Winter Fun!

Penguin Scarf Hat Winter Sledding Down Hill Watercolor Illustration

Though I’m still simply popping in and out with my posts these days, a prompt of “Penguin” was too fun to pass up! So I made a quick little doodle of a penguin having a bit of fun in the snow. It’s actually been quite cold here, but there hasn’t been much snow this season. Indeed, I was just so happy to see the sun finally make an appearance today after several overcast days that made everything feel a bit dull and drab. I spend most of my time indoors at home these days, but looking outside and seeing a sunny day always makes me smile. When I was a kid, there was often a blue sky that appeared after the snow. The sun would glint across everything making it look like a blanket of diamonds. I remember being so excited for the next day after a snowfall so I could grab my sled and go racing down a hill. These days, I sort of worry I might break something important, but back then, I had no fears at all!

I’ve been diligently working on illustrating a new book that I wrote, and it’s been a bit daunting. Yet, each time I feel like I’m losing ground, my inner child pops up and reminds me that it’s all about the journey. It made me think of those trips to our local sledding hill when I was a child. We would sail down the hill screaming with glee while quite literally trying to reach the bottom. As an adult, the journey always seems to be focused on improvement and trying to better myself. To keep climbing those hills, however steep they may be. But climbing the hill wasn’t the fun part of sledding. It was just what you had to do in order to try again. So, that’s what I’m focusing on now. I’m pleased by each epiphany and bit of improvement that I see, but then I just grab my sled and sail back to the bottom again, laughing all the way. I start over and take another run at things to see if, just maybe, that next way might be a bit more fun.

I’m currently practicing characters that are more abstracted and simplified, and feel like they’re part of a family. Doing so is actually not as simple as it looks, but it really is super fun! This little penguin is in the current style I’m working on, but he’s not part of any of the stories yet. While it was really fun to sketch things in a realistic way previously, creating a little character from scratch has been even more satisfying. It’s fun to imagine all of the adventures they might enjoy, even if those stories are never written. And my inner child is having a blast. He really doesn’t seem to mind when I accidentally make a character look cross-eyed or if the proportions on the next are completely jacked up. In fact, I can just hear him giggling. And then I giggle as well. Sometimes, I’ve laughed out loud when something ends up looking bizarre, if not perfectly unappealing. Yet each time I sail down the hill, I learn something new. Then I slowly climb and claw my way back up and go for another ride. I’m sure I’ll get there one day, but right now, I’m just enjoying that wonderful and whimsical escape that comes from having a bit of winter fun!

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Penguin Scarf Hat Winter Sledding Down Hill Watercolor Illustration Sketchbook Detail
Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
30 Comments
  1. Sandra Strait 4 weeks ago

    It’s surprising how difficult it can be to visualize a situation for your book, or get all the proportions right. I have a wombat sliding down a giraffe’s neck (which I’m sure would break the giraffe’s neck in real life!). I’ve figured out I can’t go with true proportions and fit everything I want. Makes me appreciate all those artists of the children’s books I used to read!

    • Zoie McIntyre 4 weeks ago

      Hi Sandra – nope you would be perfectly alright. Those giraffe have incredibly STRONG necks. They fight with them. The Wombat could slide down quite easily 😉

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      I know!! Me too! The best thing about this journey is my HUGE extra heaping of respect and awe for all of those children’s book illustrators. It’s a challenge indeed! And a wombat sliding down a giraffe’s neck sounds super fun! 😃💕

  2. writerleenda 4 weeks ago

    Right on Charlie!

  3. Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

    Looks like one fun penguin adventure, Charlie! Glad to hear that your book is coming along and hope that sun stays shining for you!!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Yes! The sun is shining again today. It’s crazy how much more productive I get… it’s like I’m solar powered! lol

      • Mary Roff 4 weeks ago

        I totally understand. You can’t imagine what a difference living in the sunshine state has made for me. Yep, solar powered.

