How to Draw Water Drops: From Beginner to Master | Matheus Macedo | Skillshare

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How to Draw Water Drops: From Beginner to Master

teacher avatar Matheus Macedo, Realistic Drawing Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (55m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials

    • 3. Intro to Drop 1

    • 4. Water Drop Level 1

    • 5. Intro to Drop 2

    • 6. Water Drop Level 2

    • 7. Intro to Drop 3

    • 8. Water Drop Level 3

    • 9. Intro to Tracing Methods

    • 10. Light Table Method

    • 11. Grid Method

    • 12. Transfer Method

    • 13. Water Drop Final Challenge

    • 14. Conclusion

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About This Class

Learn how to draw water drops using only graphite! In this class we are going to learn how to draw step by step four different water drops, starting from a super easy one and increasing the difficulty level until drawing like a master.

How difficult is this class?

The course is designed to introduce you to the universe of realistic drawing, so it doesn't require prior experience. However, if you don't consider yourself a beginner anymore, you may want to be challenged with the final water drop.

What am I going to learn?

  • All the materials I use for realistic drawing and how to use them;
  • How to prepare the outline freehand and three tracing methods for complex references;
  • How to create and work with a broad range of values in a drawing;
  • How to make your drawing pop.

Why water drops?

Water drops are great for practicing drawing because it gives you freedom, after all you won't be particularly worried about the likeness as we are when drawing a portrait, for example. Besides that, the effect you can create using blending tools is fascinating and it may motivate you to keep drawing :)

What materials do I need?

For this class you will need basically paper, graphite pencils and other drawing tools shown in the video about Materials. You won't need anything expensive and they are all accessible.

About me

My name is Matheus Macedo and I'm fascinated by making realistic drawings, especially portraits. I firmly believe everyone is able to draw as I do, so my goal is to help you achieve your full potential as an artist.

Join us in this jorney and follow me on Skillshare to be uptaded about all my classes :)

Meet Your Teacher

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Matheus Macedo

Realistic Drawing Artist



Hello, everyone! My name is Matheus and I am focused on realistic drawing using graphite, charcoal and colored pencil. I have been doing realistic drawings for years, always pushing myself toward improving my skills in order to become better and better.

