For our Doodlewash prompt of “Lantern,” combined with the Inktober prompt of “Treasure,” I opted for a quick little doodle of a lantern-lit treasure map. Though finding treasure seems like the most amazing thing, I love the mystery of the pursuit the most. I remember reading books as a kid with characters in searching for some elusive treasure, pointing at the map and exclaiming, “X marks the spot!” In truth, the pursuit was the entire book, as there would have been much of a story if the treasure were easily found. I’ve discovered the same thing with my own art journey. Each day is a pursuit to find a sweet spot that feels most comfortable to me. It’s the “X” on my own artistic treasure map. Have I found it? Not quite, but this month’s adventure makes me feel like I’m getting closer and closer to understanding just where I should head next. For me, it’s always been less about the treasure and more about the story. I’m less concerned about discovering some final end result than I am about just knowing what happens in the next chapter. That moment when I turn the page of my sketchbook and try again. And as long as I keep sketching and turning pages, I know that there will always be a few treasures along the way.
I’ve always described my art journey as an adventure and that’s certainly been the case this month. Each little doodlewash is another clue as I go along. Bits of approaches I’m playing with that I might keep or could end up discarding entirely. There’s no mad dash to a box filled with treasure, but simply a steady approach of moving forward one sketch at a time.
As for actual treasure maps, I always dreamed of finding one as a kid. The idea of having a mystery like that to solve amazed me. Of course, living in the suburbs of the Midwest meant I wasn’t going to be boarding a ship anytime soon and sailing off to parts unknown. But I was sure there could be some abandoned cabin in the woods that was hiding the secret to some sort of treasure. Thankfully, I was smart enough to never actually venture out alone in search of a creepy cabin in the woods. But, the idea of riddles like this were always alluring, not for the idea of winning the physical prize, but simply the idea of successfully solving the mystery.
While I’ve had a blast this month with my art, I’m still in the process of the journey itself. I have much more to learn and try still, and so I’m excited to DO so in the future. I have learned that I still lack a proper attention span, so anything that requires precision or careful line work is definitely not going to be “my thing.” I actually attempted to make a more careful line drawing earlier this month and got so bored that I just started scribbling instead. But that bit of messiness is equally part of my style. It’s much more of a doodle than a proper drawing and it’s really just washes of color, not truly a painting. The fun part is that no matter what technique I attempt, these bits of my own personality cause my style to appear no matter what. And like that kid I used to be, it’s fun to try anything and everything. Though I set out to learn which technique or approach in drawing I liked best, I’ve instead learned what I’ve always known. Simply DOing art is the actual treasure. And, no matter what shows up each day on that page of my sketchbook, I can happily smile, nod, and know that, once again, “x marks the spot.”
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Gold Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine (Green Shade), and Cobalt Turquoise. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen (Broad Nib) 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!