I’ve been enjoying my Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen lately. It’s nice to have one simple tool that combines line with wash. The only other thing you need with the pen is a water brush. I got a set of these calligraphy pens when I was a young girl (age 9 or 10 maybe?) and these are the SAME pens I have used since then. When my children were wee tiny I had a calligraphy business where I would calligraphy names and addresses on wedding invitations. I would also calligraphy poems and the like for folks who wanted that. Nowadays I enjoy drawing with these pens due to the NON waterproof  ink in the cartridge. The above is a recent drawing made at Eclection, downtown Kernersville,  on a Friday morning. I’m having to suspend my Friday drawing times due to working at my school to get ready for our Art Show. But I’m looking forward to returning in late February!




Here are few other Sheaffer Calligraphy Pen drawings. You simply draw with the pen and then take the water brush to any area you want to fill in. It works best to touch the brush to a line and drag the ink where you want it to go.  I will also sometimes touch the water brush to a drawn line, pick up the brush, and then move to another area to draw with the ink I’ve picked up on the brush. An example of this are the rectangle boxes in the background of THE FIRST DRAWING ABOVE, to denote all the paintings hanging there. I didn’t want a defined line, as it would compete with all the other lines. Just a hint of ink to give you the impression. In this last drawing right here, instead of going in with a water brush, I used watercolor on a regular brush to combine with the ink.

**Note: A light touch is needed here, as the ink can get away from you and flow into places you really don’t want it to. Start off lightly. Then go more bold as you get the hang of it. In this recent post the ink nearly got away from me, but I went in to redefine some of the lines with a Bic pen after it had dried. The watery black ink gave quite the impression of a dark, winter landscape. And, BTW, you don’t need a Sheaffer Pen for this…any water soluble ink pen will do! Have fun!

***Another note: My Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons have been getting a large amount of traffic lately. Thank you! It makes me very glad to think that they are helpful! As I said in the introduction, these are less about the how-to of drawing in a sketchbook, and more of the why, what for, and how-to-keep-going bit of chronicling your life in lines, paint or collage or ALL of it!

****And yet another note 😉 : Lest you think my drawing skills were off-kilter in the first drawing above, the mannequin really was leaning like that!! My fellow draw-er and friend, Debbie, can attest to that! Ha! Ha!

Let It Flow


Finally. I just received my copy of One Watercolor A Day in the mail! But I’ve only had time to read Veronica Lawlor‘s introduction. When I got to the words, “Let it flow…” I knew I was going to love this book! So after teaching yesterday and after dinner, I sat down to my drawing table with just watercolor. I didn’t have a plan or an idea. I just wanted to swoosh watercolor around on the page and let it flow. What ended up happening was a delightfully fun exercise in play I thought I’d share with you:

1. Choosing colors you like, literally swoosh the paint around, with an eye toward there being several boxes (or only a few!) on the page. Try not to have a pre-conceived notion of what it will be.

2. Make puddles, calligraphic marks and lines, some organic, some geometric. Allow colors to flow into one another.

3. Splatter colors all over the sections on your page. Not only will this add richness to the colors you have painted with, but it will also tie in colors from other “boxes”.

4. Let this dry completely.

I went to bed at this point, and woke up this morning to look at the random watercolors with a fresh eye. And then…


5.  Look at each box. Really stare at it. What do you see? What colors/shapes suggest things to you? Do you “see” flowers? windows? doors? fences? people? landscapes? animals? imaginary things? or simply designs?

6.  Using a fine liner pen or other marker, add a few lines here and there to “clarify” what you see.

7.  Draw a box around it.

8.  Title it (if you want to:).

9. Sign it.

This could be a great warm-up exercise to your drawing/painting session, or something for those times when you’re too tired to concentrate on realistic drawing (as I was after a day of teaching). It only takes a few minutes. In fact, make yourself do the watercolor part very quickly. This will keep your brain from trying to “make something of it” and just let the watercolors flow, like Veronica says in her book. I’m looking forward to seeing what exercises they have for us to do in this book! I know it will be just as fun!!

Negative Painting



At the school where I teach art part-time, I am asked to begin each year with a lesson on Nature Study in Dry-Brush Watercolor.  This approach to painting a nature study piece is one of the foundations of the Charlotte Mason approach to education that my school so beautifully exemplifies throughout the K-8 curriculum. Students are taught to “draw with the brush” as they depict in watercolor all the details and nuances of the bit of nature they have before them.