  4. Marisela Delgado 4 weeks ago

    Hola, Charlie! haha haha We always seem to meet up on the same day that you post. 😂😂 Your penguin is too cute! Love him! I just read a rubber stamp sentiment that said (in a nut shell), the more treacherous the road that we travel, the more of ourselves is revealed. The fluff gets removed and what is left is the purity of who we really are. No one likes the climb or the fall, but, in the end, it’s what reveals who and what we really are. So, keep climbing, Charlie!
    You made me laugh when you said that you might break something important if you go sledding! 😂😂😂😂😂 I know how you feel. After being injured so bad and for so long, I get scared at the idea of doing something like bike riding. The idea of falling off just scares me so bad. I never used to be like that and I don’t want to live in fear, Charlie. I have the rest of my life ahead of me and fear should not be a part of it.
    Anyway, your penguin is cute! Maybe one day, I will visit somewhere that has snow and I plan on taking the plunge down the hill on a sled, Charlie. Come hell or high water! 😀😀😀

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Marisela! 😃💕 And indeed! We should never live in fear, but…. when you get older it’s wise to be a bit prudent so important things don’t break! lol And you totally need to visit some snow and sled down a hill. It can still be bumpy, but you can just roll off at any time. I’ve never been skiing the idea of standing at my height means I’m way too far from the ground! hehe

      • Marisela Delgado 4 weeks ago

        haha haha Falling at any age or height can be scary and very damaging, but sledding looks so fun, Charlie. Yeah, skiing doesn’t appeal to me either. I would be one of those people who can’t even get on the ski lift. haha haha 😂😂😂
        Well, the weatherman spoke too soon. We’ll be getting cold next week. Well, “cold” for us. Mid to upper 40’s. Yeah, I know. That’s not cold to you guys, but we’re wimpy. Well, I am. haha haha.
        Stay warm, my friend. 😀

        • Carmen I 3 weeks ago

          Too funny! Mid to upper 40’s is shorts season in Minnesota. Right now it’s a balmy -6 F and according to the weather guy, we should be at -16 by Sunday morning. lol

  5. Zoie McIntyre 4 weeks ago

    Charlie I love your penguin. I love penquins!! I know its hard to sketch/paint those characters…. I’ve tried. Not succeeding yet 🙂

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Zoie! 😃💕 Yeah, characters are not easy at all. But it’s so much fun when they start to take shape. Still practicing keeping a constant likeness, though, I’ll get there one day!

  6. Robert Coleman 4 weeks ago

    Cool penguin! And they do enjoy sliding, although without sleds or saucers. We had one of those sunny days today, after getting hit with about 20 inches of light, fluffy powder snow. What a glorious sight! And then the clouds returned, but it was magical for a moment. Best of luck on the book, we are all waiting!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Bob! 😃💕 yeah, I adore those sunny blue sky days after a bit fully snow. Best part of winter! Yep, the book is coming along much slower than my eager inner child thought it might. But it’s a steady process!

  7. LoriC 4 weeks ago

    Aha! You have entered my world! The world of sketching imaginative characters. No worries on how they look because there isn’t anything to compare them to. It is so freeing and definitely fun! Just like your little penguin! Good to hear you are plugging along on your new book!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Lori! 😃💕 Yes! Yay! It’s so fun to just make up characters. Unfortunately, for a book, after you make they then you DO have to compare and try to get them to look like the same character each time. That part… ugh… still chugging along and practicing to make that happen. Right now, 4 out of 5 of my mouse poses for my book looked like the same mouse, so I’m improving! lol

  8. Gary Middleton 4 weeks ago

    Great doodle Charlie.

  9. Nellie Nellie 4 weeks ago

    This little penguin is so adorable, and as soon as you said “not part of any story yet,” all I could think is how much fun a family of voles would have tobogganing on a penguin’s back! I love this community! I hope you are having so much fun and relishing every “run” you make at the characters and story. It certainly is inspiring!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 weeks ago

      Thanks so much! 😃💕 Oh, I’m sure a family of vole would love to join and take a ride on the sled! hehe Fun! Yep… I’m enjoying every moment of the current process, but it really does feel like starting over and going to school some days! Which is equally fun because I’m a bit nerd who’s always adored school! 😉lol

  10. memadtwo 4 weeks ago

    Very cute Charlie. (K)

  11. Fatima Chamkha 4 weeks ago

    You doing good i like you characters and storytelling.Good job Charlie!

  12. Melissa Goss 4 weeks ago

    He is so cute!!

  13. Priscilla DeConti 4 weeks ago

    Your posts are always so wonderful..continue to have a blast with your new book! I am sure it will be great! Love the penguin!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Aww thanks so much, Priscilla! 😃💕 Hope all is well with you!

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