Z Is For Zebra

Zebra Doodlewash

We’ve reached the last letter of our alphabet! Not surprisingly, this comes with an inevitable doodlewash of this young zebra. There are precious little options for the letter Z, and although Zorse and Zonkey were tempting, I decided to try a pure zebra for my first time ever doodlewashing one. I have to say it was rather cathartic to make it to the end of this little adventure, but also a little sad. Since I love animals so much, this project is a little harder to put down than the ones before it. If you have a suggestion for next month’s project, please let me know in the comments!

Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you my customary sloppy research on this little zebra so here’s what I’ve found. Just like human fingerprints and snowflakes, a zebra’s stripes are individual and no two share the exact same pattern. Though on the surface, the signature stripes appear to be the worst camouflage ever, they are actually a great defense mechanism. When a herd of zebras runs together, a visually striking black and white mosiac occurs, that makes it incredibly hard for predators to single out an individual zebra to attack. Even standing alone, this “disruptive coloration” breaks up the outline of the body and makes it hard for predators to see them.

Zebras communicate with facial expressions, loud braying and barking sounds along with sniffing and snorting. The position of the ears and how wide they open their eyes are all signals of what they are thinking at the time. At least, for anyone who speaks zebra, which is mainly limited to other zebras. So there you have it! Though this is the last letter in the project, tomorrow is Leap Day so there’s still more to come. I’m swapping a couple of the letters out with brand new doodlewashes that I’ll be sharing tomorrow along with the reveal of the first ever Doodlewash ABC poster, so stay tuned for a bit more of this adventure yet to com!

About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Neutral Tint and Titanium White Gouache. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink and second pen with Platinum Carbon sepia ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal


Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Susan Feniak 7 years ago

    Of course “Z” had to be for zebra. A cute individual at that. I am looking forward to the first ever Doodlewash ABC poster and the two swaps. Happy leap day!! 🙂

  2. Yay, well done, and thank goodness for ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ the alphabet would not be complete without them!! Can’t wait for tomorrow post, exciting. I can’t think of a great suggestion, as you have complete two fine subject choices. But maybe breeds of…..dog/ cat…….places of the world, landmarks, sort of thing?? I am sure you will come up with an equally great challenge as the last two have been.

    • Author

      Thanks so much, Rebecca!! 💕😃 and haha…yeah…Y and Z really add to the alphabet. Hehe Actually the breeds of dog is one I’m considering…I just don’t really want to leave animals yet. But landmarks is cool! That’s a fun idea! See? This is why I just choose whatever comes out on the day…I want to do everything!!! 😊

  3. Catherine Johnson 7 years ago

    Well done! All your animals are fabulous!

  4. kameamoonmaiden 7 years ago

    I got in during the last few letters and am feeling quite Zen upon reading about the marvelous zebra. Perhaps play my zither for a while.

  5. Teresa Robeson 7 years ago

    You just did another horse-like creatures to annoy Philippe, didn’t you? 😀 Well, it’s a darned adorable critter, even if, like Philippe, I’m not a horse fan. What an excellent month of doodlewash this was! <3 Can't wait to see your poster!

    • Author

      Thanks Teresa!! 😃💕Yeah…these are always funny because when I show him he just shrugs…zero reaction for anything horse-like! Lol But glad you liked it. This was a fun month…still a couple replacements to doodlewash tomorrow and it’s complete!

  6. Margaret 7 years ago

    That is a splendid Zebra Charlie!

  7. Jacob 7 years ago

    Such a beautiful zebra! I knew it’d be worth missing out on a zonkey for this. I’m now wondering what he’s communicating to us? I bet he’s expressing sadness at this project coming to an end! And I share his (and your) feelings upon reaching Z – end of an era! These are going to look marvellous all together – can’t wait to see it, complete with the new kitty (though I’m sure the urchin is cool too!)

    I like Rebecca’s landmarks suggestion, if you wanted to go architectural again. You could broaden that I suppose and have structures, as that would allow you to argue virtually anything fits! How about all things America? I’m sure you’ll find something – there’s a whole day to go yet!

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob!! Yeah…the Zonkey was pretty tempting actually. I just love the name!! Lol It’s so weird…I get a little sad at the end of each month when an adventure ends, but I do it to myself. And yeah…landmarks would be cool. But I don’t know if I’m ready to stop animals yet. I love things with eyes! It’s always tough to decide what’s next! Ugh! 😊hehe

      • Jacob 7 years ago

        You seem to get so into them, I’m not at all surprised it’s hard to move on!

        Haha, indeed, zonkey is the best name ever! Such love for the zonkey. Could you perhaps do a series of funky hybrid creatures similar to him? I’ve no doubt there are scores of them that we haven’t even imagined. Decisions decisions! 😛

        • Author

          I thought about it, and that may be part of what happens. I’m liking the creature features…hehe… I think I’ve made the decision and it’s only Tuesday morning here!! That’s a first!! Lol

  8. Teri C 7 years ago

    A fabulous finish! Bravo!

