Pocket-Sized Creativity: Make Time for Art Despite a Busy Schedule | Ewa Kleszcz | Skillshare

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Pocket-Sized Creativity: Make Time for Art Despite a Busy Schedule

teacher avatar Ewa Kleszcz, illustellar | Find Bliss in Making Art

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

13 Lessons (41m)
    • 1. Introduction

      3:43
    • 2. Go Small

      2:34
    • 3. Prepare Your Backgrounds in Advance

      3:51
    • 4. Choose Your Pens

      1:59
    • 5. Stay Away from Your Sketchbook

      2:34
    • 6. Maximize Small Pockets of Time

      4:29
    • 7. So What Should You Create?

      1:34
    • 8. Go Bigger... from Time to Time

      5:28
    • 9. Be Prepared for Setbacks

      2:43
    • 10. Identify Your Roadblocks

      2:20
    • 11. Shift Your Mindset

      5:05
    • 12. To Share or Not to Share?

      2:20
    • 13. Stress-Free Class Project

      1:52
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About This Class

Do you consider the time to make art a luxury you can't afford in your busy life? Do you wish you could create on a regular basis, build your portfolio and perhaps turn your art into a career one day but you are overwhelmed by daily obligations and lack of inspiration? Do you simply have no energy to even think about adding another thing to your plate? 

Jumpstart your artistic journey with "pocket-sized creativity", a fun process I developed back in 2015 when I was trying to get back on track after years of barely touching the brush.

"Pocket-sized creativity" method will allow you to introduce art into your life in a stress-free and nondemanding way, whether you're an overworked professional or a busy stay-at-home mum.

 I'll help you to identify and remove the biggest roadblocks that prevent you from building a creative practice into your daily routine. You'll learn how to actually make time for doing what you love and I'll show you how to shift your mindset around creating your art.

 You'll discover how to maximize small pockets of time during your day and make more time for creativity, even if you think you don't have it!

  I’ll guide you through every step of the process and show you how to create pocket-sized masterpieces that will become building blocks of your entire creative career. 

 By the end of this class, you’ll have all the tools you need to start honing your skills, finding your style and putting together your portfolio - slowly and without pressure! 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Ewa Kleszcz

illustellar | Find Bliss in Making Art

Top Teacher

  

Hi there! My name is Ewa, and I'm an illustrator and embroidery artist in love with all things nature. 

Born and raised in a big city (Warsaw, Poland), I yearn to live by the ocean, and this longing for contact with the natural world is the leitmotif of my art. 

 

 

I love combining organic elements with geometry and I draw inspiration from the underwater world, plant life, cosmos, and Japanese patterns.

I’ve always been incorporating tons of details and intricate patterns into my drawings and lately, this practice translated to my embroidery, which consists of hundreds of french knots and other elaborate details.

