For our Doodlewash prompt of “Sloth,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Misfit,” I ended up with this little drawing. I’ve always loved sloths and find them to be remarkable creatures. They have the distinction of being the slowest animals in the world. This also makes them a bit of mammal misfit, in many ways. While speed in movement is not their strong suit, they also have the slowest digestion of any mammal. With a diet of mostly leaves, this doesn’t give them enough energy to move about quickly, so instead of evolving to eat a more nutritious diet, they simply evolved to do less. They aren’t exactly lazy, they just figured out a way to make things work for them. The slower they move, the more energy they can conserve. Many times in life, I’ve felt a bit like I didn’t fit in. Like I wasn’t one of the cool kids, or did things a bit too differently than others, or at least not in the way that was currently trending. I’d become part of groups only to discover they had rules I couldn’t always commit to following on a regular basis. But, much like a sloth, I learned that it’s my own unique qualities that make me interesting. And, though many times my art journey has felt like I’m moving at a sloth’s pace, I’m quite content just learning at my own speed and trying whatever comes to mind as I go along.

I’m enjoying this month tremendously as I’ve learned a lot of things along the way. But, I’ve also been reminded that this is all just a side hobby for me and I don’t have any more time than I did before to draw and paint. So, I’ve taken a tip from the sloth and just evolved accordingly. This month I’ve spent more time drawing and adding color quickly at the end. This typically gave me more time to create the drawing. Today, however, I had no time, so I had to sketch the world’s slowest animal as quickly as possible.

Day 18 - Sloth On Tree Branch Inktober 2019 Illustration

I wanted to show a sloth in motion as that’s not something normally depicted. A lot of preliminary sketches would have made for a better approach, but I like to just jump in and go for it. Though I had very little time, I’m not sure more time would serve me well. I have a ridiculously short attention span that works in bursts. I have to switch to different things all of the time or risk losing focus entirely. But, I just compensate and DO things in a way that works for me.

As I’ve gotten older, I worry less and less about whether or not I’m doing things “correctly” as it applies to groups of people. Instead, I focus on doing things in a way that feels right to me personally. If I do something backwards, like painting dark to light in watercolor as I’m often prone to do, it’s just fine. Sure, this approach has meant that I can’t share my works in certain online groups as I didn’t follow a strict process or approach. But, that was easily solved by simply creating my own group instead! Beyond the selection of certain mediums, there’s no process or approach championed over any other on Doodlewash. If, like me, your process is a bit different, than that’s just fine! There’s so much more than our personal style that defines us as artists. How we DO things is part of our work as well. There’s no one right way to approach any medium or one true method for creating any type of art. I’ve tried to do things in a way described as the proper approach when I started, and got really frustrated. So, these days, I just follow my own path and slowly move through my art journey inspired and comforted by the magic of misfits.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Cobalt Turquoise. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!
loth On Tree Branch Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail


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34 thoughts on “The Magic Of Misfits

  1. Your sloth is adorable. You know the prehistoric sloth was about the size of an elephant. They’ve slimmed down a bit, but the fact that they still exist is proof that doing their own thing has worked and worked well.

  2. A baby sloth! Who would have “thunk” it? Such an ugly animal made into a lovable little beauty! And, me too…I’m a slowpoke and I basically do everything whenever the spirit moves me. I’m hoping your great watercolors etc. will move me to get back into painting. I’ve been more into writing for the past few years but your lovely works are motivating me to “move” again. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Thanks so much, Carole! 😃💕 Glad you liked this little sloth… I’m playing with perspective this month so this was a fun and funny challenge. I hope you will be inspired to DO some watercolors! I love writing as well, so I just do a little of both each day! 😉

  3. I learned today that the pangolin is the only mammal in the world with scales. I would argue that the armidillo has a form of scales, but evidently, I’d be wrong. Hmm.

    1. This really stumped me so I did some more research, and apparently it’s to do with the structure – pangolin have ‘true’ scales made of Keratin whereas Armadillo ‘scutes’ grow on dermal bone. Thank you for this question and allowing me to unleash my inner geek. Have a good day! 😁

  4. I love your sloth! Sloths are a difficult creature to paint/draw because if they aren’t done right their faces look flat and one dimensional. But, you nailed this in every way capturing the cuteness and cuddly looks of our sloth friends! I relate to your words too and feel like the sloth is my spirit animal.

  5. Gorgeous. 😊 I know a lady who’s a biologist and Sloths are her speciality – she’s written a few books about them if you’re interested. Her name is Lucy Cooke.

    It’s lovely getting to the age where you finally understand how you ‘tick’ and you’re totally comfortable with that, isn’t it? 😊

  6. Adorable sloth – and one in motion! Of course, you will take the path least taken, Charlie. It’s fantastic!! I was fortunate to see sloths in their natural habitat last May in Panama – you have captured the image of one I saw perfectly!

  7. Charlie says, “With a diet of mostly leaves, this doesn’t give them enough energy to move about quickly, so instead of evolving to eat a more nutritious diet, they simply evolved to do less”

    A creature after my own heart!

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