    Hey, since it’s spring, why not spring flowers?!

    • Author

      Thanks Teri!! 💕😃 And yes…spring is definitely on my mind and something I’m considering. I used to love macro photography of flowers!

      • jmnowak 7 years ago

        Oohh, how’s about animal heads to go with a macro flower, as a watercolour of course. You decide which flower suits the animal in question! To start you off, the lotus with the frog on the big lily pad.

        • Author

          That’s a really interesting idea, Janina! I don’t really know if I’d enjoy flowers alone so this would solve that problem! Hmmmm

          • jmnowak 7 years ago

            I think the challenge and time-consuming work, for you, would be the matching them side of things. OF course, if you like, I could think up some more for you and let you know! 🙂

          • Author

            If already launched into my new adventure…an article caught my eye about strange animals…so I decided to go with “uncommon creatures” as a theme! Hehe…it’s gonna get weird on here! 😊

          • jmnowak 7 years ago

            You don’t mean…like gruesome creatures one sees in gaming videos…do ya?!! Like Jacob’s posts recently? I wait with bated breath!
            Anyway, I can still do the matching and send you an email; then you can do what you like with them (I’d rather you didn’t toss them into the trash ‘tho…you never know!).

          • Author

            Awesome! And no…nothing gruesome and all natural. Nature has plenty of weird things to offer!

          • jmnowak 7 years ago

            hahaha…yes, definitely! And I’m glad you like my idea, ta! **

  9. Cathe 7 years ago

    I love your zebra Charlie. I was very excited to see how this fellow worked out, very nicely I’d say. It is hard to come to the end of such an engaging project. Let’s see ideas for next month, food focus, beach focus, national parks, ha – whats in front of you… baby animals (spring), herbs… plants, flowers!!! Obscure objects, a certain decade, presidents…musicians through the ages…

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe!! 💕😃 I’m thrilled you like my zebra. It suddenly felt like the pressure was on to not screw it up in the last letter! Lol And wow…okay…I don’t know if you’re helping or confusing me…those are all GREAT suggestions!!!! Haha…I want to try them all!!

  10. Jodi 7 years ago

    an amaZing Zebra charlie o! You did a great job going through the alphabet this month! Can’t wait to see what leap day brings and then what exciting adventure awaits us for March! Oscar watching tonight! Cheers!

    • Author

      Thanks Jodi!! 😃💕 Glad you liked him! I can’t wait to see what’s next either! I find about 2 hours before all of you do when I start doodlewashing something! Hope you enjoyed the Oscars… We didn’t watch…hadn’t really seen any of the movies this year. 😊

  11. Sharon Mann 7 years ago

    A sparkling Zebra, marvelous! I’m always looking forward to what’s up next. Thanks Charlie! 💕😻

  12. Really beautiful, magnificent job on this one, Charlie. He is glowing! So gorgeous! Looking forward to your poster next! 💜🎈

  13. artandmoondreams 7 years ago

    Magnificent flourish at the finish…wonderful painting, love the beautiful zebra portrait. Your artwork always brightens the day and your words often entertain. Looking forward to seeing more of your projects and adventures. Thank you for sharing this.

    • Author

      Thanks so much Haunani!! 💕😃 Your comment always brighten my day! I so appreciate them! And happy to know you’ll be along for the next adventure!!

  14. memadtwo 7 years ago

    A poster!
    I was reading somewhere about zebra stripes being used for camouflage, I thing it was for ships, during WWII. The Germans couldn’t figure out whether the boats were coming or going because of the stripes…
    I know you’ll come up with a good idea for March, Charlie. But keep legends in mind…(K)

    • Author

      That’s so wild about the ships…I didn’t really that, but I guess if it works in the wild it would work for that too! And I’m keeping all the ideas in mind! Love that one! And unfortunately several others so I’m having a hell of a time choosing. 😊 Oh well…I usually just grab a pen and then see what comes out first!

  15. Fabio 7 years ago

    Great job as always, dear Charlie! It is always a pleasure to come to your blog and see so much beauty on your drawings and read an always sharp text. Thanks so much! Have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂 X

    • Author

      What a wonderful compliment, Fabio!! 😊 Thanks so much for your kind words of encouragement. I really appreciate it!! Hope you have a fantastic week as well!! 😃

  16. Kari 7 years ago

    👏🏼👊🏼😘 You did it! And what a month it was! I love animals too and I truly enjoyed your animal doodlewashes and all the interesting facts! Whatever you decide for March, I’m sure it will be fun! ❤️😜😘

    • Author

      Awww thanks Kari!! 💕😃 So glad you were hear for the ride this month. It was really fun!! I think animals are by far my favorite thing to doodlewash. Still not sure what’s next, but I have a day or so to decide I guess. Hehe

  17. M. L. Kappa 7 years ago

    Brilliant little fellow with an alert expression – I just love him! As for the continuation, I love alphabets too, so I’ve made one for each of my grandchildren, with slightly different techniques. The first was wild animals, using Lino printing and prismalo pencils, the second was characters from Greek mythology, the third (for friends) was flowers, then a sea theme using collage, then horses (including a rocking horse and a unicorn!) and now I’m drawing dog breeds on the pages of an old book. Fish, birds… The choice is huge – although you have to cheat slightly for some letters!