Through the years I had the opportunity to study with many great art teachers around the world, and each one gave me a different perspective on art. Some of them are able to tackle an entire project in a few hours, whereas others would spend days to go through a drawing from beginning to end, all of that depending on how detailed they wanted their pieces to be, or what materials they use and so on. After all I was able to develop my own approach for black and white and colored drawing... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Matheus Macedo and I am a drawing artist specialized in the realistic style. I have been producing realistic drawings in graphite, charcoal and colored pencil, and have been teaching my technique to students of all ages for years. In this class, I want to introduce you to realistic drawing. I'll be showing you step-by-step how to draw four different water drops, starting from a super-easy water drop for beginners and increasing the difficulty level through the course until facing the latest master challenge. I will be showing you all the materials I recommend - nothing too expensive - and some tracing methods you can use for drawing any complex reference you want to reproduce. You are encouraged to share each exercise you do and get feedback from me and other fellow students. I'm waiting for you to get started with your journey in realistic drawing. See you in class! 2. Materials: Hello, I am going to show you all the tools I use for this class on drawing water drops. You don't really need all the tools I used, but it does make everything easier if you have them, of course. First of all, I will be using a common paper for the 3 first water drops. It's known as offset, or printing paper, easy to be found. I will also print my reference for the latest project using this paper. For the latest project which I call the final challenge, I will be drawing it on Lana Bristol paper, but any smooth thick paper we will do. Papers may vary on their color. Some are white, whereas others may be yellowish. It gives to your drawing a different aspect and there is no better or worse here, it is just a matter of personal taste. When it comes to the surface, for realistic drawings, I prefer to work with smooth papers. I would recommend picking out a paper with medium to high thickness. Its weight should be at least 150 grams per square meter. All the drawings are going to be quite small, so you don't need papers bigger than A4 size, which is the most common one. So for this class I chose Lana Bristol paper. It doesn't mean this is the best paper in the world, but it was available to be bought where I live. Other really good papers are Fabriano 4L, Strathmore 300 series bristol smooth Hahnemühle Nostalgie and Canson XL Bristol. There are different grades for graphite pencils and you don't need a complete set to take this class. I will be using five different pencils: an H, a B, a 3B, a 6B and a 8B. This is the Staedtler Mars Lumograph, which is my favorite option. A kneaded eraser will be used in this class as well. The Tombow Mono Zero 2.3 mm stick eraser, very, very useful. Eventually a common thicker stick eraser might be useful too. A pencil eraser can be a cheap alternative if don't have the stick eraser. Blending stumps or tortillons are going to be used as well. I have two in different sizes, number one and number three. A piece of toilet paper, the tissue. A pencil sharpener and you can sharpen your pencils using a utility knife too. A soft, long-haired brush for cleaning drawings is useful and it is better to use it than blowing the dust and crumbs from the paper because you don't want to spit on it and screw your drawing up. And a mask or adhesive tape will be used as well. And that's it. 3. Intro to Drop 1: Ok, now we're going to dive into the process of drawing these water drops. And we are going to start with the simplest one. I recommend you watch the entire video before you start. So you'll have a glimpse on the whole process and you know beforehand what to do. Then, when you start your drawing, you can watch the video again, drawing along with me. So let's get right into it. 4. Water Drop Level 1: Hello, this is a tutorial on how to draw a very simple water droplet, and I hope it is going to be super easy for you. The first step, of course, is to do the outline. And I want to give you a tip on how to grip the pencil. I suggest you not to grip the pencil close to its tip, but to position your hand under the pencil. Your thumb will rest in the middle of the pencil and the palm of our hand and its top. It allows you to draw using the site of the lead, not its point. So the lines will be lighter, which is better for the outline, and gives you more freedom and agility to your movements. So using anH pencil, I drew a round shape, for it is going to be a simple round water droplet. And now I'm holding the pencil as we normally do to be able to darken the first line with more precision. However, don't put too much pressure on it because we are not going to see these lines when the droplet is finished. By the way, I switched to a B pencil. Now I got the H pencil again to determine the highlights' boundaries very lightly. I'm just placing it. We can start the shading right away. for the shading, I gently draw multiple straight lines doing my best to make it look smooth and homogeneous. Be sure your pencil is sharp, I'm avoiding to draw were the highlight is going to be. I wanted to preserve that area empty. With the blending stump we can blend the first layer by doing circular motions with the hand, just to start to make the graphite grip onto the paper to penetrate its tooth. If you eventually don't have a blending stump, you can use a cotton bud instead. It's not a tool I really appreciate because it's quite messy. But it's cheap and easy to buy. So you can have it as an alternative. I just don't recommend using our finger for blending