Taking A Safari

Leopard Watercolor Illustration

The next stop on our travel art challenge brings us to a prompt of “Safari,” which means an expedition of some sort to view animals in their natural habitat. So, technically, this includes a walk out my front door to enjoy the little rabbits that I’ve seen hopping around. But, since I painted those recently, I opted for a virtual trip to Africa instead in the form of this doodlewash of a leopard. This is the first time I’ve attempted to sketch one of these animals, as the spots seemed unusually challenging. Thankfully, when you’re a scribbler, like me, spots are really not difficult at all and rather fun to make. And though the page of a sketchbook doesn’t really qualify as a natural habitat for a leopard, it was a fun adventure to see one appear there. It’s such a joy to just sit for a moment and make a little sketch of something. With no grand notion of how it should turn out and knowing it’s just a little illustration for my ramble today, it’s always stress-free and relaxing. That said, I do have a secret hope that I’m improving little by little as I discover new things along the way. It’s a joyous journey, and I hope everyone who’s decided to go on the trip with me this month is already having a lovely time indeed!

I’ve actually cited “go on an African safari,” in my little three item bucket list I created last year during the launch of my first Da Vinci Watercolor Trio. The other two items included “publish an illustrated memoir,” which I did already, so yay! And the last one was “learn how to speak French,” which continues to be the most challenging, and will likely be the last item I cross off the list. In truth, I didn’t specify what learning to speak French really meant, but in my heart I know it should read, “learn how to speak French properly so I’m understood and no longer get those sad and confused looks when we visit our family in Paris.” Philippe and I had a video call from Paris today with my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and niece, Alice, who just turned five years old. Alice counted to ten for me in perfect English, with barely any noticeable accent at all, that adorable little showoff. Philippe sang  “Joyeux Anniversaire” to her and then I sang “Happy Birthday” in English, which brought huge smiles as it was somehow more exotic. This would be the only circumstance in which this silly little song would ever be viewed in this way, of course.

But, thinking about my little bucket list made me realize I should probably put a bit more effort into those final items waiting there. We never know how much time we have left in this world, so it’s always best to try and DO everything we can, sooner rather than waiting until later. Sure, I tend to attempt more things at once that are truly humanly possible, but even if not everything gets done, many more things DO get done than would have, if I’d not tried at all. Though successes are certainly something to celebrate, I have a very strong fondness for all of my little attempts. Those many times when I rush into something just to see if I can DO it! Sometimes I can, and other times I simply can’t, but that doesn’t stop the thrill that I feel each and every time I try. So, I always encourage others to try as well. Whatever little idea or trip you have burning in your heart, now is definitely the time to make that a reality. There’s really no better time at all. When something inspires us, we should always listen, and though success may or may not be the outcome, we’ll still always find ourselves in that delightfully adventurous state of taking a safari.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Benzimida Orange, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, 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!
Leopard Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Mary Roff 3 years ago

    Beautiful leopard…the eyes are wonderful!

  2. louiseaprimeau 3 years ago

    ohhh, this guy has his sights locked on his prey already! C’est superbe Charlie!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Merci beaucoup, Louise! 😃💕hihi… Oui! He has definitely set his sites on something yummy!

  3. Sandra Strait 3 years ago

    Spots may be easy for an artist, but the artistic shows in the pattern they are placed. You didn’t just splash a bunch of spots here and there. Instead, you created the form of the leopard through the placement of the spots.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, the spots are pretty much the whole form of a leopard it turns out! hehe… My pencil scribble didn’t figure that out as much, but when I went in to doodle with ink I corrected a lot as I went along! 😉

  4. Karen Fortier 3 years ago

    Great leopard Charlie. It’s great that you have a bucket list and have something ticked off it. I don’t have one and really should. Well I sort of do. The main thing that I wanted to do was to pursue my art journey which I am and loving the journey!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕Hehe… sounds like you’ve already ticked something off your list as well! Yay to your art journey!! Thrilled you’re enjoying it!

  5. Sharon Nolfi 3 years ago

    Yes to not putting things off. Life is fragile and our existence precarious, so DO it now! Great leopard.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 And yes, I think we should definitely DO it now! Or at least attempt it… hehe… it all makes the journey more exciting!