This repetitive act of embellishing my art with copious dots, circles... See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hello and welcome to my second Skillshare class. Let me ask you something. Do you consider time to meet as a luxury you can't afford in your busy life? Do you wish you could create on a regular basis, build your portfolio and perhaps turn your art into a career one day but you're just too overwhelmed by daily obligations and lack of inspiration? Do you simply have no energy to even think about adding another project to your plate. If so jump start your artistic journey with Pocket Size Creativity. A fun process I developed back in 2015 when I was trying to get back to painting myself at the age of 33 after years of barely touching the brush. Hi, my name is Eva and I am a self taught artist and founder of Illustration and design [inaudible]. Nowadays, I make art almost every day and I engage myself in various creative endeavors. But it wasn't always like that. I always wanted to be an artist and yet I've chosen a completely different career path and for many years I hardly created anything. I always felt something was missing, but after years of artistic hiatus, I just couldn't bring myself to start making art on a regular basis again, I was creating in fits and stars and was discouraged by my lack of skills and progress. The breakthrough came in 2015 when I heard about 100 day project organized by a loner Instagram. The idea was to choose a topic and do something for 100 days straight. On a whim, I created an Instagram account and joint in. To my surprise, I actually managed to finish the project. But even though I was proud of that, the experience was overall pretty stressful, time consuming and frustrating. I was looking for a more sustainable solution suitable for someone who has still little time, energy, and motivation to make art every day and this is how Pocket-Sized Creativity Project was born. This method will allow you to introduce art into your life in a stress-free and non demanding way. Whether you are an overworked professional, busy, stay at home mom or you just suffer from Art [inaudible] and feel uninspired. There is never a good time to start anything so unless you deliberately take control over your creative journey, you will feel permanently stuck an unfulfilled. I will help you to identify and remove the biggest roadblocks that prevent you from building creative practice into your daily routine and I will show you how to shift your mindset around creating art. You will discover how to maximize small pockets of time during your day and make more time for creativity, even if you think you don't have it. I will guide you through every step of the process of creating pocket-sized masterpieces that will become building blocks of your entire creative career. By the end of this class, you will have all the tools you need to start honing your skills, finding your style, and putting together your portfolio slowly and without pressure. So let's get started. 2. Go Small: When you lack time and motivation to create art on a regular basis, or you're are trying to get back to it after a long break, it's unrealistic to think that you will just sit down and magically start producing full-size portfolio perfect paintings and illustrations or elaborate, refined patterns. The task will be just too big and you will get discouraged very quickly. You may also struggle with lack of ideas or skills required to get you where you want to be. In the beginning, focusing on small pocket-sized paintings and sketches is the best way to avoid feeling overwhelmed and slowly building creativity into your daily routine. This will allow you to explore different ideas without committing to them on a big scale. You will be able to take your mini-paintings with you everywhere you go and work on them whenever you have a chance. The pocket-sized format will let you finish your artwork quickly and give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. I still resort to this method every now and then when a day job starts taking too much of my time, or I want to carry on with the creative projects while traveling. For example, last year, I had the holiday trip plan to write in the middle of my 100-day project. I was creating geometric landscapes, galaxies, and patterns in hexagonal shapes. I knew I will not have time to develop full-sized hexagons during my stay in Italy. I prepared a bunch of mini-hexagons with backgrounds painted already, and I took them with me so I could have fun with embellishing them after sightseeing every day. Funny enough, a flatly photograph depicting a composition made out of these little hexes brought me more likes and engagement on Instagram than any of my previous photos. Sometimes going small is precisely what you need. 3. Prepare Your Backgrounds in Advance: Preparing large quantities of colorful backgrounds in advance lies at the core of the pocket-sized creativity method. Ready-made watercolor canvases can be a great antidote to a blank page paralysis and when you have only a couple of minutes here and there during your day, you don't want to waste it for struggling with lack of inspiration. Colorful, abstract blocks and washes give your brain a starting point and posterior creativity. What is more, preparing backgrounds in batches not only saves you time but also eliminates the problem of internal resistance you will probably feel if you had to bring out your paints and start from scratch every day. You can produce a month worth supply of ready-made canvases in less than an hour, and increase your chances of actually making art every day. The quickest method is to randomly cover a piece of paper with different colors and cut it into squares or rectangles after it dries. Here for the sake of the camera, I'm using a relatively small sheet of watercolor paper but you can purchase pretty big ones sold individually