Since our theme for art this year is All Creatures Great and Small, we looked at bird feathers of many kinds in our classes to create these nature studies.  A common question is : How do I paint white? The palette of watercolors they use does not come with Chinese White, thankfully. This forces them to come up with a solution to this “problem”.

My challenge as a teacher is NOT to give them the answer. The very best way to teach is to allow the students to discover for themselves, as much as possible, how they might create “white” on the page in their little painting. In every class, without fail, at least one (usually more) student comes up with the answer: Paint around the white part, leaving the white of the paper.

In one of the upper classes, I reminded them that what they have discovered is called Negative Painting in the art world. A few students snickered! We had a fun time discussing how that description seems weird since it makes you think the artist is angry or upset in some way while he/she paints! We then had students remind us of the difference between positive and negative painting.  It’s fun to view these standard art descriptions from a kid’s point of view!!

The above painting is NOT feathers. I painted this on a recent day at the Ciener Botanical Gardens.  I wanted the challenge of “negatively” painting these tall white flowers against the backdrop of foliage.  I really wish I had looked on the little metal plate at the base of the flowers to see what they are called!! That would be in keeping with a true Nature Study. Oh, and using Dry Brush, which I definitely did not do here. Oozling and Wazzling is my favorite thing!!

This painting is now in my Etsy Shoppe for sale, along with a few others I’ve just added. There are two up-close cow portraits (Mr. Whicker’s cows are so paintogenic!) And there’s a daffodil piece that reminds me of spring.

I hope you can do a little “negative painting” of your own…hee! hee!

Poppie Love


You’ll be seeing more Poppy paintings cuz I’m in luuvvv…the poppies this spring at the Ciener Botanical Gardens were droolingly gorgeous! I had just gotten out of the hospital and when I felt up to driving, it was one of the first places I took myself…to see what was blooming there. I was in no shape to sit and draw so I took lots of photos of the dripping reds and pinks. Yummy!

This one and the last one are now for sale in my Shoppe! 🙂


**Note: When I work from a photograph, I do so in a similar manner to working from life. Just as I feel free to move things around (as I did in this recent post), I also feel free to eliminate extraneous material. That’s a fancy way of saying, that I only draw and paint what I feel is necessary to the rectangle image. Too much going on is quite simply too much! Don’t feel enslaved to every leaf, stem, or flower. And move the flowers around if that suits you. The photo is only a suggestion! You be the master. The same thing goes with color…let the photograph be a suggestion. DON’T try mixing exact colors to match what you see. I tend to punch up the color intensity. Or sometimes I lighten it…whatever feels right for conveying my love of the scene.

Oh…and by all means…LET THE WATERCOLOR OOZLE AND WAZZLE! This is watercolor’s most charming quality!! Let it flow, let it be. (Of course you CAN dab at it a tiny bit with a paper towel if it gets too out of hand:)

Creative Pensieve


Harry Potter: “What is it?

Albus Dumbledore: “This? It is called a Pensieve.

I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling,

that I simply have too many thoughts

and memories crammed into my mind.

— Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter discussing Dumbledore’s Pensieve.

Several years ago, when I read the above in one of J.K.Rowlings’ renowned books, I immediately thought, “That’s what I need!!” I had actually been doing this to a certain extent in my sketchbooks. But I began to create Creative Pensieves in the form of books (rather than a cauldron of water) to hold all the “brilliant ideas” that came floating into my head, clamoring to be made. Since I couldn’t tend to them all at once, I decided to write them down, sketch them out, paste in, whatever the idea was so that I could come back to it at a later date. For some of my yarn projects, I actually made a scrapbook, titling it thus.





I have scads of these Pensieves around the house. I have one for Genevieve books I’ve written awaiting  illustrations and…publishing…????


I have sketchbooks with ideas for larger works…



I have composition notebooks which are my daily writing books, but are filled with ideas for making stuff, for poems, for sewing stuff, as well as the yarn designs that crop up along the way…




Timaree says she does this too…writing down the ideas as they come. Perhaps its not as elaborate as the scrapbook. It doesn’t need to be. But it’s a great way to hold onto some of those creative no-see-ums when they’re buzzing around your head and you don’t want to lose the idea. It helps in several ways:

1.  It eases the frenzy of all those ideas banging around in your mind. Writing or sketching them in a book, allows you to breathe a bit easier knowing the idea(s) is captured there for a later date.

