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


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55 thoughts on “The Pangolin

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

  2. 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! ❤️

  3. 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! 🙀

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

          1. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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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