When met with a prompt of “textures”, my mind went to a million places at once and then I had the inexplicable desire to doodlewash a giraffe. I now realize this would have been rather perfect for our prompt of patterns, but I didn’t think of it at the time. So, I ended up with this tall and gangly creature, that’s bent down a bit so it could fit in my sketchbook. This particular angle makes her or him, I can’t possibly tell with giraffes, seem to be asking, “does my butt look big in this pic?” Though, I’m quite sure giraffes don’t really bother with such silly questions. We humans, however, are capable of worrying over the silliest of things. I often find myself doing this, and then giggling at myself for bothering over it in the first place. Sometimes, I tell myself stories that make me amazing and almost heroic, and other times I cast myself in a rather unfavorable light. I like to think of all of these stories as “tall tales,” those unbelievable and exaggerated stories of folk literature. Everything gets amplified and transformed into something a bit different in both directions, but somewhere in the middle exists a certain truth. Which is always the same. That, we’re all pretty awesome in our own way.
Many times, I’ve been regaled with stories by coworkers that I know have a few embellishments thrown in. I adore these stories, because a strictly documentary narrative would bore me to tears. But, that’s the beauty of tales like this. They are still a perfectly truthful account, they just have a bit more pizazz and sizzle thrown in. These have been happening for years as fisherman of the olden days often told stories of that fish that got away. The one so big and incredible that it almost sank their boats. This was, most often, a way of saving face when failing to produce the fish in question, or any fish at all. But, it’s also a wild imagining of what should have occurred in the first place. A dream that almost feels real as its retold. Sure, in the moment, it might resemble a lie, but if you continue to believe it’s possible, then maybe one day, it’s a dream that will actually come true. I certainly don’t advocate that we lie to ourselves, but I do hope we take the time to dream to ourselves properly. Throwing in a dash of hope and belief, even when the story seems perfectly impossible.
For my part, I tell stories that are always true and completely confirmed by my heart. They are the most genuine version of me, and life as I feel it. As I ramble out loud here each and every day, I’m actually chronicling my emotions and perceptions, surrounded by the most basic of facts in the matter. I’m sometimes telling a story of that side of myself that doesn’t always feel confident. But, it’s in the telling of these stories that I realize my own power to create. Even on days when I feel stressed, tired, and finding it nearly impossible to show up to sketch and paint, I still manage to DO it. And that makes me so incredibly happy! It’s precisely why I constantly tell everyone who might be listening that forming a daily art habit is the most amazing thing in the world. I’m not kidding. Just join me each and every day so, you too, can experience the wonders that await you! I’ve been sketching, painting, and writing for over 1,230 consecutive days! And many of you who have joined me on this wonderful journey would know that this is entirely true, and I’m not telling tale tales.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Azo Yellow, Terra Cotta, and Cobalt Blue (my “Shiny” Trio!). 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!
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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!