  6. Lisa 3 years ago

    Geez, I started to write something here, then hopped over to look something up and then fell down the rabbit 🐇 hole that is YouTube, and by the time I got back here I forgot what I was going to say, which turned out to be a good thing because what I had already written had disappeared anyway. BUT, that is a fine nappy cat. I watched someone make a leopard out of needle felting. He did such a wonderful job that he paid attention to the patterns of spots on leopards. I admire that, but it would bore the living daylights out of me!! Long live abstraction!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 hehe… oh I adore the rabbit hole of YouTube!! Philippe and I end up there almost nightly! lol So fun! And I was lucky to make a leopard on paper… I bow to whoever can do so in needle felting! Cool!

  7. Joan Canning 3 years ago

    Magnificent leopard you painted Charlie. Your creative mind definitely went on its own Safari an it captured such a stunning creature. WOW

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Joan! 😃💕 So thrilled you enjoyed my leopard… I’m trying to challenge myself to try things I would normally avoid lately. hehe 😉

  8. LoriCtoo 3 years ago

    Wow! He is gorgeous! I think I have done one of the prompts this month. Lol. I’ve decided to do some of the many classes I have signed up for and never finished. (That would be on my bucket list if I had one!) So I am still painting. 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks, Lori! 😃💕 hehe… and yay to taking classes! And prompts are always totally optional. I just find I sort of need them as I have to decide, create, and post something so quickly each day! lol So, still add the #doodlewashAugust2019 hashtag when you post on social… whatever you end up making! 😉

  9. Tilly Collins 3 years ago

    Wonderful leopard! You’re very talented. I hope you’re having a creative week. =)

  10. Robert J. Coleman 3 years ago

    Wow, what a super leopard; she looks lik she is resting with a full belly, looking out at us deciding if one of us should be dessert! Your cats are really excellent, from the little kittens to the Big cats, like that lion cub a few days ago. And you really must get on track to learn French; the most important thing is training the ear and I’ll bet you have a superb teacher right there at home. Eh mon ami, c’est non pas dificile!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕lol… he’s totally waiting to see what’s for dessert! And yes, I must get back to focusing on French. My teacher is fluent, to be sure, but he lacks much of the patience required for teaching linguistically-challenged folk! hehe

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕Glad you enjoy my cats! I know I’m allergic to the smaller ones, but have never gotten close enough to the larger ones to find out! hehe And yes, I DO have a native French speaker at home, but I’m not sure he’s the superb teacher. He has all of the patience that I do, so sessions last for only a couple of minutes before he gives up! lol

  11. Laura 3 years ago

    I love the glass green eyes of your leopard. He looks both sleepy-lazy and intently watching for his next meal all at the same time.

    As far as learning French goes… I can recommend both total émersion (I’m at year 7 of that plan) or the Duolingo app/website. Duolingo helps with regular practice, just like your prompts here help us become better through practice.

    All the best with your list!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Laura! 😃💕I did actually try Duolingo for a time and even high-fived Philippe’s mom to a challenge. I can actually understand quite a lot now, but my pronunciation is horrid, no doubt my childhood speech problems coming back to me. It was all I could do back then to speak English properly. 😊

  12. smzang 3 years ago

    I once put (and lost) a deposit on a Serengeti Safari.
    My freshman year French book is titled Modern French (Decker and Bernhard)
    It was copyrighted in 1962…no longer lives up to its name.
    I still want to visit the Serengeti but I accept I will have to do so vicariously through
    paintings such as this. The post I read before this one took me on a ship loaded with
    treasure and the promise of adventure. This one takes me to the Serengeti…You DO
    have magic in both pen and brush.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 years ago

      Thanks so much, Sarah! 😃💕 Glad I could be part of your virtual journey! Yeah, I’m not sure if an African safari is in my future or not, but it’s fun to dream about the possibilities!

  13. shawnthompsonart 3 years ago

    Nice Jaguar, I really like the expression.

  14. Solicitor 3 years ago

    That’s nice

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