and prepare a lot of mini canvases in one go. If you have a little more time and you would like your paintings to have frames, you can cut the paper first, create borders with masking tape and fill individual backgrounds with different color combinations. A small surface will give you more control over the color blending. Last but not least, you can cut the paper and cover individual pieces with the watercolor on blobs or clouds without filling the whole background. If you don't like using water columns or we are so swamped with work that you have no time to sit and prepare some abstract watercolor backgrounds beforehand, you can use colored paper instead. The main thing here is to have a piece of paper ready to do the long and even a solid color layer will help you to avoid the blank white page syndrome. You can also recycle off magazines and cut some squares out of them. Here I used a blurry fashion photographs to create upstroke underwater compositions. In the next lesson, we'll talk about choosing pens and pencils for this project. 4. Choose Your Pens: You can use a variety of pens and pencils for creating your pocket sized art, but there are some things you have to take into consideration. First one is the color of your background. If you decide on a relatively light, solid color, or slightly transparent watercolor wash, black pens like these Microns or darker pens or pencils will work perfectly with it. On the other hand, if your background is dark and opaque, white or gold pens will provide a nicer contrast. Second thing is to know the limitations of your tools and anticipate any problems. For example, I primarily use this white acrylic marker because it's more opaque than any of the white gel pens I've tried. However, acrylic markers like this one tends to clog and dry pretty often on the tip, and you'll have to remove this tip, wash it under warm running water, let it dry and insert it back, so it can get pretty messy and you never know when you will have to do it. That's why I use this one when I'm at home, but they I will take the gel pen with me when I go out because it doesn't need any maintenance and you see exactly when you have to replace it with a new one. Likewise, you can use colored pencils in your projects, but you have to remember to carry your pencil sharpener with you at all times. Otherwise once the tip breaks, you won't be able to draw anything. An interesting alternative that allows you to bypass this problem is to use woodless Progresso pencils. They need sharpening from time to time, but they will last longer without it. If you are just looking for an easiest option to carry with you, I recommend black Micron pens and white gel pens of your choice. 5. Stay Away from Your Sketchbook: It is no coincidence that they encourage you to create art on separate pieces of paper. I actually believe that a sketchbook can do more harm than good when you first try to establish a regular creative routine. In theory, a sketchbook's supposed to be our playground, and a handy tool that allows us to paint whatever we want. In real life, it's a little bit more complicated than that. Over there you can see my collection of sketchbooks, note books, and journals. All of them are almost empty. Every day I buy a new one, I'm excited and full of hope and I know exactly what I'm going to do with it. But then my inner perfectionist wakes up, and I think to myself, what if I paint something ugly and I will ruin the whole schedule? What if my test won't be profound enough and I'm a waste of youthful journal. The prettier the sketchbook or journal, the bigger the fear. Just look at this one. Isn't it adorable? It's so precious. I'm petrified to start painting in it. Of course, I could buy a cheap, not so pretty sketchbook, but then I wouldn't feel inspired enough to create in it, so it's a catch 22 situation. An overly ambitious plan to keep a perfect Instagram flip-through worthy sketchbook can be a paralyzing factor. The other thing is to actually remember to take your sketchbook with you everywhere you go. It's so easy to leave it in your other bag by mistake or leave it at home just for today because the purse you want to take with you is too small for it to fit in. Here enters the pocket-size creativity methods in all its glory. When you have a lot of small backgrounds prepared in advance, you can tag them in many different places. Every book you read, every book and purse you own, every calendar or note book you use, glove compartment in your car. The best thing is you can always trim your backgrounds so it fits even in your wallet if you want to. Just make sure you keep your pens in all those possible places as well, and you're good to go in every situation. Doodling in a bathroom during a boring cocktail party. Why not? We'll talk more about this strategy in the next lesson. 6. Maximize Small Pockets of Time: How do you make time to create art when your schedule is full to the brim? First of all, let me assure you, I am never going to ask you to wake up an hour earlier to do that. Unless you're insanely motivated or you're an early riser already by nature or because you have kids, this will not be a viable solution for you, at least in the beginning. You will be so sleep deprived that you would just hit the snooze button and give up a date too. Don't get me wrong. Waking up at 5:00 AM is great idea overall, but becoming an early riser is one of the hardest habits to establish. If you're generally overwhelmed with your schedule and you will try to establish this habit along with the daily creative practice, this can be a recipe for disaster. On the other hand, if you are a night owl, you can feel tempted to stay awake way past your bedtime and create your art late at night. But this is not sustainable either, because you will be burning the candle at both ends. That's why I want to encourage you to maximize small pockets of time during the day, so that