My children are always eager to learn.

“Wow! That looks wonderful. Will you teach me to crochet too? Do you think I could make a blanket like yours?”

They always seem willing to have a go. They don’t worry about the possibility of failing.

But me?

I’m an adult and I’ve learnt a few unfortunate adult habits. I do like to learn new things and I attempt to gain new skills all the time. But sometimes, if someone is watching, and there’s the possibility I could fail and make a fool of myself, well… maybe I don’t even try.

“Can you serve in tennis, Mum? Will you show us how?”

“I could serve as a child,” I say as I take the racquet, throw the ball into the air… and miss by a mile. One more attempt and I give up. Was anyone watching? I creep back home deciding tennis isn’t for me. My children remain on the court and keep throwing balls and keep swinging racquets. Soon they’ll be able to serve and I guess I never will.

For months I’ve been watching my children draw. I haven’t passed on any artistic talents to them. I didn't teach them. They just decided they’d like to draw so I supplied materials and encouragement and they went off and experimented. My children haven’t worried about the results.  If they don’t like how their drawings turn out, they just do another one. With time and persistence, they have become quite skilful. I’m rather envious.

Secretly I harbour a desire to draw. I don’t have any lofty ambitions. I don’t yearn to be a portrait artist like my sister Vicky. I just want to have fun experimenting with shapes and colours. I just want to doodle away solely for my own pleasure and relaxation. But I have told everyone I can’t draw. I have told myself I can’t draw. Really, I have been too afraid to try.

Then the other day I was thinking about how my children learn, how they just try without worrying about the results. So I thought perhaps I could do the same.

I gathered together some watercolour paper, some pencils, paints, an eraser, a Sharpie permanent marker (the girls all say a Sharpie marker is essential) and decided to draw, just like my children. Draw? Perhaps doodle is a better word.

I doodled some flowers with a pencil and then inked them with my trusty Sharpie marker, just like I’ve seen my children doing. I coloured them in with some watercolour pencils. Next, I took a water-laden brush and swiped it over my doodle and I got so excited when the colours started to flow and blend. I couldn’t wait to try another doodle. I then wondered what would happen if I used watercolour paint instead of pencils. Should I paint first or ink the doodles first? I was having a great time and the results, though not works of art, were good enough to produce a very satisfying feeling: flowers looked like flowers; I liked the combinations of colour in my pictures; I worked out a few watercolour tricks. Soon I had the courage to show my children.

“Wow! Mum, did you draw that? I love the colours! Did you use paints or watercolour pencils?”

My drawings weren’t very good, but my children were very generous with their praise and encouragement. If they’d said, "What is it supposed to be?" or “I wouldn’t have done it that way, Mum,” and had started giving me drawing advice, I would probably have never drawn another picture again. But I returned to my desk and paints, with a big smile on my face, thinking, “Hey! I can do this! The kids like my pictures!” Since then, I have really been enjoying doodling. With time and repeated effort, my doodles may even one day turn into something worth sharing.

I guess I am back to the topic of encouragement and discouragement. Yes, words can really have an important effect, especially on our inclination to learn.

“Do you think I should post some of my doodles on my blog?”

“Well… maybe… Of course, you should Mum!”

Yes, perhaps I will. I shall be like my children. I shall say with great excitement and confidence, "Hey! Look at my pictures! I had great fun doodling them." I won't think about failure or looking foolish or negative comments. 

I haven't got time for that. I'm far too busy thinking, "Now what shall I draw next?"

Post a Comment

  1. If such patterns were printed on material one could make nice dresses, skirts, scarves etc ... Very stylish and commercial too.

    God bless.

  2. I love them, too. The doodles. One looks like you were thinking: this could be an amazing scarf. And it could be! Or curtain or shower curtain.

    Your blog is beautiful - I appreciate the artistry of what you've assembled of photos & titles & posts.

  3. These are great doodles! That first picture looks like the girls' guache sets.;) They love watercolor.

  4. Victor,

    Thank you for your encouraging comment!

    Actually I've been looking at fabrics for doodling inspiration. It's funny how suddenly I can see patterns and colours everywhere that didn't notice before.

    God bless!

  5. Amy,

    Thank you for saying hello! And thank you for your kind words.

    Perhaps I have a whole new career ahead of me designing shower curtains! I like that!

    I love arranging and rearranging things on my blog. I do it while I'm thinking about what to write. I'm glad to hear it looks OK.

    God bless you, Amy!

  6. Grace,

    Thank you! I love watercolours, the way they blend with each other. I started with some old watercolour pencils I found abandoned in a jam jar. Then I bought a children's set of 36 watercolour paints. I wanted to experiment with a wider range of colours. I have come to the conclusion that for a amateur doodler like me, the inexpensive paints are fine. Now for a real artist like my sister... I know she has some beautiful pencils... but then she can really draw!

    Thank you for your comment, Grace!

  7. Hi Sue,

    I had no idea you were such an artist! I see your artwork and think "happy, happy, happy". Love all the fun colors and combinations. You should definitely draw more often! And show us your work to put smiles on all of our faces!!

  8. Noreen,

    "happy, happy, happy"... Now I'm feeling happy, happy, happy! Thank you for making me feel so good. Friends are a real blessing.

    If my doodles get a bit better...yes, I will post some more. Perhaps there are some other doodlers out there who'd like to share theirs too? I wonder if you draw, Noreen. I guess it's all about having fun and smiling.

    Thank you for the happy feeling!

  9. Wow!!! wasn't expecting anything that good from the way you were writing, when I got to the pictures my eyes were huge!!! you are SO talented. Vicky is not the only creative talent in the family.

  10. Erin,

    Art is definitely Vicky's area of talent! But I do appreciate your words. I bet you could doodle just as well as me, probably much better. It's not difficult to get a satisfying drawing. Try it and see! You could post the results on your blog!

    Lovely to hear from you.

  11. Thank you, Miu for your kind words. And thank you for stopping to say hello!

  12. Oh Sue!! I can see you have a talent for more than writing!! :) I love these!! So happy and whimsical! I can easily see these as a border for my kitchen!! :) Love it!!

  13. Susan,

    Maybe its the colours which make the doodles look happy. I had great fun colouring them in. It reminded me of being a child with a colouring book.

    A border for a kitchen? I remember when I was at school we had to design a border suitable for a girl's dress. I thought and I thought and in the end drew a line of scary spiders. The teacher said they were very nice spiders but perhaps not quite suitable for edging a pretty dress!

    Thank you for your encouragement!

  14. Brid,

    Thank you!

    We went for a bush walk today and I kept looking at all the colours, shapes and textiles and thinking about possible doodles. Isn't the bush a beautiful place?

    Thank you for commenting.

  15. Those look fabulous! You've certainly encouraged me to get creative and have some fun with Sharpies and paints! I'm lacking in the drawing department myself. Though I certainly don't believe you are now that I have seen what you can do. :)

  16. Tricia,

    Thank you for sharing my post! It's so lovely of you to leave an encouraging comment. I am sure that if I can doodle something acceptable, so can you!

    This afternoon Imogen was doodling in her sketchbook. I had a peek at her pictures. She'd looked at my doodles and then she went away and did some similar but so much better! Oh well, back to the sketch pad and more practice...

    God bless!


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