because your hand has soils that would smudge and mess up with your drawing. Now it is time to add a second layer on using now a darker pencil such as a 3B repeating the process. But soon, I'm going to introduce you to a different blending really useful even for more complex drawings, which is the tissue. Ok, here I'm going to show you how I prepare the tissue. Grab a piece of toilet paper and fold it three times. This will make it firmer. Later, you can fold also one of the tips, so you can have more precision when using it. Then, you can rub the tissue on the surface and eventually it will also cover the area of the highlight, but there is no problem with that because we are going to use the eraser later. A bit of a thinner blending stump can also be used on its boundaries. Now I get the Mano Zeros stick eraser, which is handy for tiny details. If you don't have this eraser, you can use a pencil eraser, way cheaper than this, or even a common plastic eraser. if you chamfer it using a utility knife. I like to use also a large brush to clean my drawing. I don't think it's a good idea to blow the eraser crumbs away because you risk to spit on your drawing. Now it's time to push the darker values a little bit and that's the reason I got my 3B pencil again. as you notice the side where the light bounces off of the surface of the water droplet is darker and part of the light is refracted and dispersed to the opposed side of it. So here we have to enhance the dark values with a darker pencil and this will also give the drawing a broader range of values. Since it is a second layer of graphite and the highlight is more defined, I prefer to work with the blending stump because it is more accurate than the tissue. Here, I'm adding more of the intermediate tones working with the B pencil. To erase the graphite that is around the droplet I will use this thicker stick eraser and as I mentioned earlier, I like to chamfer its tip to gain more accuracy when using it. So with a utility knife, we are able to cut it a little bit and eraserthe graphite out of the borders. On this area we are going to see a cast shadow. So with an H pencil I add a base layer of graphite to be blended with a blending stump and tissue. Using a lighter pencil helps you to have more control over what you are drawing, especially because shadows have blurred boundaries. They are not delimited by sharp lines. So a lighter pencil allows you to work on the gradients we see on its limits. Your blending stump must be clean whenever working on light areas. Otherwise it can smudge your drawing. Clean its tip using a sandpaper or even a common scrap piece of paper to remove the excess of graphite. Tissue can also be used, but more carefully, since the area is smaller. And later you can switch to a darker pencil to continue to work on the gradient. After using pencils on this bright area, I get the eraser to remove any lines that possibly invaded the drop. Here, I just wanted to expand the darkest area a bit. So I'm working again with that 3B pencil and doing the last adjustments with the tissue and blending stump to get a smooth look. So the last touches are done with the eraser to finish it off. and I hope you enjoyed drawing this water drop with me. See ya! 5. Intro to Drop 2: I hope you did well in your first drawing here in this class. Now we're going to draw a water drop that is just a little bit more complex. And the difference is going to be its irregular shape. I believe it's a great chance to practice what you learned in the previous video and to get more experience with drawing. Let's get it started. 6. Water Drop Level 2: Hi, welcome to this video. The first thing to do here is to place your drawing on the paper. I mean, to determine the position of the water drop within the borders of the paper. I want to place it on the center. So I decided where the top of the drop was going to be measuring the distance using the pencil and repeating the same distance below. This is how I centralize the drawing on the vertical axis. Later, I drew this imaginary vertical axis in the halfway between left and right sides just trusting my eyes. You can use a ruler if you want to be sure you are really drawing on the middle of the paper using an H pencil we are now able to start sketching. Here it is just a matter of observing its shape and trying to be precise when drawing these lines. Try to keep your drawing clean. You can draw some lines very gently as I'm doing here and later you can use the eraser to eliminate any excess of lines you eventually trace. As I finished, I got the kneaded eraser to lightien the contour line and make it almost invisible. This is going to be just a guideline to limit the area you're going to work on. Now I got a B pencil to do the contour line more carefully. For having a more refined look. You can vary the thickness of your trace by changing the way the point of your pencil touches the paper surface. Before starting to shade, I wanted to define the shape of the highlights, gently tracing with the H pencil. I'm not really drawing the contour line, but only short traces instead as a mini shading. Here is the shading part itself. Starting with a B pencil as a first graphite layer, I'm going to use the tissue later to blend it. The better is the refinement of the shading, the more realistic the water drop will be. A little stain appeared when I was shading so I had to correct that with the eraser. The work with the tissue can be complemented by the blending stump if you feel like. As you get more experienced, you'll understand the difference between both tools. Now I am adding a second layer on, still using the same B pencil to increase the darkness and consequently the contrast. In going further on pushing the dark values, I took a 3B pencil. Now I am concentrating more on both sides of the drop to render a more three-dimensional effect, it enhances its volume. So I keep using the 