For Day 10 of #WorldWatercolorMonth and our prompt of “Ocean Creatures,” I opted for an octopus. Not sure exactly why this was the very first thing that came to mind, but I suspect it’s because I’m currently watching Stranger Things on Netflix and just had tentacles on the brain. But, I do really love these creatures, and just said it like that because I actually wanted to type octopi, which isn’t really a correct plural, listed as “questionable” in the dictionary, with the more accepted version being octopuses. But, like so many things in life, the questionable version is often just a bit more interesting. This line of thinking often makes me seem like a bit of rebel but, in truth, that’s not really the case at all. I never set out trying to do things in a different way, I just never worry about what way I DO them in the first place. I like to play when it comes to my art and indeed, I view it as my playground. A time when I can put aside all of the rules and expectations of the day and just enjoy a moment of solace with my pen and my watercolor. This is the very feeling I hope to evoke in anyone reading this. Not just when it comes to watercolor, but life in general. I hope each of you will let your heart guide you to the artist that’s simply wonderfully, and uniquely you.

I have to admit that my greatest joy of being a central hub for all things watercolor and sketching has been that I get to meet artists from all over the world. It’s been the most rewarding bit of my own art journey. And then, in turn, you get to meet them as well through the featured guest posts that appear on this site. What I adore most is that the stories all begin in a very similar fashion. Very often going back to when we were kids or when we were, at the very least, younger and focused on a completely different thing. Then there’s this eureka, light bulb moment, when the artist discovers a new passion. While certainly, on this site, that passion most likely includes watercolor and drawing, it’s more than that. What I love seeing in the stories that appear on this site is the incredible sense of hope and discovery. That brilliant mingling of everything we thought we wanted combined with all of the things we ultimately needed. It’s this mix of hope and discovery that brings me back to my sketchbook each and every day. It’s not about trying to get better at something, it’s about trying to understand that something that enthralled me, just a bit better. It’s a journey, not a destination, and one that holds so many awesome adventures along the way!

At least, that’s the way I feel about it in my childlike mindset. I guess it could all be made more difficult or challenging in some way, but I opt for focusing on the play instead. It’s equally why I don’t have a step-by-step technique to share. What I do is never quite the same, but looks similar simply because it’s me doing it, after all. My own approach is really no different than that of a small child. There’s no formulas, processes, or other tedious things to consider. There’s just a few simple tools and a world of color and lines to scribble, doodle, color! Perhaps it’s my penchant for always sharing the stage with amazing guest artists, but my secret hope is that you focus on the fun and continue to create things in your own incredible style. As I often say, style isn’t something that you find, it’s something that’s already found you. If you find it frustrating to paint exactly like someone else, that’s just your inner child telling you to grab all you can of that brilliant knowledge and use it as you go back to doing what comes naturally. After all, that’s what we all did as kids. And, I still, to this day, continue to grab as much insight as I possibly can from the awesome teachers who inspire me most! Then, I blissfully drift back into my own creative world, happily exploring whatever comes my way, as I start a brand new day, tangled up in thought.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Vermilion, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with black 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!
Octopus Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail

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31 thoughts on “Tangled Up In Thought

  1. Great octopus Charlie! Our oldest daughter loves octopuses and they often find their way into her artwork. Unlike many of us she has found a way to keep art in her life and tries to make part of her living doing what she loves.

    1. Thanks, Karen! 😃💕I love that your daughter is doing that! That’s just what I’ve done in life. I’ve only ever had an art-related job and have always made it my hobby as well. It’s a really wonderful life!

  2. This is the cutest ocean creature with all the little suction cups and colors. As scary looking as they are in real life you managed to put a smile on his face making even me the least bit afraid. Loved your story too.

  3. Your octopus is most excellent! It is hard to explain how one does one’s art in a step-by-step method since so much of it just flows and decisions are made as you go. I’ve learned a lot from trying to teach what I do though – it’s the best kind of brainstorming.

    1. Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕 Glad you liked my octopus! And I agree… having made my first Activity Book, I was forced to stop and consider things… and yeah, I still didn’t quite do it step by step, but the entire book is actually a true step-by-step process. lol It was fun to see how my mind actually works!

  4. Made me think of a design…a heart made from strings. It resembles one of hose mind teaser rope puzzles and you have to follow each end to find the right rope. Yeah

  5. One fine octopus for sure; they are truly amazing and smart too, as seen in Nat Geo videos. I wonder what he is thinking, looking out at us??! Picking up techniques from other artists is the best way to learn. It’s the innate beauty of discovering what one needs, as you said, that propels us to new paths we never thought we would follow.

  6. Another amazing sketch! I too thought octopus when I saw this prompt. Lol Maybe it was the creature word. I always think of octopus’s octopi, (tomato, toemato) as monsters. I chose to sketch a mermaid, something friendlier. However, I have seen some scary mermaids!

  7. Charlie says, ” style isn’t something that you find, it’s something that’s already found you.”

    so very true and this too, from Charlie: “I blissfully drift back into my own creative world, happily exploring whatever comes my way, as I start a brand new day, tangled up in thought.”

    Not only is that a great way to be, it ties everything to the title and to the painting. Can you imagine having 8 arms with 8 paint brushes going at one time? What an exhibit that make!!!

    1. Thanks, Sarah! 😃💕 Oh my goodness… if I had 8 arms…. I could get SO much done!! lol I would love that! But I have a feeling each one would want something different and I’d end up tangled up in them.

  8. Charlie just letting you know I tried painting my sketch but it just wasn’t my day and it happens . Right?? Any if you want to check out my sketch checkout my latest blog post.

    1. It totally happens! I have SO many days that just aren’t my day when it comes to sketching! But it’s still so much fun! 😃💕 I’m not sure where to check your post though… you show up as part of the Doodlewash community, but haven’t posted anything yet. 😊

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