We’ve come to the end of another month, which means in some parts of the world the June challenge has already begun. For our final May prompt of “Beet Red” I opted to simply sketch some beets, but the meaning of the phrase is to be red in the face after being thoroughly embarrassed by something. When I was younger, this happened a lot. And, it was mostly because I was shy in large groups. As I got older, I was able to overcome this a bit, but still prefer small groups and one-on-one conversations. It’s why I like to make these posts. Though many of you out there might be reading this right now, in this very moment, it’s just you and me. I like that we get to share this moment each day. Sometimes, you might comment, or perhaps you haven’t left a comment yet. Maybe we’ve yet to be introduced (if that’s the case, please drop me a comment and say hello!). Showing up to reveal myself and my art each day has been quite an interesting journey. It’s one that I doubted I could have had to courage to embark upon when I was younger. So, thank you for encouraging me along the way!
What’s been an absolute joy is seeing others just beginning their own art journey. With the publication of my Sketching Stuff Activity Book and companion Facebook Group, I’ve been getting to see people at all stages. And, I have to say that people who are just starting to draw or explore watercolor for the first time, inspire me so much! They remind me of why I started doing this in the first place and I get to relive that wonderful thrill of feeling absolutely shocked that something I made that day actually looked like that something I was trying to make! Today, instead, I’ll often find myself discouraged at times or yelling at my hand to stop being so darn untalented and get back in the game. Or, as I run into full on writer’s block, telling my brain to turn on again and make something happen for goodness’ sake! Then, as I see the joy emanating from people making those earliest discoveries for the first time, I’m happily reminded that these are new problems I’ve just made up for myself. And I’m equally assured that the fix is extremely easy. These are just worries that come from charging forward, while the real solution always comes from looking backward.
When I find myself trying to be “better” than I was the day before, I instead, find an empty page in my sketchbook and just start scribbling. I challenge myself to make a cartoon of an animal and not something realistic in my normal style, or, gasp, even draw a face! I just make myself try something new, and in the process, remind myself there’s always something new to try. That takes me back to that euphoric feeling I had at the very beginning. Of this most recent art journey to be sure, but even further back than that, to when I was a child, just playing with crayons. This is how I’ve managed to make a doodlewash each and every day and, after June’s art challenge, I’ll have made a sketch each consecutive day for 4 full years! Yep, that’s my 1,460 day project proving anything is possible. And we all know I’ll be there every day for World Watercolor Month in July, so let’s go ahead and make that 1,491. Wait, just 9 away from 1,500 consecutive days? That really sounds like some sort of record. So, why stop now? Why stop ever? If you want to build a daily art habit, I hope you’ll jump in and DO it! The secret is finding your glee and remembering that moment so you can always go back there when you feel like you want to pause or stop. And, the best part is, there will always be those most singularly amazing things you make along the way. The more we DO, the more we get to enjoy that supreme thrill that only comes with those unexpected moments.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Quinacridone Red, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, Cobalt Turquoise, and Indigo. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen 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!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. 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!