The Raven

Raven by Charlie O'Shields

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Halloween! Well, we’ve come to the final piece in my collection for my October project and my Cabinet of Curiosities is now complete! I wanted to trying doodlewashing a skull for the first time and this seemed like the best day to do it. It looked a little sad all by itself, so I stuck a raven on top to keep it company.

For this one, I just did a quick pencil sketch and then went straight to watercolor. I used only Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint, Quinacridone Gold, Burnt Sienna, and Raw Umber. For the first time, I managed to save my paper white and so I didn’t even touch my white gouache to add back in the highlights as I normally do.

I chose a raven to keep the skull company because when Philippe and I were in Barnes & Noble the other day, I saw an Edgar Allen Poe book and it made me think of the famous poem. In the story of The Raven, this particular guy was perched on a bust of Pallas Athena, a symbol of wisdom, but I’d already drawn a skull, so there you go.

The book I saw was in the Bargain Books section of the store. This is such an awesome section because it includes so many gifts you never thought to give someone and that they never wanted to receive. The kits for learning how to do just about any skill are here for a price that’s permanently discounted so you’re assured you’re giving a gift that never held any real value.

I nearly bought the book I saw which was The Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe, because I was a huge fan of his writing when I was young. The book I had back then had full color illustrations and contained just a selection of his most famous stories and poems. I loved that book and remember it well. This book was a let down because it only had black and white chapter illustrations and was larger than the annotated King James Bible sitting next to it. An odd pairing to be sure.

I realize now that being a fan of Poe when I was so young was a bit odd. His works are dark and filled with angst and creepiness. He was also quoted as saying, “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity” and was found wandering the streets wearing someone else’s clothes babbling deliriously just before dying. And, like something from one of his own stories, the actual cause of his death remains a mystery to this day.

But for some reason, this doodlewash seemed a fitting conclusion to this little project, since The Raven is one of my favorite poems. It’s been a fun little journey of remembering things I’d almost forgotten and doodlewashing things I’ve never tried before and there’s so much more to come.

I hope you’ll stick around for November’s project to see what I’ll be starting next. I’d tell you, but I’m not entirely sure what it is yet. But there will be more stories to tell and more random things to doodlewash I’m sure. I figure there’s an extra hour this weekend with Daylight Savings, so I’m going to use it to think of something. Stay tuned!

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields (doodlewash)
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. 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!
24 Comments
  1. Kari 2 years ago

    I’m really impressed with the black you mixed! Items to use ultramarine blue for everything! This turned out great! Look forward to seeing your November adventure!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! ❤️😃I get a lot of mileage out on Ultramarine Blue! Hehe… glad you liked this. Hope you’re having a wonderful Halloween!!

  2. Jill Kuhn 2 years ago

    I hate to ask where you got the human skull… Hopefully an image off the internet! Hehe! Your Raven and skull turned out magnificent! And I can’t wait to see what magical Doodlewashes and interesting stories you will be pulling out your hat for November! 😄🎃🎩

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! ❤️😃 Hehe… The skull was from anatomical references on the Internet…lol Philippe better show up for his guest post tomorrow though or it will look suspicious 😈

  3. Sharon Mann 2 years ago

    Oh wow! The Raven is my favorite bird. You also did a masterful job on the skull, Charlie. A good doodle wash to end the month.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Sharon! ❤️😃Skulls are harder than I thought! But easier than actual faces! Lol 😊😊 Thinking people need to be part of the equation for November. 😉

  4. Rachel Murphree 2 years ago

    Super doodlewash! “so you’re assured you’re giving a gift that never held any real value.”….I swear, I will never look at those bargain books/kits in the same way. You have a knack of putting into words thoughts I had rolling around in my brain….

    • Author

      Thanks Rachel! Lol…I’m so glad you liked that! Never know if I could be offending anyone with my little asides. 😊 But I just type whatever I’m thinking so there’s no real controlling it anyway. Hehe

  5. Jodi 2 years ago

    Awesome doodlewash for halloween and the last day of October. You did an amazing job blending and leaving the white. The raven is so striking and skull is very skully – lol! Happy Halloween!

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks Jodi! ❤️😃 Glad you find the skull very skully… It started as a strange looking bowling ball, but eventually came through after some details where added. Happy Halloween to you as well! 😃🎃

  6. Teresa Robeson 2 years ago

    Hope we’ll stick around? I think you couldn’t pay us to leave you alone because we love you so much! 🙂 That’s a super skull and I love your addition of the raven! A perfect end to your project and for Halloween!

    • Author

      Awww you’re so sweet, Teresa!! 😊❤️ I’m having fun and just hoping everyone else is too! Though I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing next…thank goodness for the extra hour this weekend! Lol Glad you liked the raven…he was so dark I wasn’t sure how he’d turn out. Happy Halloween my friend!! 😃🎃

  7. Nancy 2 years ago

    That is one spooky-cool doodlewash! My daughter’s English teacher is a huge Poe fan so for Halloween he wore his regular clothes with a big raven head on. He just walked around school all day like that!

  8. ann christina 2 years ago

    Great picture! And thanks for reminding me of “The Raven”! I didn´t read Poe, but I found a record of “The Allan Parsons Project” once on the fleemarked when I was around 17. It had only songs of Edgar Allan Poe´s stories on it. It was one of my favorite records then, especially the song about “The Cask of Amontillado”. So spooky! 👻

  9. amaryllislog 2 years ago

    Now who in the world would I rather have coffee with in the morning, you my friend! I always look forward to what you’ll feature next, with excitement! If I see it on IG first, I look forward to seeing it larger than a stamp! This the perfect ending to October, fantastic doodlewash! Thank you for a great month of treasures and a bit of Halloween spooky!

    • Author

      Awww that’s so sweet Cathe! ❤️😃I bet you’d be lovely to have coffee with in person as well! 😉 So glad you liked my curiosities this month!!

  10. kirkistan 2 years ago

    Fttingly frightening. I really like the darks, and especially the black as someone else noted. I’m curious what journey you’ll begin for November.

    • Author

      Thanks Kirk! Glad you liked this one…still toying with ideas of what’s next. I’m sort of a last minute kind of guy! Lol 😊

  11. Jacob 2 years ago

    This is so darn good Charlie – you’re on such a roll at the moment, and with that I’m properly excited for the next series!

    If you fancy drawing some more skulls, they’re excellent for getting into portraiture. 😉

    • Author

      Hehe…thanks so much Jacob! Portraiture just kicked off my new series!! Because I suck at it, but love challenging myself! Lol 😊😊

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