you can work on your art without sacrificing a good night sleep. How does it work? Imagine you are waiting in line at the post office, or you are sitting in a coffee shop and your friend is running late, or you're waiting in your car to pick up your kids after school, or there's a huge delay at your doctor's office, what do you do then? Perhaps you read a book or listen to a podcast, but most likely you're just scrolling. We're all guilty of that. But you would be surprised how much time you can free up for creating, if you embrace the concept of making art in between and grab a pen and paper every time you feel the urge to kill some time with smartphone. You might argue that creating in such conditions won't be convenient. But with background so small and already filled with colors and shapes, you can actually start doodling and adding patterns in almost every situation without overthinking it or waiting for inspiration to strike. You can do them on your lap and if all the seats are taken, you can use a window seal or any other flat space there is as a table. Time will pass quickly and you will have a sense of accomplishment that no amount of scrolling could ever give you. This feels weird in the beginning but soon you will treat it as a regular part of your life, and you will start noticing more and more situations that allow you to enjoy short periods of art making. Waiting for anything or anyone should be your cue to start drawing. Another argument against these methods might be that you are simply exhausted. You've had a long hard day at work and scrolling or watching Netflix is the only thing you're capable of. Well, guess what? Doodling on your couch can be actually relaxing and stress relieving. It can even energize you. I'm not asking you to create a timeless masterpiece of any sort. It's all about drawing something, anything, and getting your brain accustomed to a fact that this is an activity you enjoy and want to repeat as often as possible. Maximizing small pockets of time can actually increase your self-esteem and artistic confidence. You will feel more accomplished and fulfilled every day and you will be proud of the fact that you made the most of your time, instead of just letting it slip through your fingers. Five minutes while you drink your morning coffee, 12 minutes while you are waiting for your date to arrive, 20 minutes in a subway, if you are lucky enough to find a seat, 15 minutes after dinner. This adds up. Right now you are not creating art because you don't have an hour or two hours daily to do that, but who said you have to finish your drawing in one sitting? Give this method a try and you will be surprised with the results. 7. So What Should You Create?: Pocket-sized creativity methods should be treated as a warm-up. Develop this practice is to make a drawing a habit. The biggest mistake you could make is to hinder this process by setting the bar too high for yourself. Believe me, this is not the time to try a new hard skill or force yourself to learn to draw something you actually hate drawing. Let's say you want to illustrate children's books in the future, but you find drawing faces really hard and you don't have time to actually sit and learn the rules for it. If you try to tackle such hard topic after a long creative break, you will get discouraged really quickly because you won't be able to get the results you want fast. I would like to encourage you to go with the flow and explore the topics you are actually excited about. Unearth what you have already in you. What you know and what comes naturally to you. You love drawing leaves and flowers, great. Draw a ton of them. You prefer abstract patterns, awesome. Just doodle away. You like sketching cute monsters or animals, you go for it and let watercolor blobs on your backgrounds to guide you and inspire you. Just get used to creating on a regular basis, and I promise that when you will finally make it a habit, your skills will start growing exponentially. With the time, you will be able to learn a new technique or tackle difficult topic easier and with more confidence than ever before. 8. Go Bigger... from Time to Time: If your goal is to build a portfolio, take advantage of bigger blocks of time, the ones you intentionally plan for and the unexpected ones. Hopefully, once in a while, you will have several hours just for yourself, and in times like that, you can try and create a bigger, more refined piece of art work. The great thing is, all the many art works you've created before will make this task easier so you won't be wasting those precious moments trying to decide what to paint and staring at a blank page looking for inspiration. The process looks like this. Search through your many paintings from the last couple of weeks and decide on a topic, choose the motifs and patterns you like the most, plan and sketch the composition if you need, and start painting. You can also recreate or build up upon one mini drawing If you are excited with it. Remember that for your bigger pieces, you can use different medium than for the small ones. So here I have chosen several ocean inspired drawings I made back in 2015 and I decided on painting a bigger corral reef scene. I've prepared a moon shaped watercolor background and filled it with shapes and patterns I like the most building an entirely new composition. There you have it. A finished largest scale painting I can add to my illustration portfolio. 