3B pencil and as usual, I'll also blend the graphite on those areas. Later, I will get the eraser to remove the graphite beyond the edges of the water drop and I will come back to the highlights. The graphite powder always escapes (if he can say this way), it escapes to areas around the point we are working on. So I usually feel it is necessary to retouch the highlights with an eraser if they are bright or intense. So I tried here not only to use the stick eraser, but also the pencil eraser, which is a bit more aggressive and rough in my opinion. Here, I started the cast shadow and as you can see with a hard pencil and later using the tissue to blend it. There is a small light spot under the water drop, so I shade around that area. Later I got the B pencil to darken it little by little. Let's take a look. Here a thinner blending stump works better. So take it if you have one. Also the eraser will be useful to retouch some highlights once again. Okay, here I am putting my signature as if I had finished, but well, I wanted to adjust some little things before considering it finished, so... that happens. But that's it. Please share your water drop with me here on the platform. See ya! 7. Intro to Drop 3: Now we're going to draw our third water drop, which I consider slightly more difficult than the previous one, but I'm sure you will nail it. It is another opportunity to practice a little before we dive into the latest and more challenging drawing. Let's take a look. 8. Water Drop Level 3: Hi, welcome to this new tutorial. And in this video we are going to draw a more abstract water drop. I'm starting here this sketch with an H pencil as usual and later, I'll also include some details we see inside the drop. I like to outline down the initial sketch, especially the details that have more extreme values. That is the lightest and the darkest details we see there. Those intermediate details will be included later. Using the intermediate pencil grades and using blending stump as well whenever we need smooth transitions to create all those gradients that are so common in this subject. Here I am preparing those black stains present in the water drop, but not yet using the darkest pencil but an intermediate. In this case a B pencil because I want to prepare the first layer and still have some precision, since it is harder than a 3B, which I'm going to use later. I'll also use the blending stump to have an even look. Now I am starting the shading, which corresponds to the layer that is underneath everything. I am already concerned about the general values, so I'm paying attention to a gradient that starts from the left side and gradually becomes lighter as we move to the right side. I will also shade the surface where the water drop is because later I'm going to blend it out at the same time with the tissue. Using the blending stump, we can work more on these gradients and it works here because it still has some graphite on it. You can take from the darkest areas of the drawing itself. Rubbing it there a little bit and apply that graphite on other areas. The blending stump is really handy here because this thing requires some smoothness that this tool can provide. The B pencil is another tool that is going to be really useful because I think it is the best choice here for doing the intermediate values, according to this specific reference. You will see the tissue in action again, but in a more controlled way. Here, I got the 3B pencil to finally add the darkest tones of the drawing. And this dark graphite will need to be blended too. Anyway, I will keep using 3B and B pencils depending on the values I want to achieve. Let's watch the process with attention. Here I am working on the surrounding area and on the shadow, starting with a lighter pencil once again, blending with tissue and blending stump and then repeating the process with a darker pencil. As we go further, we will focus more on the details, drawing more carefully and still using B and 3B pencils. This video is a bit short, but it doesn't mean I finished this drawing faster. I just didn't want to keep repeating the same instructions, okay? The stick eraser is responsible for the highlights and it should have its tip chamfered to be able to do the most delicate and thinnest light reflections. If you left the areas of the brightest reflections blank, then you will be able to recover the original lightness of the paper you're drawing on. After the last adjustments, if you correctly followed the steps I showed, you can consider your job done. Hopefully drawing this water drop was fun and you improved your skills with my instructions. Thanks for watching this video! 9. Intro to Tracing Methods: Before we finally start with our final project, I want to show you three different tracing methods you can use whenever you have to draw more tricky references. Of course, you can keep drawing free hand and it's better to do so if you feel confident. However, these methods are convenient. If you're having some trouble, especially with portraits and references with too many details or complex patterns. So let's watch the following videos and pick one of these methods for tracing our last drawing, but only if you want, of course. Choosing it depends on your tools and on your personal preference. 