When I Grow Up

Two Penguins And Baby Watercolor Illustration

For our prompt of “Penguins” today, I opted for this little trio of emperor penguins featuring a baby with his mom and dad. I remember back when I was still shorter than my parents, and I had so many dreams of what I would DO when I got big like them. Now, of course, I realize that growing up is well overrated and I’ve been avoiding it my entire life. I’m not entirely certain what baby penguins dream about, but as always, I like to imagine it’s very much the same. Today was a rather stressfully busy day and, when I went to sketch, I suddenly started stippling. Making little dots proved to be quite a wonderful stress reliever, but also meant that I had to make them with lightning speed in order to finish it in my tiny bit of sketching time. One would think this would only stress me out further, but art always has the opposite effect. A few hundred dots later, created in record time, I felt rather awesome! Yep, it was all my inner child once more. That kid can DO anything he sets his mind to doing. So, yes, even though we must grow old, growing up will always remain a choice.

Years ago, I remember being told by someone in a work meeting that I was “acting like a child” after I was giggling with a coworker. This person was one of the serious types who’s smiles are more feigned than genuine and always seem like they take a great deal of effort, bordering on pain. In other words, the type of person that is driven to the very brink of insanity in the presence of someone like me. The fact that I responded to the intended insult with a cheerful, “thanks” didn’t help much to win favor. There are some people I’ve met who were so incredibly serious that I never actually heard them laugh. This is very disconcerting for me as I can’t imagine a life without laughter. It barely feels like living at all. Obviously, we never met up after work as we had so very little in common, but I sort of always wanted to meet them after hours. I was so curious to know if the seriousness was just a facade or something inherent and immovable in their personality. Surely they would find something funny in the safety of their own world, but I could never prove it. Perhaps, they had actually grown up, after all.

These days, I still get in trouble for giggling during meetings. But, seriously, there’s a lot of silly things that happen in meetings that I find impossible to ignore. And, I have this habit of always trying to make people giggle when we meet. It’s how I know we’re alike. Not that they appreciate my jokes, of course. I just like the sound of someone’s laughter. It’s like listening to a person’s soul. I can then see them more clearly and enjoy our time together even more. Maybe we don’t have all that much in common, or like penguins, look quite similar, but there’s always something there. For me, the greatest connection we could ever share in this world is simply joy. That’s so simple, it’s almost ridiculous. I’m sure the serious people would scoff at such a view. There are so many problems in the world and so much strife, after all. It’s not like a smile is going to solve any of it, they might say. But, when my happy meets your happy, I truly believe that something magical occurs. There’s a little blip of hope that gets added to the universe. Maybe that’s completely naïve, but I’ll never really know for sure, until that very last breath, when I grow up.

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About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Aureolin, Quinacridone Red, Cobalt Turquoise, Terra Cotta and Ultramarine (Green Shade). Staedtler Pigment Liners in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Photo Reference: Christopher Michel. 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!
Two Penguins And Baby Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended8 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
28 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    Your stippling is fabulous – somehow it conveys the feeling of cold. I tend to be the comedian in the crowd, probably because they make me uneasy and when their is someone who doesn’t get jokes or giggles, I’m all the more uneasy and therefore wanting to kid around all the more. I try to avoid those kind of people as much as I can.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Sandra! 😃💕Yay! I felt the same thing. For some reason I just thought stippling could add a bit of chill. Yeah, I’m with you… I’m nearly desperate to make someone laugh when they’re too serious. hehe… I just want to connect for real! But, some people just aren’t ready to connect like that.

  2. Karen Fortier 3 weeks ago

    I love your family of penguins, Charlie! Laughter makes life so much more enjoyable. I’ve managed to get to a point in my life where I don’t have to be around people who don’t enjoy life or can’t laugh. I’m extremely grateful.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Karen! 😃💕 And yay! Isn’t this the best time of life? That point where you get to choose to be with the happy people. I love it!

  3. Lisa Ann Ulibarri 3 weeks ago

    Aweeeeeee such a beautiful family!!!!!!!!! Sorry your day was so stressful. Art is amazing to help that though. I was laughing at your story I have one rather similar. Mine took place when I was in high school. My best friend Cheryl and i were laughing uncontrollably when two younger class mates yes younger…. lol looked at us sighed in disgust and said how immature!!! She and I paused a moment looking at each other and laughed even harder. Younger then us and so serious!!! What?? lol My laughs are always with me some say at times inappropriately lol. I love what you said about our happy meeting anothers yes I feel that is really special. The world needs an explosion of happy every day!!! 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lisa! 😃💕Yay for art! It helps me through every day! And I adore your story!! There’s nothing better than being called out by a younger person. A future “serious” person no doubt. lol But, also a bit sad to see the joy leave someone’s life at a young age! Yay for an explosion of happy!!!

