The Okapi

Okapi Doodlewash

This weekend has inadvertently been about featuring animals with interesting bums as we move on to the okapi. After yesterday’s color explosion, I decided to try a quick little doodlewash with a limited palette, due in part to my equally limited time today. The wonderfully unique and unfortunately endangered okapi is a solitary and elusive creature that can only be found in the dense, lowland rain forests of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Despite sporting the bottom of a zebra, its actually the only living relative to a giraffe, earning it’s more common nickname of “forest giraffe.”

These are extremely solitary creatures making it incredibly rare to actually see one in the wild. For years, Congo natives would talk of the animal, but no Europeans had actually ever seen one, so it quickly obtained a mythical appeal and was dubbed the “African unicorn.” Also, okapis use infrasonic calls to communicate with their calves in the dense forests that cannot be heard by humans. These skills and the amazing ability to play a sort of hide and seek with predators using their incredible hearing make them easily elusive as a unicorn.

Other key components of the okapi include an unusually long tongue that is primarily used to wrap around the leaves they eat, but is also handy in grooming their babies. It’s so long, in fact, they can even groom themselves, since they can lick their entire face and ears. Though beautifully marked, they have scent glands in their feet that leave behind a tar-like substance to mark their territory. So, in the case of the okapi, beauty comes at the price of really stinky feet. If there’s an uncommon creature that you’d like to see doodlewashed next, don’t forget to shout it out in the comments.

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Tom Merriman 7 years ago

    Ah, good one, Charlie… the okapi is an uncommon creature that I’ve actually heard of!

  2. itsmyhusbandandme 7 years ago

    Never heard of him. He’s beautifully painted though!

  3. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    You gotta get up pretty early to find something I’d not heard of before! 😀 I have to go on record to say that you do the best bum doodlewashes ever! I want to pat that striped butt. LOL! Serious cutie! <3

    • Author

      Hahaha!! Thanks Teresa!💕😀 Glad you like my bums! lol Wasn’t my intent, but I noticed I was on a roll with beautiful backsides this weekend. Hehe

  4. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Fantastic Doodlewash today. The Okapi is one of my favorites. Thanks for all of the interesting information, too Charlie.

  5. aww what a cutie! :))) He almost reminds me of a little foal. <3

    • Author

      Yeah… he’s a baby one. I don’t know why, but I always seem to gravitate toward the baby version of creatures. Hehe… they’re just so cute! Thanks Laura!! 💜😀

  6. Jodi 7 years ago

    Even with limited time, you always shine Charlie O! Another beautiful doodlewash and interesting facts! Thanks so much for taking the time to share! 🙂

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jodi! 😀💕Yeah… I was in a bit of a rushed mode on Sunday, but can’t miss my a chance to doodlewash! Glad ya liked this one!!

  7. Teri C 7 years ago

    I’ve heard of this one also…in a crossword puzzle. Lol. Love the composition.

    • Author

      haha! Crosswords are good for that! Scrabble also works really well… hehe… I remember learning a ton of new words playing that with my mom! lol Thanks Teri! 😀💕

  8. Jacob 7 years ago

    For some reason I had it down that the okapi was a type of fish – apparently not, eh (it has turned up on Countdown a few times; I must have blacked out every time the definition was given). He’s blummin’ adorable, even if he is apparently mooning us… he knows what he’s doing, he’s a character alright 😉 But how I love his zebra hide and big ears! Eee! This is far too cute.

    • Author

      I was the same… I’d heard the word and yet had to google it to figure out what the heck it was! Lol… although I like the name African Unicorn best. I guess we’d all have a habit of mooning people all the time if our butts were this remarkably tattooed. Come to think of it, there are people out there now with remarkably tattooed butts, but these guys were first! Lol

  9. Carol 7 years ago

    I’ve actually seen an okapi at our Cincinnati Zoo and was happy to learn more about it through your post, stinky feet and all! A suggestion for another unusual creature is one that I was fascinated by at the Monterey Aquarium in Monterey, California. It is called a weedy seadragon. I don’t know how uncommon they are but we don’t have any around these parts :). They look like a clump of seaweed and move about very gracefully.

    • Author

      Cool! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these at a zoo. Would be nice to see… I guess as long as you couldn’t smell their feet! hehe… and cool! I’ll google the weedy seadragon…. hadn’t heard of that one! Thanks, Carol! 😀💕

  10. memadtwo 7 years ago

    I love the back view. And thanks for all the information! (K)

  11. Sabiscuit 7 years ago

    Another beauty. Love those colours, Charlie.

  12. M. L. Kappa 7 years ago

    Love the okapi! And good idea to do him from the back

  13. babybluesnowflake 7 years ago

    Nature is incredibly beautiful and amazingly diverse. Lovely doodlewash.

  14. Cutie, I have heard of these, but did not know they are more giraffe than zebra…….loving the knocking hocks, he/she looks young, and so adorable.

    • Author

      Yep… I choose a baby one as they are just too cute and then had to sketch the backside because it’s so wild and cool! Hehe… Thanks Rebecca!! 😀💕

  15. kathiwerner 7 years ago

    Cute, it could win the nicest animal bum competition, if there was one 🙂

    • Author

      Yay! That’s quite a compliment! I wonder if animals do ever hold a nicest bum competition. I know humans occasionally do! Lol Thanks Kathrin! 😀💕

  16. Cathe 7 years ago

    So what your telling me is that a giraffe and a zebra got together? Well he is very adorable! Thank you for another wonderful Doodlewash!

    • Author

      Actually… the zebra wasn’t even involved. hehe… this guy is jus part of the giraffe family. Which I didn’t know because I thought they were hybrids. Guess nature likes to use the same patterns! Thanks so much Cathe!! 😀💕

  17. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    Fascinating! I hadn’t noticed the bum roll 🙂 so I must have been distracted by something else. Your artistry of course and the fact I am learning something new everyday. Thank you again.

    • Author

      Hehe… The previous bum was on a shrimp so it was different matter entirely I guess. 😊 Glad you’re enjoying this month’s adventure, Susan!!

  18. brighteyedjamie 7 years ago

    What a great photo…I love seeing the okapi at the zoo.

  19. Kari 7 years ago

    I have actually seen an okapi! And what a cute bum.. Lol. Hmm., I didn’t know about the tar-like substance! It may be stinky, but it’s quite striking!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari! 😀💕Yeah… apparently stinky is also a common theme with these uncommon creatures. Glad you liked this one! They’re pretty cool… like a little giraffe in zebra leggings. lol

  20. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Beautiful painting of such a lovely animal. Did not know about the feet business…guess they will have to stay outside. lol

  21. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    One of my favorite animals, nicely portrayed.

  22. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    I’ll have to do an okapi for one of my husband’s lunchbox animals. He’ll love the bit about stinky feet. The things I learn in this community!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      You totally should do an okapi!! hehe… and definitely include the extra info! LOL 😃💕

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