10. Light Table Method: Hi. In this video, I will show you the tracing method I know as light table. The best way to use this method is having a light table indeed, but it's not necessary. In fact, I don't have one. I'm using my laptop screen. If you have a light source and any transparent surface like a glass table or window, you just have to print the reference and use it for tracing. In my case, since I'm using my laptop as a light table, I fixed my paper sheet on auxiliary pieces of paper so as not to glue my laptop screen. Be careful so as not to damage your monitor, if you decide to use it for tracing, as I'm doing. Before fixing the paper, turn the brightness of your screen to its maximum intensity. And when you are ready, turn out the lights of your room. When tracing the more details you get the better in my opinion, don't rush in this step. Turn on the light sometimes just to check if everything is going well. And that's it. Pretty simple, isn't it? 11. Grid Method: Hello and welcome to this video. Now I'm going to show you the grid method for tracing your drawings, and it is nothing complicated. The first step is to divide your reference in rows and columns and then do the same on the paper you use to draw. The reference and the drawing sheet doesn't have to be in the same size, but the proportion must be kept. For example, this reference has its four sides in the same dimension. It is a square, and so must be your drawing, be it bigger or smaller. I chose to divide the reference in four rows and columns. You can add more of them, but don't overdo it. This method also helps you to practice your observation skills. But only if you don't divide your reference in too many tiny squares. I'm using here a dark pencil, but it's better to pick a lighter one. I chose this pencil only for didactic reasons. If I chose a H pencil, for example, you probably wouldn't be able to see these lines clearly. Anyway, we don't want to see these lines on the finished drawing and we will need to erase them. So it is better to get a lighter pencil. Now to trace your drawing, I recommend you observe where the grid lines are crossing the essential parts of your reference. In this case, I want to start tracing the water drop so I see where it touches the grid lines and I transfer it to my drawing. You will notice it is easier to start with the longest lines. It crosses the grid lines more often and then you'll have more reference points. I said it helps you to practice your ability to observe because you still have some work to do with drawing what is inside each area. That means there is some freehand drawing using this method, the grid just makes it much easier. As I also said, you just have to erase the grid lines as you finish to trace and you are now ready to kick-start your drawing. 12. Transfer Method: In this video, we are going to learn how to trace by transferring the lines from our reference using a graphite sheet prepared by yourself. So you will need the reference printed in the size you want your drawing to be; a common sheet of paper and the paper you're going to draw on. I am using here a piece of Lana Bristol paper. Take a piece of common paper to prepare your graphite sheet. The first thing to do is to fill that paper with graphite. Pick your darkest graphite pencil. For this step, I am using an 8B pencil here. You can trace using the side of its lead to have more contact with the paper and make the process faster. You can turn your paper in 90 degrees and repeat the previous step to get a more regular result. And to get an even more uniform look and have a more efficient graphite sheet use a tissue to blend the graphite. Just to review I'm folding here a piece of toilet paper in triangles folding it three times as you can see. I like also to fold its tip to better see what I am blending. Here I'm just repeating the process to get a darker graphite sheet. I prefer it a bit darker because I really want to see the traces during the process. After we finish, we can lighten the lines using kneaded eraser. Now we are going to fix the reference on the drawing paper. I glued two pieces of tape on the top side of the reference. It is important to do so to prevent the reference from moving while you are tracing. Then you lay the graphite sheet with the graphite side facing down between the reference and the drawing surface. And finally we start to trace. I am using a red ballpoint pen here. We can trace using a pencil, a pen, an embossing tool or anything that has a hard tip, I picked out a red pen because it lets me keep track of the process and know where I have already traced. Take your time to outline down your drawing. Don't rush here because the preliminary sketch is going to determine what it will look like at the end. You don't have to trace all the details we see on the photo, but just enough to prevent you from getting lost later. And that's it. This is the transfer tracing method. 13. Water Drop Final Challenge: Hi, welcome to this video. And now we're going to draw this water drop I consider way more challenging than the others I shared. However, you don't have to be afraid because it isn't much more difficult, but it takes more time instead and you'll need more patience. You can of course go through this drawing from start to finish at once in just one day, but I personally split the process in separate chunks and take breaks between them. So I may finish a drawing in days. This drawing specifically took me seven hours. I'm just telling you this to let you have an idea on how long it may take and recommend you not to rush. It is better not to count the time you spent on it. It's not a race and I'm sure you'll do a better drawing if you just let it flow. Okay. After this brief disclaimer, let's get right into it. I started the shading on the background, but I stopped it for a while, just to darken some lines of the sketch. Those lines tends disappear as we work on the shading. So I wanted to be sure I wasn't going to lose them. Here I am working on the background, which is going to be very dark, but it isn't plain black. There is a kind of a dark gradient here. Since I'm drawing on a very smooth paper, this process takes longer even if I start with my darkest pencils. You can start with a 3B here, for example, just to feel how it goes and gradually switch to darker pencils. The darkest pencil I'm going to use here is an 8B. And yes, I will be blending with tissue as well, also rubbing it onto other areas to create that gradient effect. Where the tones are not too dark I use a