2.  When the idea first comes to you, it may have this “brilliant idea” quality. If you write it down, then it can simmer. When you look at it again you can decide if it still has that brilliance or if it may be something you can let go of.

3.  If you ever hit places where you are bereft of brilliant ideas, then you have your Creative Pensieve to dive into and find a cool creative project.

The one hitch to having these Creative Pensieves sitting around is that they might start to talk to you. You have to watch out if it starts saying something like, “Okay…I’m sitting here…waiting for you to do something about this…all these great ideas you’ve never done anything about…come on, get with it!” DO NOT listen to it if you hear negative chatter like this!!!

If you do hear something like that, immediately change it’s tune to this:


**Just another way I live artfully. I hope you are living a life of art as well, and loving every minute of it!

When Life is Boring…


It seems like there’s a lot of resonance with these thoughts on reaching our full potential, blasting through creative blocks, and living an artful life. I love it! Danny Gregory compiled a few of these in a recent blog post, and has been tackling the topic of the “monkey” in our brain that accuses us as artists and tries to keep us from our calling. Check out all his posts here on his blog. And you really should read all the comments folks have kindly made on my recent blog post on “Potential”…there are some wonderful and helpful insights there!

So, you may be wondering…Do you think the beach is boring Jen? Well, no, not to BE there!  But to look at. I know some of you will take issue with me! That’s ok. You gotta admit though, there are places/things in your life that are simply boring to look at, or boring to live through, or just plain ole boring. When I go to the beach and I’m set to paint the ocean, I sometimes have that nasty little word darting in and out of my head. Bluish-gray skies over a bluish-gray ocean washing up onto grayish-tan sand. Hmm. There are artists who love tonal colors and painting, and they can make truly lovely works of art of realistic ocean scenes. I typically have to turn sideways to get a few houses or people into the composition to make it even remotely exciting (to me).

I’m jazzed by shape, line, and color. So when I’m looking at the ocean straight-on, the only shapes I readily see are three basic rectangles stacked on top of one another: sand rectangle, ocean rectangle, sky rectangle. Granted, the line between the ocean and the sand gives a bit of excitement as it undulates. Here are a couple of ways I tackle “boring”:  In the above sketch drawn last week, I added color according to my own desire.  Working with watercolor crayons first, I “painted” them with water all over the page. Once that dried,  I drew with my trusty bic pen the few lines of cloud shapes, horizon line, and ocean wave lines. I added a few people for interest. Then I went over everything with oil pastels to heighten color here and there.


This one from last year addressed the boring shapes issue, as I added shapes that were reminiscent of waves and the bubbly foam. This broke up the monotony of the three basic rectangles.



And these two, also from last year, are a couple of doodle pages of beachy things…color, kite flying, ocean, sand, etc. There are many, many ways to tackle what may seem like boring subject matter to you…you just have to see it with a fresh set of eyes! Ask yourself the question, “What if I did this…or that?” and then try it! You might like the outcome and you certainly WON’T be bored while creating it!

**A big part of Living Artfully is to tackle boredom head on! We all grow bored with the same-ole same-ole. The key is to try new things, not just in sketching and art, but also in your everyday life. Set one day a week, on your way home from work, to buy some fresh flowers for your home. Drive “the long way home” from the grocery store. Plan a little day trip with a friend. Switch up routines you may have had for years. Sometimes the smallest shift in your everyday, brings a fresh outlook, and causes you to notice things you hadn’t before!

To Timaree et al


An online artist friend, who has visited my blog for many years and has been a huge encourager, asked a question in one of her recent comments on this beach post. I thought I’d take a bit of time to answer her questions, which may be of interest to others as well. Here is what she asked:

“…Love your drawings. I look at the complexity of them and wonder if you

start in pencil but it really looks like you dive in with pen –

do you just start with the nearest objects and work back?

I don’t see lines crossing through objects as if added after something else…”


So I’ll try to walk you through a moment in time I wanted to draw. This photo is of my favorite portable drawing chair. I love the arm that hinges up to hold your drawing supplies.


