The Pangolin

Doodlewash of Pangolin - Endangered Species in watercolor sketch painting Red List

Today we have a quick little doodlewash of a pangolin, which comes in 8 different species and lives in Asia and Africa (suggested by Tiffany Tomkinson @dreamnaut). The size of pangolin varies a lot by species from 12 to 39 inches (30 to 100 cm). These creatures have large, protective keratin scales covering their skin and are the only known mammals with this adaptation. They don’t chew their food as they don’t have any teeth, but use their massive tongues, up to 27.5 inches (70cm) in length, to catch insects. All species of pangolin are currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ as threatened with extinction. And it should come as no surprise at this point in our tour, that this is entirely because of its human predators.

In many parts of Africa, pangolin are a popular type of bush meat and they are also in great demand in Southern China, where they believe their scales have medicinal qualities. The increasing threats to pangolins, mainly in the form of illegal, international trade in pangolin skin, scales, and meat, have caused attention from conservationists in recent years. The IUCN SSC Pangolin Specialist Group launched a global action plan to conserve pangolins, dubbed ‘Scaling up Pangolin Conservation’ in July 2014.

Pangolins are nocturnal and rather secretive creatures so scientists know relatively little about their life in the wild. Their scales serve as protection, but due to the lack of scales on the nose, eyes, ears and belly, pangolins have a few other tricks up their sleeve. When threatened, they can curl up into a ball of pangolin armor and if that fails to do the trick they’ll fart on their predator. Well actually, they can use the glands on their anus to produce a foul smelling acid, similar to that of a skunk. Sadly, this handy feature has failed to deter humans from killing them making them one of the most endangered mammal groups in the world. For more information on this intriguing uncommon creature, visit

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Permanent Green Pale, and Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Recommended1 recommendationPublished in By Charlie
  1. dapplegrey 7 years ago

    QUICK doodlewash? I don’t believe you! Lovely painting Charlie – of a beautiful, fascinating creature. And thanks for the link to the pangolin website. Great post.

    • Curious to the Max 7 years ago

      I agree DappleG., if this is a QUICK doodlewash Charlie O’ belongs in the Louvre!

      • Author

        Lol….I should have said “rushed” …but the whole post had to be made in less than an hour, because we had to see Zootopia! 😊lol

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! 😃They really are interesting creatures! And quick is relative…hehe…I had less than an hour to make, write and post this one. 😊

  2. Curious to the Max 7 years ago

    The pangolin has no teeth
    So please on your demise
    your dentures bequeath.

  3. Teri C 7 years ago

    This is a beautiful composition and painting that looks like it took hours and hours to paint. Awesome
    Of course the humor had me giggling. Lol

  4. Kari 7 years ago

    Wow, Charlie…This is incredible! The texture alone looks complicated! I’m just so sad that people are so narcissistic to think that other creatures simply serve our needs and wants.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kari!! 😃💕 The textures are fast and faked…I resorted to my jabbing bits of Neutral tint in corners to make it appear more finished (I learned that when I made a bag of Jelly beans last year! 😊hehe). Yeah… Humans can really be dumb. It’s depressing!

  5. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    I agree with Kari…I only recently found out about how endangered they are. It’s so sad. I have a drawing of a pangolin, too! I hadn’t applied paint yet so haven’t posted. Your fellow is so adorable I want to adopt it! ❤️

  6. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    Impressive doodlewash, Charlie! 💕🎨😄 It looks like it would be a challenging one, my friend! 😜 Interesting how this animal farts to protect itself. You’d think that would scare anything away! 🙀

    • Author

      Thanks Jill!! 😃💕Yeah… Those scales were in serious dangers of just becoming scribbles. I was moving so fast on this one! Hehe…yeah…I think that’s one of the cooler defense mechanisms. Let’s hope it works better for them!

  7. Jessica Seacrest 7 years ago

    Great Doodlewash Charlie! This looks like an involved painting. I like how you did the wood 🙂

    • Author

      Thanks Jessica!! 😃💕Lots of little “cheats” with Neutral Tint that I picked up. Jam a few bits of really dark in places and it makes a drawing come out of the squiggles! Usually! Hehe…I resort to this when I have to move really fast. I barely had time to squeeze in a post yesterday.

  8. Jacob 7 years ago

    Great stuff Charlie! I’m with everyone else who assumes that quick is a dirty rotten lie 😛 this is fabulous! Love the colours and feel of the scales – superbly scaly! He has to be one of the more fascinating characters to date, a new one on me and cool indeed – hopefully now I’ve said that, he won’t break wind in my direction! And that ball defence is quite awesome too; just a shame it doesn’t keep the poachers out.

