For our optional World Watercolor Month prompt of “Sharp,” I thought of what it means to be sharp. One can be sharp-witted or even sharply attired, so I ended up with a little sketch of a kitten sporting some glasses next to a stack of books. I’ve no idea if glasses make one smarter, but I’ve worn them ever since I was a kid, and I’ve always been a bit of a nerd. I did try contacts for a time, and I really can’t remember them making me less intelligent, but I do remember them drying out within the first few hours they were in, so we’ve since parted ways. These days, I sport blue glasses, but I also own some like the kitten is wearing. What’s not quite as sharp as it used to be is my eyesight. Or indeed, it’s just gotten odd and unpredictable. For example, if I were just a couple of inches shorter, I wouldn’t need my glasses anymore to see my sketchbook clearly. Sometimes I bend over the page like a little old man without them, but that’s not truly comfortable or indeed very sharp.

Lately, I have tried to read more books as I think that it keeps my creativity high and my mind functioning as it should. It’s often tempting to spend way too much time online, but unless I’m taking a class of some kind, it’s usually not the kind of experience that’s a real brain stimulator. Though, looking at videos of cute kittens is certainly an enhancement for the soul. And, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m on a streak of practicing more narrative illustrations of animals, which I love to sketch most. It’s not that I have anything against people, in fact it’s the opposite. I love them all, yet they come in so many different colors. So, unless I’m illustrating myself, I’ve always chosen animals, so I can create a visual story that’s more universal and speaks to more people. Nothing is every entirely universal, of course, as people have opinions about everything and I’m sure there are some who even have a disdain for cats. But sketching animals gets me a little closer to my personal goal that I’ve always had with my sketches of universal inclusivity.

While I’ve practiced each and every day now for over five years, I’ve realized that I haven’t studied things that I should. I need to understand and learn the simplified anatomy of animals so I can turn them in any which way I desire and create more dynamic poses. In art school, way, way back when, I only learned how to do that while drawing people. I mean, I get it, it’s far easier to get people to sit still in a class long enough to sketch them. But, then again, animals are at least already naked when they arrive so that’s one step down. Lately, Philippe and I have been watching a show called Secrets of the Zoo, about the Columbus Zoo in Ohio. While I adore learning about the animals, I mostly find myself studying them closely and watching as they move around, imaging that next idea for a sketch. When you’re an artist, everything you do in life is another opportunity to look at it differently, always staying sharp.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Vermilion, Opus (Vivid Pink), Cobalt Turquoise, Ultramarine (Green Shade), Terra Cotta, and Indigo. 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!
Cat Wearing Glasses Books Watercolor Painting Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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26 thoughts on “Staying Sharp

  1. So adorable Charlie! Kittens and puppies are so much fun. Hope you are having a great weekend. Yard work and an online website building class for me. This is one of three free classes that I am taking through our local college just for fun. Yes I’m a nerd too.😉

  2. What always cracks me up is rubber stamps that have animals with glasses on. That and animals driving cars! haha Cute kitty 🐱🐱🐱. Your comments about glasses making you smarter, reminded me of one of my students when I taught 5th and 6th grades. We were discussing slave ships. I had each student take turns reading. In the middle of a paragraph, one of my students shot his arm straight up in the air. I thought he needed to use the restroom because he was really flagging me down. I finally had to acknowledge him and he says, “Miss Delgado, where does God live?” RANDOM! I reminded him that we were in the middle of reading. He insisted. “Where does He live? What does He looks like?” This is public school so I can’t really answer him without causing hysterics so I said for him to ask his parents. He quickly informs me that he already did and they have no idea, which is why he was asking me. The next obvious question is, “Why are you asking me? Why would you think that I would know?” He looked at me like ” duh” and says, “Because you wear glasses! Smart people wear glasses and you’re wearing glasses so I figure that you would know!” I didn’t want to laugh because of his sincerity. Thankfully , the bell rang and class was over. 😊 Anyway, cute kitty. Sometimes I think I see better without my glasses!

  3. Charlie, are you familiar with John Muir Laws? He’s a naturalist as well as an artist, and has tons of videos, worksheets, etc. including ‘bone worksheets’ with skeleton references. He got all sorts of stuff about the anatomy of birds, plants – anything to do with nature. He’s dyslexic, which means his organization and teaching style is a bit different, and I think good for the attention-deficit (and it’s fascinating listening to him talk about that). Here’s the link for his blog, where you can get an overview of what he offers (a huge amount of which is free!).

  4. Our cat Kirbie likes to spend her days outside sitting on or under the deck. Joe forgot to let her in one day last week so had to go out in the dark to get her. He found her trying to make friends with a skunk!! She is not the sharpest tack in the drawer! Luckily, no one got sprayed, so crisis averted!

  5. Hehehe, looks like you! Sharp little kitty. My son once put his Build A Bear Football Helmet on our cat. It was too funny. I have a picture of her. She wasn’t amused,needless to say. 😉

    1. Hello Charlie,

      That kitten looks adorably sharp coz of the glasses! I remember as a kid I had a strong dislike for people who wore glasses because everyone I knew who wore them were either serious unsmiling grumps or were doctors (I have a phobia of all things medical). My world turned upside down the day my Dad got reading glasses and I realized sweet fun people wear them too. Now, at 39, when I look around me I see fun people wearing glasses outnumber the serious ones without. Weird!


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