These are the drawing goodies I’m using for this type of sketching: 08 Prismacolor Fineliner Pen, Oil Pastels, 6″ x 6″ Flexisketch book.


Here is the view I had while sitting in our driveway. Randy was smoking my favorite barbecue for the Fourth of July. Please note that I was not intent on drawing or painting the light!! This is important, because you have to choose what you’re after in a drawing. If I was here to draw the light, this would be completely different. I am only after the lines…the lovely lines that meander in and through my life, the present moment, this here and now.

I often enjoy drawing something that is up close to me with some of the things in the background. Sometimes I stick very close to what I actually see. Sometimes I move objects around in order to compose them in the square space the way I want them. Degas was a master at composing paintings and drawings that were off-kilter, or partly out of the picture plane, as if he was viewing them through a camera lens. I love this way of drawing.

I do NOT use a pencil first or at any point in the drawing. I just go right into it with the pen. This is VERY important!! Working with a pen frees you from having to erase “mistakes”. You MUST leave your lines the way they are! No need to go and redraw what seems a bit “off”, or even a lot “off”. Of course, redrawn lines CAN be really fun! But I just let lines fall the way they will and keep on going!


So I start with the biggest shape, which is typically the one closest to me. In my  mind’s eye I have zoomed in on the Weber grill, so I start with the fun shape of the grill, not worrying that some of it goes off the page (in fact that is my intent!!) Once I have the basic shape of the grill, I can add a few details, like handles, the vent at the top, etc.


Then I begin to work in the “background”, once again choosing the shape I want to be sure is included in my drawing. In this case, I really wanted our red door to be in the picture, so I had to “scrunch” the background over a bit for this to happen. Once I have the door where I want it, I can fill in the bushes, the garage door lines, the begonia ivy, the steps, etc. I forgot to take more pics along the way here ’cause I get so caught up in drawing. Time just falls away…I love that!


Here’s another view of the same thing, but after the meat has been removed to go cook for a few hours. We’ll be having friends over for our barbecue feast, so I’m grabbing some time here to draw before they come! I moved my chair to give me the view I wanted.


Once again, I draw the big shapes of the grill first. I don’t worry about being terribly precise. I like wonky. Wonky drawings are better in my opinion! And I don’t worry about how much of the grill doesn’t even get drawn! No need to! I love the off-the-page look! It suggests that these things in my life are bursting off the page, have a life of their own outside of my little drawing.


Then I decide that the background shape I want to be sure to include is the flag. So I once again, move the background over a bit to accommodate the flag in my drawing. (Does this make any sense?)


I work my way from the flag down to the bushes and then over above the grill, eyeballing distances between things, but not measuring or making everything perspectively perfect. I’m just after an impression of the moment.

And then comes the  color…


I pull out my oil pastels (sometimes I use Neocolor II watercolor crayons) and decide which objects will get color. It really has more to do with my preference, or what I want to highlight. But I don’t want to overdo it. Just a few bits of color here or there. And voila!



I hope this helps, Timaree, and anyone else who might benefit from it! Thank you so much for your faithful presence here on my blog and for taking the time to comment!! I truly appreciate it!!

**And as an aside…this is one of the ways I live artfully. Taking a few moments to trace the lines of my world around me, helps me to see the beauty that lies therein. The pen and the page become a new set of glasses enabling me to see what I really have. Drawing my life silences the clamor in my head for something other than what I have. If you want to draw your life too, check out my Drawing Your Life Mini Lessons. 


“How in the world do you do what you do?” This is an interesting question I get either verbalized or emailed to me.  I’m always surprised at the question. I wonder what it is they perceive I’m doing or accomplishing, since USUALLY I’m thinking I can’t do anywhere near what I’d like to do or accomplish. Crazy isn’t it?

Typically my first thought is: I have no idea. In the past I have said, “I do it because it’s my sanity.” And that is true.  I’ve also said, “I do it because I have to/need to.” And this too is true.  I’ve also responded, “I do it because it’s so fun!” True too! But recently it has begun to form in my mind, the real “how” of all the creative stuff I love: drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, designing, illustrating Genevieve, blogging, writing poetry every now and then, and the occasional collage.  If this seems too self-oriented, then do just click away from this post. I only write it in hopes that it might encourage or inspire you in your creative endeavors! Here goes:

How do I do a creative life?