9. Be Prepared for Setbacks: When I started my pocket size creativity challenge in 2015, I ambitiously planned for it to be a yearly project. It sink like a crazy idea, but it was also exciting and I really wanted to get back on track and establish a regular creative routine. I've managed to complete 300 consecutive days when the real life caught up with me and I gave up just two months before the finish line. It seems ridiculous right now, but at the time I was struggling with an incredibly hard project at work. Although I wasn't happy about it, something just got to give. After several months, I decided to get back on the proverbial horse and participate in a 2017 addition of 100 day project. I felt more confident this time, so I chose a pretty time consuming digital painting technique. Little did I know that trying to pull this off, along with working my day job and organizing and overseeing major flatten innovation was another good idea. After several weeks I gave up and finished the project right after my flat was ready to move in again. On the other hand, my 2019 project went smoothly and was a huge success and I ended up creating art related to it for the whole year. In April 2019, I started my first 100 day project and I'm still going strong. I'm also launching an online star with my art prints in a couple of weeks. Why I'm I telling you all this? Because I want you to remember that we are only humans and we all have our ups and downs. Establishing a successful creative routine and building a career based on it takes time and patience, is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. Yes, you have to push yourself to grow, which also have to pace yourself. I didn't want you to get discouraged and disappointed every time when a family emergency or tap stretch at work prevents you from creating art for a while. The goodness is anytime it happens, getting back to making art will be easier. You won't be starting from scratch and you will be armed with all the tips and techniques you've learned in this class. What is more, you will remember just how good it feels to create on a regular basis. Don't be too hard on yourself and choose your projects wisely. When in doubt, get back to pocket-size format just to keep your creative just as flowing. Your body of work will grow steadily, and so will you, as an artist. 10. Identify Your Roadblocks: There are many obstacles that can prevent you from making art. Schedule overload, fear of failure, fear of criticism, lack of support, or excessive support, envy, perfectionism, lack of your own style, lack of skills you would like to have, or lack of creative ideas, to name only a few. Usually, creatives suffer from a mixture of these problems. But it's good to identify what bothers you the most and which experiences exactly contributed to your problems. Did someone harshly criticize your painting when you were in high school? Do you scroll through Instagram and Pinterest too much and only get frustrated because you would like to create similar cases but you know, you don't have the skills to do it yet? Are you easily discouraged when you try to learn a new technique and can't get the results you want right away? Are you unable to say no and take on too many responsibilities that leave you no time for your passions. For example, for me, it was a combination of excessive support, fear of failure, perfectionism, and lack of skills. I actually stepped away from making art as a teenager because my family, friends, and teachers all thought I should become an artist. Every one of my paintings was called brilliant and genius and pretty soon I was so paralyzed with everyone else's expectations and so scared that my next painting won't be as brilliant as the one before that I stopped taking risks and growing as an artist. Eventually I stopped creating altogether. After all, if you don't try, you can't fail. When I wanted to get back to making art 15 years later or so, I was frustrated by the fact that painting does not come naturally to me anymore and it's so hard to get the results I want. I had an acidic taste of an adult and yet my drawing skills left much to be desired. Identifying all the things that have been blocking you up until now is the first step to overcoming your creative inertia and finding courage, energy and motivation to make art a part of your life again. 11. Shift Your Mindset: Whether you want to move the needle in your artistic career, or you'd like to create regularly just because it gives you joy, you won't be able to overcome your obstacles and limiting beliefs if you won't change your attitude towards art creation. First of all, you need strong enough reasons to make art a vital part of your life, then you have to prepare yourself for a long [inaudible], and accept that there is no such thing as an overnight success. Be mindful of that, and you will avoid many pitfalls along the way. Here are some mindset shifts that helped me immensely when I was struggling with my own artistic roadblocks. Choose the ones that resonate with you the most, and start applying them in your life, and you will be amazed by the results. Number 1, making art is a habit. Regular creative practice is not aligned going to a gym, you don't expect to grow muscles or get perfect summer by the, after one workout session. Unfortunately, by the same token, you will not be able to find your style or learn a new technique or a billion portfolio if you want work on your art regularly and often. Whether you like it or not, persistence is the key here and when you accept this, I promise you your creativity will explode. Number 2, making time for art is a conscious decision as Debbie Millman, surely explained busy is a decision. If we say we are too busy, it is shorthand for not important enough. It means you would rather be doing something else that you consider more important and that I think could be sleep or it could be binge-watching your favorite show. The problem is this, if you let yourself off the hook for not doing something for any reason, you won't ever do it. Simply put, you don't find time to do something, you make the time to do things. Now, this was not a pleasant realization for a me, but once I recognized I was actually using busy as an excuse because I was too afraid and discouraged to start painting again. I suddenly became unstoppable and I started consciously choosing art over other