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.
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!