1. Look for Beauty. So honestly, this is the crux of the matter. Without something beautiful, I haven’t any reason to draw or paint, to knit or crochet, to write in prose or poetry.  Sometimes I’m struck by a lovely thing without looking for it.  Many times, I purposefully look for beauty in and around my little life.  And on days when I’m hard-pressed to find anything of beauty, I search for it.  It’s actually a discipline, this artist’s life…to scour your world for the Beauty you know is there even in unexpected places or places where we don’t think beauty could be found. Beauty can even be wrapped in painful or discouraging circumstances.

2.  Find a way to express it.  So for me, merely looking for, seeing, and noting a thing of beauty (whether it’s the inside of my dishwasher or the gorgeous fall trees in my neighborhood) is not enough.  I must record, express, celebrate, honor, capture, harness it in some way. Most times, that way is drawing in a sketchbook. Or painting the faces and places in my life or in others’ lives. Other times it is writing. And yet others it is knitting something in the colors I’m seeing out my windows. There are many many other ways to express the little beauties in your life: photography, music, composition, dance, theater, etc.

3.  Do what I can, with what I have, where I am.  This is actually a quote by Theodore Roosevelt.  It is incredibly helpful for someone like me who has more ideas I’d love to see come into being than I know what to do with.  I can get really stuck in thinking: well, I CAN’T do X, Y, or Z (due to time or money or ability) so I just won’t do any of it at all.  I camped out with this block for nearly two years a few years back.  I was wanting to make it big-time as a professional artist, painting big paintings, being represented by a gallery or two, entering exhibits all over the region, etc.  And when it seemed to be way out of my reach, I just stopped drawing and painting altogether.  What ended up happening during this period, is that I picked up my needles and yarn and began knitting and crocheting like a fiend:).  But one day, I literally ran into the book ISH, by Peter Reynolds, and realized that all I really wanted was to draw, no matter whether it became a professional thing or not. You can read more about that here. And you all know of my desire to travel to France, a longing to have a life that allowed for this kind of travel, (both in time and money), only to realize the amazing beauty of my own little town of Kernersville as I began to look for it and draw it!

We tell ourselves that we don’t have enough money for canvases or paints, when a cheap sketchbook and watercolors is sitting underneath a stack of books somewhere.  We tell ourselves we have no time, while we sit in a car pick-up line for ten minutes and could sketch something or knit a few rows.  We tell ourselves we are too tired at the end of a long day, when the very best restorative medicine is a swoosh of color on a page, or a few rows of crocheting that blanket.

4.  Blast through resistance.  I’ve been reading (and re-reading) a book by Steven Pressfield titled The War of Art.  In it he defines what resistance is and how it keeps us from doing the thing(s) we are really longing to do and need to do. I highly recommend this book!  I am continually learning all the myriad of things that resistance throws in my path to keep me from being creative. In some ways, this fight through resistance is very difficult! But in other ways it’s really simple: I  put on my artist armor and hack through the underbrush of weedy resistance.  I show up to the page, the yarn, the blog.  Whatever it is, whatever it takes, for however long I have to give it (10 minutes or 2 hours) I SHOW UP.

5.  Relish the FEW creative projects I have going.  It is good discipline for me to limit how many creative balls I juggle.  What has happened to me time and time again, is that when I have too many going on, my energies are splintered, my focus grows fuzzy, I feel overwhelmed to the point of paralysis, and I can’t seem to accomplish or finish anything.  Boundaries are good. Limitations are actually an ASSET!!  Disciplining the bouncy, creatively ADD, artist child within you is necessary to a slow-but-steady-progress kind of life.  AND it actually allows me to RELISH what I’m doing NOW, being present in the lovely creative moment, instead of hurrying through it to get to the next thingS on my accomplish list.

Well, there it is. An answer to a question you may or may not have wondered. It has helped me to write it down.  It’s a touchstone for me. A way to remember why and how it is I do what I do. Perhaps it will help you as well.

**Addendum: If any of you saw my recent Instagram photo, you would see that I’m not doing that well with #5! Oi! What’s a girl to do?!!

Blankets & A Process

Forgive the dreadful photos (especially this one)…I was drawing/painting in the wee hours of the morning (have no idea why I’m up so early these days:( ) and taking photos at that time is  near impossible, but there it is.

