Splashing Color

Madarin Duck Watercolor Illustration

For Day 19 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Splashes Of Color,” I chose this little mandarin duck. I think these birds are fascinating with all of the different textures and varying colors. I used my usual scribble, doodle, color approach in my style I like to call faux realism. What I love is that no matter how complex something seems, if I just scribble in some lines, and then start gleefully coloring it with watercolor, the doodle suddenly comes to life in the wash! I adore the illusion that can be created by splashing color about on paper. It’s magical and amazing how our brains fill in the gaps! It’s also true, that I wanted to be a magician when I was a little kid. I could perform several card tricks, but was a bit too clumsy for sleight of hand. This is called “close-up” magic and is quite a revered skill. My solution was simply to ask my audience to stand on the other side of the room during each performance and sometimes close their eyes at key moments while I fumbled with a coin. This stumbling difficulty with absolute precision followed me into adulthood. So making a little watercolor sketch is the perfect way to combine my actual skills with the ones I lack in a fast and fun way each day!

Looking back, I think now that it wasn’t so much about becoming a magician, but thinking I’d finally get that rabbit I always wanted if I managed to do so. Neither ever happened, but that feeling of wanting to create a bit of magic is still with me. It’s likely why I don’t suffer over technique and focus more on lines and splashes of color. Even though I’m coloring like I’m holding a crayon again, watercolor creates unusual and fascinating special effects every time. So, it’s my absolute favorite way to color my sketches. Also, as a kid, I focused on having fun first and foremost. I hope the same for all of you in whatever creative endeavor you choose. Sure, there are artists who enjoy the struggle and difficulty of art, but I don’t quite understand that. If that’s your thing, then by all means DO it! We should always follow whatever path our art demands. But, if like me, you simply enjoy the more therapeutic side of art that comes without any stress at all, then come doodle with me! As I always say, I’m recess, and after you’re done playing you can go back to class feeling refreshed and ready to create!

And in the spirit of playing with color in fun ways, I also have something fun to give away! Official World Watercolor Month Sponsor Winsor & Newton is inviting you to think outside of the tube with their watercolour markers! You can combine these with brush, tubes, pans, and water to expand your watercolour painting possibilities. Ten winners can try a Winsor & Newton watercolour marker for themselves with a sample of Winsor & Newton professional watercolour paper. This one is limited to US/Canada only, so definitely check out the main World Watercolor Month international giveaways here! If you’d like a sample, simply add “I Want Watercolour Markers!” to your comment below! To give everyone a bit more of a chance, I’ll draw 10 names from everyone who comments with the phrase tomorrow night before I post, and those 10 lucky folks will get a sample (be sure to look for my reply to you so I can let you know, and you can then send me your name and address for shipping). We should always be experimenting finding new ways to enjoy the journey that comes with splashing color.

UPDATE: Sample giveaways for this post have ended.

Want To Sketch Stuff With Me? Check Out My New Activity Book!

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Benzimida Orange, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Cobalt Turquoise, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia 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!
Madarin Duck Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
48 Comments
  1. Cryss BlackWolf 1 month ago

    “I Want Watercolour Markers!” I’ve never tried these and they sound fun!

  2. Susan Beaumont 1 month ago

    I want Watercolour Markers:) but I also want to say how much I love your wood duck and its beautiful colours just like a harlequin! Painting for the joy of splashing colour is right in my heart. Thank you for this wonderful post!

  3. Karen Fortier 1 month ago

    Great mandarin duck, so colorful! “Want Watercolor Markers.” I’ve never tried them.

  4. Sandra Strait 1 month ago

    Ooow! I do want those Watercolour Markers! BUT *sigh* I’ll be good and let someone else have the chance. It isn’t easy being greedy, lol. I love your duck. You’ve captured the way the light shines off their feathers!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      hehe! Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Glad you liked this! These ducks don’t even look real so they’re strangely challenging to paint! hehe

  5. Mary Roff 1 month ago

    Love your wood duck…and one of these days I will be able to do the scribble, doodle, color approach without over thinking working it; It sure is a more fun way to paint. “I want water color markers”.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕Glad you liked this… hehe… yeah, scribble, doodle, color is so fast and fun! And, your name was drawn! I’ll have some watercolor marker samples sent your way!

  6. Sharon Nolfi 1 month ago

    I love the idea of you being recess! Beautiful duck and “I Want Watercolour Markers!”

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      hehe… yay! Glad you like that idea! 😃💕And, your name was drawn! I’ll have some watercolor marker samples sent your way!