things in my life. Number 3, making art is a form of self-care. Creativity can help you slow down, find your balance and reconnect with your true self. Start treating art as a form of self-care similar to healthy eating or exercising and realize it's equally essential to your well-being. Pamper yourself with art making sessions, however short they might be the same way you would pump yourself with bubble bath or another pleasant ritual of your choice. Put on some music, light a candle, and give yourself even a couple of minutes of such pleasure. Making art a regular part of her life will ultimately make you a happier, healthier person and you will have more energy for tackling other areas of your life. Number 4, the only person you should compete with is yourself. There's nothing more frustrating than seeing beautiful art that others create and realize you lack the skills required to make something at a similar level. It can be utterly disheartening and it can hinder your artistic growth or even make you quit altogether. It's a common experience though, and Ira Glass brilliantly explains how to deal with it. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste but there is this gap. For the first couple of years you makes stuff is just not that good, it's trying to be good, it has potential, but it's not. But your tastes the thing that gets changed to the game, is still killer and your taste is why you're work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. We know our work doesn't have this special thing that we wanted to have. We all go through this and if you are just starting out or we are selling this face again now, it's normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap and your work will be as good as your ambitions. Is going to take a while, it's normal to take a while, you just got to fight your way through. There will always be artists that are further than the roads than you are and the ones who wish they could do what you are doing so don't compare yourself to know one. The only person you should compete with is yourself. Number 5, just start. There is never a good time to start anything so unless you deliberately take control over your creative journey, you won't to get very far. Remember that what you focus on expands. Take tiny little steps each day towards your goals and you will achieve them sooner than you think. 12. To Share or Not to Share?: You might be wondering, should you make your pocket-size creative project public? Should you share it with your friends on social media and declare to everyone what you are trying to accomplish? The answer is, it depends on what motivates you. Extrinsic motivation involves doing something because you want to earn a reward or avoid punishment. You are driven by external factors, like positive comments, likes, and encouragement you get from your family, friends, and followers. This purpose you to move forward and go on with your project. In a way, by announcing new project publicly, let's say on Instagram, you potentially make the whole Internet your accountability buddy. You know that if you will give up, your fans will be disappointed and you want to avoid this unpleasant feeling. When you are intrinsically motivated, your behavior is propelled by the inner desire to do something for its own sake, just because you enjoy doing it. You don't need any external incentive to maintain discipline and achieve your goal. You probably think the second option is better, right? But there's absolutely nothing wrong with being driven by external factors. I've discovered that extrinsic motivation works better for me, that's why I keep participating in 100-day projects on Instagram. When I don't have an ongoing official project, I tend to get a little bit too lazy and it just slows down my growth. On the other hand, I know a lot of people who tried to do such project, but were too stressed out by the pressure of publishing art every day and sharing their plans with everybody. It felt paralyzing and actually hindered their creativity. So it's crucial to recognize which kind of motivation is relevant for you and make the most of this knowledge to set yourself up for success. If you're still not sure which way to go, I would like to offer you a safe space where you will be free from social media pressure and it enables to seek encouragement from other creativities. I will share the details with you in the next lesson. 13. Stress-Free Class Project: I know you're busy and overwhelmed. That's why I'm not going to ask you to create a specific finished piece of artwork for this class, however small it might be. Instead, I want you to turn the class project page in your personal artistic diary, treat it as an additional tool, a place where you can document your journey and share your wins and tough moments with me and other students going through the same process. First of all, just start and share a few words about yourself. Tell us about your struggles and aspirations. What is the biggest obstacle that prevents you from creating art on a regular basis? Have you already noticed small pockets of time in your daily routine you could actually take advantage of? Later on, you can add some photos of your first prepared per grants and tell us how they travel with you and where do you keep them. Share some snapshots of different places where you have found time to create. Make it a fun collage of your thoughts, work in progress photos, and finished many artworks that you can add to your project page anytime you like. Last but not least, you can take advantage of the discussion tab below to connect with other creatives taking the class, initiate conversations, seek and give support and share your experiences. I hope you found this class inspiring and it will help you to achieve your artistic dreams. I will root for you along the way and I will be there for you if you need me. Happy creating and see you next time.