day for a ride even if it started and ended in the dark.

  5. What? No reference photos at all? Awesome work, Charlie! I love the expression on your face showing that you were aiming at something. I have terrible aim with things flying through the air, but as you said, I don’t care to be good at those things. I’ll take felt and a glue gun any day!! I’ve enjoyed seeing the double versions of your Doodlewashes every day this month, too! 😍

  6. Great article and drawing, Charlie! I had a slingshot (of sorts) when I was about 10, made of a strong part of a branch in the shape of a ‘Y.’ I remember trying to hit a spider on a web, though fortunately for the spider my aim wasn’t the best. I completely missed it but managed to break one the neighbour’s small textured louvre windows… Oops! Went straight into our house to advise Mum what had happened, saying ‘Mum, I think I’m in trouble…’ Had to go around to apologise to the neighbour and offer to pay for the window. Needless to say, that was the end of the slingshot…

    1. Thanks so much! 😃💕 Oh wow… I adore your story! That’s awesome… I remember times like that as a kid. Sounds like your slingshot days were cut short quickly, and that I’m now thankful I only tried to hit cans. hehe

  7. Ahhh, you discovered what I discovered a few months ago. If I make up my own sketches, there isn’t anything to compare it to. It was like a weight was lifted off my pencil. Very good on your perspective of your young self!

  8. Ha, the look on your face. I think I’d be the same! Thankfully, I don’t remember anybody owning one of these growing up. With my handy co-ordination skills, I feel like it’d be more likely to come back and hit me than the target.

  9. I love these drawings Charlie!! I seem to gravitate to this style of painting, for some reason. You really do wonderful work! Again, I could see all these drawings/paintings illustrated in a book. Thanks for all these great posts!

  10. Charlie, great sketch of a fun tool of childhood, from the tin can’s point of view! It was replaced, in my childhood, by the Red Ryder BB rifle, a much more accurate tin can destroyer. But you decided to follow your interests and moved toward the creative arts. Your plan of life has been : Follow your joy!

  11. Charlie says, ” The idea of a creating something new has always seemed way cooler to me than toppling cans with a rock”

    So beautifully Charlie…and this, that Charlie said, too, “There’s little point in trying to excel at something that doesn’t bring you joy, so there’s equally no point in feeling bad about not doing it correctly.”

    I think that explains your joie de vivre.

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