lighter pencil and this one is the 3B. I'm not going to trace there on the top right corner of the composition. We will leave it empty and later use the tissue to darken that area a little. I will spend some time on the background, but I don't have much more to say. So let's watch the process and you will find out how to do it. By the way, I applied some masking tape on the margins because I wanted a white margin for this drawing. It looks nice if the general values of your composition are very dark. But obviously your drawing doesn't have to have margins. Anyway, these references will be available here on the platform to be downloaded exactly in the same size I used for this drawing. So check it out later. After adding a first layer of graphite also on the ground, I started to draw those stains that appear blurred on the reference. This is more of an abstract drawing and I am more worried about recreating the general effect, instead of focusing on every single stains separately. Start with a dark pencil, a 3B, or even darker, because you are going to use the tissue a lot on this area, which will help to darken everything, but it will also undo the stains a little bit. And I'll come back and redo these stains many times until I reach the values I want. To gain more precision, you can switch to the 3B pencil use the blending stump. Darker pencils are also rougher, so to render a smooth effect I use harder pencils as well and then a 3B pencil is useful here. Here you will be seeing me doing and redoing this area until I achieve the general tones of the reference. It took me quite a while, so don't rush when you are doing it on your drawing, especially if you are using a smooth paper like mine. Smooth papers are awesome for details and are my favorite, but the con is the fact that they require more effort to get dark. Moving to the water drop, I suppose you were looking forward to drawing, I will start it off by using the tissue, getting a bit of the graphite from a dark area and rubbing it on the middle of the drop. So I can easily have my first gray graphite layer. Right after that, I will mark the highlights using my stick erasers. Firstly, the thicker one for the largest highlights and later switching to the thinner one. Now I'm going to draw all those abstract forms I see in this drop and the process consists in doing circular motions with the pencil and blending stymps to imitate those things we see in this area. Now, it is a matter of observing more attentively the shapes and their relative tones. Switching the pencil whenever you feel it is necessary. So sometimes you'll be seeing the 3B pencil, later the 6B or 8B pencil, but you don't have to use the same pencils I use, but rather observing the tomes and trying to reproduce them with the tools you have. You can achieve similar results using different pencils because the way we use them is more important than the tools themselves. So here I will be showing more than talking. Let's watch it. I want to point out the fact that the highlights aren't always done by the eraser. and I'm not only talking about the large white areas, but also some narrow white lines spread throughout the top half of the water drop. Not all of them are plain white. There is also some tone variation on them. So tissue and blending stump are great for making their effect more real and more appealing. I left them gray and later I will come back with the eraser to highlight some specific points inside those areas. Some stains visible on the lower side of the drop are better done using only the blending stump because they are noticeably light and delicate. Just touching with the stump may be enough and it will look great. Another great role for the blending stump is to blur some highlight borders. I love this effect. And here, I'm using the eraser for enhancing the whiteness in some highlights. As I told you, I was going to do. This water drop did take time. Remember I'm skipping some minutes here in the video so as not to bore you, okay? Okay, here drawing the ant. and I recommend starting by using the eraser for those super thin white reflections on it and only later you draw the dark parts. I say that because the eraser doesn't have much precision, but the pencil does. So you do the thinnest highlights you can with the eraser and later you will be able to adjust them with the pencil. I chose the 3B for its thin paws a harder pencil works better when you want precision. And for the bigger dark areas a 6 or 8B pencil will do. There is also some reflected lights on the ground. And this is where the eraser works better. That is, on the mid tones. If there is already too dark, it gets difficult to erase. And if the area is light gray, maybe the eraser won't make much difference. However, in the latter scenario it depends on the reference. Maybe you need just delicate touch on a light grey surface. Before finishing, I will be retouching the ground and now I have a better notion of the values. After finishing the water drop, it becomes easier to understand the general values as you go further in the process. If you applied tape to your drawing, be careful when you remove it and do it slowly so as not to ruin the paper surface. So guys, the tutorial ends here. That's it for todaya and I hope you have learned something from this class, the tips were useful and I expect you are now drawing better than you did before watching these videos and drawing along with me. Thank you so much for enrolling into this class, and I'm looking forward to seeing you in the next ones. Bye-bye! 14. Conclusion: As I said, I really hope this class helped you improve your drawing skills and motivated you to keep drawing more and more. Don't forget to share your drawings on the projects section I'll be checking the posts whenever I can and you can also engage with the community. Thank you so much for watching this class, and I hope to see you in future ones. See ya!