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 1 month ago

    This Mandarin is a handsome dude. I’m trying to learn to let go and let the art happen instead of being in very rigid control, my usual approach. It’s why I love the watercolorists who let the water do its job of extending the journey. Of course I want watercolor markers.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕My approach is really scribbles and color… my control comes from using a bit less water. More about time control so it all dries quick enough! lol And your name was drawn! Send me a note here with you address to confirm I have the right one! – https://doodlewash.com/contact/

  8. smzang 1 month ago

    Everything you paint, everything you write shows the magic that lives within you
    and bubbles forth to brighten up our lives. Thank you, once again!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      That’s such a sweet thing to say! Thank you so much, Sarah! 😃💕 I’m so thrilled you enjoy these posts!!

  9. June Hadaway 1 month ago

    Beautiful splashes of color on your wood duck. Love all the color you gave him. Doodling is so much fun and would be more fun with a water color marker. “I want watercolor markers”. Thank you in advance just in case I win one. 😁

    • June Hadaway 1 month ago

      P.S. I am so happy it turned out that you became an artist and not a magician. Although watercolor can kind of be like playing with magic.

      • Author
        Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

        Me too! I’m glad I decided to take the art path instead. Still magical! 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 1 month ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕And, your name was drawn! I’ll have some watercolor marker samples sent your way!

      • June Hadaway 4 weeks ago

        Thank you so much and Thanks to Winsor and Newton too. I am excited to try them.

  10. Lisa 1 month ago

    I learned a few magic tricks just well enough to impress children and a few gullible adults. Lol! My dad sailed on the great lakes and he learned magic when he was doing that. I think when you’re transporting iron ore across Lake Superior, you spend a lot of time being bored and learning stuff. Of course there is that frenetic half hour coming into port that makes up for all the boring time. Cool duck!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕That’s so cool your name knew so magic tricks to teach ya. Definitely would keep one occupied while sailing across the lake!

  11. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 1 month ago

    Oh so sweet!!!! Love the colors! So vibrant. Watercolor markers? I did not know they existed lol. “I Want Watercolour Markers!” Please. Thanks for the opportunity 🙂

  12. swxe 1 month ago

    “I want Watercolour Markers!”
    Your duck makes this look so fun and easy.
    I’m trying to lighten up my tendency to overly detailed realism, just enjoy the process, AND make it portable so I can go sit out in the garden and do some grounding at the same time.
    Have been enjoying your thought processes as well, and passing these along to artist friends…

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕Glad you’re enjoying these posts! And everything I DO is really fun and easy… it’s just that I’ve been practicing every day for 4 years that makes some turn out strangely realistic! It’s all still quick scribbles and color! And your name wasn’t drawn for this one, but there’s another one coming so be sure to watch these posts!

  13. Janna Coleman 1 month ago

    This lil bird is so colorful and pretty. Your combinations of colors are so inspiring and your Your colorful story over morning coffee brightened my entire day! Yes “I want watercolor markers”.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Janna! 😃💕 Glad you liked this and my stories! Your name wasn’t drawn for this one, but there’s another coming so be sure to keep watching these posts!

      • Janna Coleman 4 weeks ago

        Of course, your artwork and stories are my morning ☕️…thanks Charle😃

  14. Robert J. Coleman 1 month ago

    This little mandarin duck looks like the one that was hanging out in Central Park, New York City, last year. Birders went crazy trying to determine how he got to NYC. I think the consensus was was that he was an escapee from a private farm or zoo. We used to see them all the time down i Naples FL, where they would stop traffic to lead their chicks across the street! They looked like waddling watercolor paintings, in 3D! And I’m glad that you chose the magic of watercolor, your work is so satisfying.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 Cool that one decided to hang out in Central Park! That’s awesome! Glad you liked my mandarin duck… they are so odd that they’re tough to make look realistic! They look fake no matter what!

  15. LoriCtoo 1 month ago

    I want watercolor markers, but then I also want a baby goat. :p I would love to see a mandarin duck in person. Especially if he happened to be as colorful as yours. Thanks for the reminder to just play and don’t worry about the rest. Playing does make me happier. 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks Lori! Glad you liked this! 😃💕 And yay to play!! Yes, yes, yes!! hehe And I can’t help on the baby goat wish, but your name WAS drawn for watercolor markers, so I’ll have some sent your way! 😉

      • LoriCtoo 4 weeks ago

        Oh my! Those will be fun to play with. Thank you!!! I did some playing on my rainforest prompt……you’ll see. 🙂

  16. Karen Colson 1 month ago

    “ I want watercolor markers”
    … always fun to try a new tool . Thanks Charlie

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕 Your name wasn’t drawn for this one, but there’s another coming, so keep watching these posts!

  17. Susan King 1 month ago

    I want watercolor markers! I’d love to try them. Thanks for the opportunity.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks, Susan! 😃💕 Your name wasn’t drawn for this one, but there’s another coming, so keep watching these posts!

  18. Brian 1 month ago

    I want watercolour markers. Would be interesting to try them out.

  19. Laura Kate 1 month ago

    Mandarin duck is a good choice.

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