Standing Out From The Crowd

Day 16 - Three Giraffes Watercolor - Doodlewash

When I was visiting the Paris zoo last month I snapped several photos of the giraffes there. I had intended to choose one from the group to sketch, but this trio proved a fun challenge and so I doodlewashed all three of them. The one in the front was perfectly happy just standing alone and seemed to be in his own little world. While the two behind clustered together as though they were gossiping about him. I’ve no idea if giraffes actually engage in such nonsense, but it was fun to consider. And crazy to attempt, as sketching that many spots and spindly legs made my eyes cross. At a glance, most giraffes look quite similar, but upon further observation, each one is incredibly different. They have a serious of spots on them that are like personal tattoos, as no two are ever quite alike, and completely unique to each giraffe. It’s very much the same when it comes to sketching and painting. Each of us has an individual way of using the exact same tools, or indeed sketching the exact same subject matter, that always produces something uniquely wonderful.

After over three and half years, there have been more than 500 artists featured here on Doodlewash. And it’s fun to see all of the unique ways that people approach their art. One of the things that many artists seek when they’re just starting out is how to discover their personal style. A look that sets them apart from other artists. The fun part is that it’s already there and has been from the very beginning. It’s not a journey of discovery so much as one of development. When I first starting painting and sketching, I was enamored with so many of the styles I saw from other artists. I had no idea what direction I wanted to go, so I just sketched my way through it to find out. And, as it turns out, I’m still finding out each and every day. Finding new little things to try. Yet, no matter how differently I approach a sketch on a particular day, when you put them all together, they are quite clearly from the same hand. No matter what I do, I always show up with a bit of a similar look, a serious of spots like a giraffe that are completely unique to me. And though I sometimes still wish I could paint like some of those illustrators I admire, I know I will always have my own unique spots and so I wear them with pride.

Over these past few years, it’s so much fun to see all of your paintings and drawings scroll by.  I can often already tell who sketched or painted something before I even click on the image or read the name. Some artists have been part of the Doodlewash community since it began and it’s a joy to see your art change and morph with new styles and ideas. And, it’s even more fun to see that inexplicable “you” still there in every single one, no matter how different the style is today. That beautiful artist’s fingerprint that adds a special bit of magic to each line and brush stroke. I’m still playing and learning and will definitely try on different styles as I go along. And that’s absolutely something I recommend for all artists. It’s fun to explore and grow and change things up every now and again. And there’s a comfort in knowing that no matter what I do, I’ll always be doing it in my own unique way. There’s often a sense of competition in art as with all things, but one should never let that bother them. All we ever really have to do is show up and make something. And, of course, smile knowing that no matter what we create, we’re already standing out from the crowd.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Turquoise. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Click Here!
Three Giraffes Watercolor Sketchbook - Doodlewash
Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
25 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 5 months ago

    Your giraffes are fantastic! I can believe the two in back are gossiping. You are so right about the unique style of every artist. I play around with many techniques and styles of art, but I think my own personal style is noticeable in them all. My unique ‘spots’ show up no matter what kind of art I’m doing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕 Hehe.. yay to those unique spots! They’re wonderful! I can always tell when your work shows up and I always smile!!

  2. Lisa 5 months ago

    That front giraffe is pretty smiley. She must have a secret. I painted on Yupo today. So far it looks great. My style is that sometimes I don’t put on a second layer because the first one is so pretty, I don’t want to risk messing it up.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, I tend to add little smiles and sparkles in the eye to everything I paint. I’ve no idea what those secrets are, but I like having them there. And yay for Yupo! That’s a fun paper! And sometimes, one layer is all something needs!

  3. Sharon Nolfi 5 months ago

    You have a very appealing and recognizable style in both art and writing. Your giraffes have great personalities – the one in the front knows he’s being admired by the other two.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕 I hadn’t even thought of my writing style, but that’s awesome you see something unique there as well. And yep… that one in front I think rather enjoys being admired. hehe

  4. Carol Rieger 5 months ago

    This trio made me smile. Looks like they are getting ready to go to a party.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, Carol! 😃💕 Glad this made you smile! hehe… I would totally want to go to a giraffe party!

  5. LoriCtoo 5 months ago

    I love your style. It is simple, but yet detailed. Not only do we all have our own style, we have our own tastes. That is what is so wonderful about art, there is something there for everyone. Those two do look like they are up to something! Spot on! (teehee)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Yeah, I can’t help but add a bit of detail. I’m not remotely an abstract artist! hehe… but it’s just my style! And yep.. those two in the back are up to something for sure!

  6. LoriCtoo 5 months ago

    I keep forgetting to tell you, my pictures load sideways still I have to go in and fake edit them before hand. 🙁 Partly why I hit and miss on posting. Lol

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Oh no… that’s actually been an issue for quite some time with images taken with a mobile phone and uploaded. I activated a fix recently that seemed to be working. That said, these online systems can still get a bit confused when a phone is held sideways as there are two different ways to hold it! hehe

      • LoriCtoo 5 months ago

        I take them vertically and it spins them around. It’s not just your website either. I know after the previous iphone update it started doing it. I just installed the latest, maybe it fixed it! I think they do stuff like that to annoy us!

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

          haha! I agree… I’m sure they do it to annoy people like me who have a whole community using those features! It’s impossible to keep up with them all! 😊

  7. Jodi 5 months ago

    <3

  8. hootiebirdsartjournal 5 months ago

    Thank you Charlie for the pep talk. I have been worried about my “style” because I tend to jump around between watercolor, acrylics and collage. I will keep practicing and try to find my spots!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Glad you enjoyed this my friend! 😃💕 I can honestly tell you that you’ve already found your spots…. you’re just playing with how to wear them best! 😉

  9. memadtwo 5 months ago

    They do look like they are gossiping…and why not? (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      hehe! They do indeed! Although I’m so curious to know what topics giraffe gossip would consist of! 😉 lol

  10. June Hadaway 5 months ago

    Awesome giraffs! They have always been one of my favorites at the zoo. I think I have found my spot! No matter how much I try to make my paintings a bit different I think they all seem to have the same style. I think I will just go with it!!! 😁😄😆

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thanks, June! 😃💕 And yes!! Definitely just go with it! It’s a beautiful style, not only because it’s uniquely you!

  11. smzang 5 months ago

    I am always amazed when my thoughts are completely in tune with the artist’s.

    I was playing catch up and I just replied to Getting Lost in the Forest…It was the
    first post I read when I logged, on, No doubt you have already read my comment or
    will soon. It says exactly what you said in this post: Charlie said, ” no matter what I do, I’ll always be doing it in my own unique way.” I would add ‘your own way’ is a grand way indeed!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 months ago

      Thank you my friend! 😃💕 You always make me feel like what I’m doing matters. Thanks for that! And I’m thrilled you like my unique way!!

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