  4. Jill Kuhn 3 weeks ago

    Hi Charlie, I’m glad you are still a kid at heart!! 😊 It is what makes you, extraordinary in art and life! ❤️ And I love that you giggle in meetings! I’d be laughing with you! 🤣😂 Your penguins are fab! 🐧🐧🐧

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      OH I’m totally sure we’d be laughing together in meetings my friend! ❤️ Actually, I can go farther and saw we would be banned from all meetings! LOL And yay!! I love that!!! 😍

  5. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    I think you used stippling to great advantage in this sketch. Wonderful colors and shadows, too.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sharon! 😃💕So thrilled you enjoyed this! Stippling creates a wonderful effect, but it adds a touch more time so I rarely do it.

  6. smzang 3 weeks ago

    Charlie says, “even though we must grow old, growing up will always remain a choice.”

    Hear! Hear! The truth shall set you free!!

    “I just like the sound of someone’s laughter. It’s like listening to a person’s soul. I can then see them more clearly and enjoy our time together even more. ” that, too, from Charlie’s beautiful mind!

    I will read this whole piece again and again. It is soul touching in the loveliest sense.

    btw,
    We used to say the reason our boss called so many meetings was because he was lonely.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Sarah, I just adore your comments! 😃💕 I’m reading my own words back to me having already forgotten them. I write as I type so I don’t truly remember what I’ve said. It’s perfectly in the moment. 😊 So, thank you so for enjoying my words. It really means the world to me! And yes, that’s truly the main reason that bosses call meetings. 😉 hehe

  7. Jerson Antao 3 weeks ago

    Nice rendering Charlie! Yes when we laugh our heart becomes more younger❤️ Charlie and thats the way we should live. keep laughing😆

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Jerson! 😃💕 Yay to that my friend! Let’s all laugh on!

  8. Gary Middleton 3 weeks ago

    Nice painting Charlie.

  9. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I have a blank wall in my dining area where I hang art, mine and other people’s, and I have two words up there. Joy and grateful. My life philosophy captured on a wall with other beautiful things. I’m going to add Be kind and laugh when I find them.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww I love that, Lisa! 😃💕 That sounds like a wall of everything anyone ever needs to know!

  10. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Wonderful penguin and stippling! I’ve had similar experiences with a boss upset about laughing. Just thinking about the situation now makes me smile; it was a totally hilarious situation. “When my happy meets your happy”…Love that attitude. It’s amazing how a smile can change a person’s day.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Stippling is fun, but for one with lack of patience like me… it’s equally rare! hehe And yay for meeting with smiles. I think bosses feel that laughter leads to a lack of control. Which it does. But, it brings creativity, which matters most. And, as a boss, that’s how I chose to view it! 😉

  11. LoriCtoo 3 weeks ago

    Wow! That’s a lot of dots! It turned out great! Yes, laughter is a big part of me. I often judge people by their sense of humour. It they don’t have one, I think to myself…..move along. I love to laugh and I love people with a sense of humour! So again Charlie, I think we would get along just wonderfully! 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Ugh… so many dots, but I make them like a rabid animal so it only takes a little extra time. 😉 Yeah, I judge people by their sense of humor or lack of it as well. I just believe that life is a bit funny and wonderful and I connect with anyone who seems to see that. We would definitely get along famously!

  12. Loan Anh Pham 3 weeks ago

    Lovely and beautiful penguin family, Charlie ❤️ I love the way many dots work in your painting. I’m glad we’ve joined the same views regularly 😉. Today I had only 30 mins for sketching. Poor me, today is suck a long day for me so far. Your story make me see my smile back😘

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Loan! 😃💕 Glad I made you smile back! Yeah… some days are just perfectly crazy! But stopping to make art is always perfectly wonderful. I feel like when we post our creations, we’re just sending a little smile to another artist who most likely needs it.

  13. Priscilla DeConti 2 weeks ago

    Love your penguins…but I also love your thoughts on laughter and joy..Much more important in this crazy world than sweating the small stuff…I am still trying to figure out what I want to be when I ever grow up LOL
    Be blessed and keep laughing!!!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Hehe… that’s the fun part of never growing up! We don’t have to figure it all out, we just have to make the most of every moment we have!

  14. Susan Masters 2 weeks ago

    So serene and wonderful

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