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.
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!
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!