    • Author

      Lol…so “quick” is apparently a loaded word. It was less than one hour for Doodlewash and write up and hitting publish. So quick-ish? Hehe At any rate, I felt like I was rushing against the clock on this one…like your wheel! 😉 And you’re a nice guy so I’m sure Mr. Pangolin would never fart on you! Lol But here’s to farting on those poachers more…ugh… Some humans can be so stupid and greedy.

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        Haha, oh the dear Wheel of Misfortune – not done that for a little while! They were no match for this! I think we’re in awe at the idea of it being so speedy – it’s like watching a magician 😉 and sometimes you really do conjure up bunnies, just not from a hat!

        • Author

          Awww thanks!! Lol… funny you should say that as I just conjured and posted a sort of ‘bunny’ 😉

          • Jacob 7 years ago

            Haha yes, I chuckled when I saw ‘Magic Bunny’ and wondered if you’d read my comment, but of course it’s an actual creature, now we know! A fun coincidence!

          • Author

            Super fun coincidence! hehe… we couldn’t have planned that any better!

  9. Jodi 7 years ago

    Seeeeeeeeeee – I’m not the only one who is awestruck by your QUICK doodlewashes! all the detail in this is amazing! 🙂 beautiful doodlewash of a beautiful creature Charlie O.

  10. jmnowak 7 years ago

    Such a cutie…I’d adopt him too! Charlie, you’ve captured his friendliness in the eyes…well done!

  11. Great QUICK doodlewash Charlie, and thank you for the info on this little beauty, I have never heard of before, probably because most have ended up in this pit!!! Grrr
    WARNING- shocking images by the national geographic.
    They are so adorable, like an armoured ant eater.

    • Author

      Thanks Rebecca! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s totally shocking isn’t it?! I had heard of them and knew they were endangered, but didn’t know it was because they were the world’s most hunted. It’s horrible what happens to them!! 😔

  12. I do love pangolins. A lovely painting, and good of you to draw attention to their sorry plight.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Michael! I hadn’t realized just how horrible so I guess it’s good to spread the word in some small way.

  13. 89james89 7 years ago

    This looks really nice for a quick sketch. Love the rich colours and the details on it.



    • Author

      Thanks so much James! I think I should try going faster more often. Sometimes the effects work out well. Glad you liked this!

  14. Cathe 7 years ago

    I’ve decided we all move at different speeds, and you are super high speed and I’m super slo-mo. What a beautiful Doodlewash but such a sad backstory. Dear Pangolin, I am so sorry.

    • Author

      Thanks Cathe! 😃💕I learned to move fast back when I was urban sketching, but lately have taken more time. It’s fun to move a little faster, but I still love trying to grab all the details as I go! And it is such a sad story for these guys. Hoping something can be done before people make them extinct.

  15. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    Beautiful doodlewash to honor this precious creature. Thanks for sharing all of the details Charlie, and the link. Happy Easter. 🌺🐰

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon! So happy you liked this doodlewash! And a very Happy Easter to you as well my friend!!😃💕

  16. memadtwo 7 years ago

    You got the texture so well! Great job Charlie. I love these little creatures, and I hope they survive. Something I seem to be saying a lot…(K)

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kerfe!😃💕 I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off on this one moving so fast. Glad you liked it. And yeah… seems like as I get to the end of this tour, the creature’s get a rarer and their stories a bit sadder.

  17. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    It saddens me that so many species are on the endangered list and we are to blame. Thank you for continuing to enlighten us Charlie. Awesome doodlewash!

    • Author

      Thanks so much Susan! 😃💕Yeah… unfortunately, the list is so long that I could probably do a 365 day project on these creatures. But I’m learning a lot this month…. I had no idea there were so many.

  18. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Beautiful painting of a beautiful animal. They sound absolutely charming…hoping there is a Pangolin Preservation Society drive out there to stave off human idiocy…../sigh.

  19. juliavanvelden 6 years ago

    Thanks for bringing attention to such a vital conservation issue!

  20. Sandra Strait 5 years ago

    I thought I’d look and see what other interesting critturs you’ve painted over the years. I’ve sketched one of these for hubby’s lunch bag, but it might be interesting to paint one.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 5 years ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕… This was a request from someone who was interested in saving them as their numbers are sadly dwindling. With so many of these critters, that seems to be the same story. Happy to capture them in watercolor.

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