    • Author

      Thanks so much!! 😃😃And those projects sound really awesome!! I actually considered dog breeds since I love dogs so much. It’s actually more fun than I expected. I like having the limitation of a letter to decided what the heck to paint next! Lol

  18. Jui 7 years ago

    Hi! Thank you for sharing your beautiful paintings! I really enjoyed this series!! Inspirational and informative 🙂

  19. ann christina 7 years ago

    Lovely doodlewash, Charlie! And quite interesting facts, I didn´t know that their patterns were individual, and I didn´t know about this camouflage thing. Makes sense, and how great that is. Reminds me of some of the psychedelic art of the 60´s when they made patterns that seemed to move (I hate to look at them, it´s just too strange!). Waiting for your news projects – have you had a flower-project (from A to Z) already? Wishing you a wonderful week! 😊

    • Author

      Thanks Ann!! 💕😃 Yeah…I didn’t know about the camouflage thing either, but it’s super cool! I feel like even with my clumsy research, I learned a lot this month! Hehe …those 60’s patterns are super hard to look at too! I haven’t done flowers yet, it’s definitely an option, but they just don’t pull me in like buildings and animals. 😊Hope you have an amazing Leap Day and a wonderful week ahead!

  20. kathiwerner 7 years ago

    This was a wonderful series this month and the Zebra is an awesome end. I ‘d suggest music instruments, but unterstood you like something animal related, so maybe Jungle where some animals face a peeking it out? But landmarks sound interesting as well.

    • Author

      Thanks Kathrin!! 😃💕So happy you liked this series…it was one of my favorites. Animals do have my heart, but I love all these suggestions…hehe… gonna be tough to choose!!

  21. A lovely series, Charlie. I raise my metaphorical hat in admiration. Looking forward to the next one!

    • Author

      Awww thanks Michael!! Metaphorical hats are the best admiration ever! Assuming this is because you don’t actually fancy real hats? Hehe I really appreciate you coming along the ride this month. Hope you’ll stick around for whatever the heck happens next. Yeah…still don’t know 😊hehe

  22. debiriley 7 years ago

    oh wow Charlie! mr. zebra looks like he’s going to reach right out and take a nibble!! wonderful patterns and design; so sad its Z, already!

  23. jmnowak 7 years ago

    He’s a sweetie, Charlie! I love zebra too. I had a photo of three of them togehter, all laughing out loud, with amazing expressions. Every time I looked at it, I burst out laughing too…

    • Author

      Oh my gosh!! I would have loved to paint that photo! How cool! Hehe… And thanks so much Janina! 💕😃 Glad ya liked my little zebra!

      • jmnowak 7 years ago

        I think it would’ve been cool for you to paint it; shame I no longer have the photo otherwise I could send it to you. Maybe if you Bing “zebra trio” you could be lucky…

  24. itsmyhusbandandme 7 years ago

    One of your best.

  25. Majka 7 years ago

    Hi Charlie! ☺ Nice to see you here as well! Your alphabet display is very nice. I followed you on FB, maybe missed some letter but it was a great fun to see your sketches. I am looking forward for more.
    Have a great week! ☺

    • Author

      Awww thanks so much my friend!! I really appreciate that! It’s been a really fun adventure this month. My silly bits of research ended up being more educational than I intended! Lol Glad you enjoyed this!

      • Majka 7 years ago

        You are very welcome! ☺ I adore people who practice every day or more times pro week. I need to practice more as well. Thanks for inspiring me! ☺

  26. weisserwatercolours 7 years ago

    This has been such a journey of discovery and delight–ending with a hint of circus panache, too!

  27. kungfunaomi 7 years ago

    You have made it to 60 likes! 😀

  28. Jill Kuhn 7 years ago

    I’ve been catching some Z’s today so it seemed necessary to read your Z post that I missed when in Mexico – the internet connection was very poor there. Beautiful Zebra, Charlie! 🎨👍❤️

    • Author

      Awww thanks Jill! 😃💕I think the zebra would have freaked me out if I hadn’t practiced a horse and giraffe first! Hehe Glad you liked it!!

  29. […] a well-adapted form of camouflage from predators. The patterns disrupt the outline of the body, much like a zebra, and this makes them harder to spot. Not only that, much of the coloring we perceive is simply a […]

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