The blankets are out in full force around our house and in use! Perhaps for you too.  Most of our blankets I’ve crocheted at one time or another. My favorite is this big, huge granny square blanket made with lots of leftover yarns.  To see a couple of other drawings of this blanket, click here and here.  Should you be a crocheter and want to make this blanket, click here! It’s one of  my FREE PATTERNS available to you!

So I thought I’d show you a drawing in process where I’ve made use of a page that I began for another drawing (see this Knitting Brown drawing). I drew the knitting needle and decided to abandon ship and start over.  Why? I don’t know. Hm.

Anyway, I started a continuous line drawing on the abandoned page.  Continuous line is lovely for early morning drawing: restful, thoughtful, meditative. It should be noted that I have several continuous lines on the page. I typically take a line as far as I feel it can go. Then pick up my trusty Bic pen and begin somewhere else. I just love that way of drawing.  It frees me from feeling I have to have everything “correct” or have to have every detail. The witchy looking thumb was weird…but oh well, not gonna stress about it…let it go!

Then I splashed on some watercolor.  When I have lines on a page, no matter how wonky looking, I tend to be very loose and free with the paint.  Choice of colors is aligned with similarity to the local colors around me. For instance, the chair I sit in to think, write, draw each morning, is burgundy.  It has a matching twin.  The closest color on my palette to “burgundy” is quinacridone magenta, a favorite delicious color which is much more exciting than burgundy.  I have a yellow pillow in the same fabric as the hassock, but they aren’t quite so bold a yellow as I used here: cad yellow is way more vibrant and fun! So this is how I “think” when I paint.  I do not attempt exact colors of my surroundings.  I let my surroundings guide me, but pick what is close but perhaps more jazzy. 🙂

Another note about color:  I’m always thinking about connections…between colors of each of the “things” in my drawing.  I love looking for the echoes of burgundy in the blanket, the hints of green in the blinds, the blues showing up in shadows of the burgundy chair.  Making color notes in your drawing this way allows it to be cohesive and a whole unit. That’s also why I love splattering…splatters of colors from the blanket over the chair area allows them to be connected to each other.  I love connections…in BOTH continuous lines AND in color!!

*I also went back into the drawing with my Bic pen to add the tip of the Bic pen.  Sometimes continuous line doesn’t allow some necessary details you may want added in later. Tee Hee!

I wanted to add oil pastels to this.  Just a bit of the juicy dark colors, especially in the blanket since oil pastel has a natural textured look which mimics the look of yarns.  Defined the cropped out area too, as this was my first focus in the drawing.  It kept spilling outside the borders of this drawn rectangle.  I don’t mind these things…I just go along with Pen wherever he goes. Oh, and the oil pastel over the cropped box, helped the witchy thumb look less, well, witchy. 🙂

In the end, I decided to go back into the drawing with Bic pen to add a few of the lines on my sketchbook page.  And by this time, the light is a bit better in the house for taking a photo and I think you’re getting a better look at the color.

So, draw up a chair,  a blanket too, and sketch what you see.  Splash on some color.  Add a few accents. Redefine what you need.

It’s all good, in the land of sketchbooks.

Thick & Thin

I love to play around with the thickness (and thinness) of pen lines.  I like to see how changing the pen line thickness within the same drawing adds a sense of depth or highlights the main subject or….

It’s totally fun! Try this:  Choose a thick line pen (I like a size 08 fineliner) for your main subject OR for the objects that are in the foreground.  Then choose a much smaller pen thickness (I use 01 fineliner, or 03) for all the stuff that surrounds your main subject, or for the items in the background.

THEN…switch it up!  Reverse that order and choose a tiny fineliner (01) for the main subject and the thicker pen (08) for the rest of it, or the background stuff.  Either way, you get this cool way of indicating depth and focus…ALL WITH LINE!!!!  Whheeeeee!!!!!!

P.S. Oh wait…is this a mini-lesson? Nah.  Just a tip to try.  You might like it!

P.P.S.  Oh, and this is more work play from the drawing group that meets at Barnhill’s Bookstore.  Too fun!

P.P.P.S.  Tune in Friday for Drawing Your Life Mini Lesson #4!!!  More stuff to fuel the fire for drawing.  I hope.:)