Skillshare Live: Whimsical Sun and Moon Illustrations | Amarilys Henderson | Skillshare

Skillshare Live: Whimsical Sun and Moon Illustrations

Amarilys Henderson, Watercolor Illustrator, Design Thinker

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9 Lessons (50m) View My Notes
    • 1. Introduction

      1:50
    • 2. Color Schemes

      4:59
    • 3. Design Elements

      2:27
    • 4. Large Shapes

      11:04
    • 5. Medium Forms

      9:57
    • 6. Small Motifs

      5:13
    • 7. Mixed Media Details

      5:55
    • 8. Q&A

      6:42
    • 9. Final Thoughts

      2:16
15 students are watching this class

About This Class

Practice creating playful characters using simple techniques in this class with illustrator Amarilys Henderson. 

You don’t have to know super advanced techniques or use complicated approaches to create incredible art. In this class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—you’ll explore how much creativity and variety can come out of the simplest shapes and colors by illustrating a sun and moon pair with Amarilys. 

To start, she'll walk you through choosing a limited color palette that still pops, and then explain the design motifs (aka, simple shapes) you can use to build up your characters. Then, you’ll dive into designing your characters! Amarilys will be painting right alongside you, but you’re encouraged to follow your own inspiration and style to create something uniquely your own. While she’ll be working with watercolor (and a bit of mixed media), these principles apply across artistic mediums, so gather whatever art supplies you have and get ready to dream up some creative celestial beings.

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Ultimately, this is a great class for artists of all ages and experience levels. You’ll finish with a cute sun and moon pair inspired by art deco illustrations and vintage children’s books, along with a set of tools that will help you stop overthinking your creative process and just get started! Along the way, students who participated in the live class were able to ask questions, so you’ll learn even more about Amarilys’ process and inspiration. 

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While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: What I love about teaching this is that we're going to get to see everyone's styles show through. You can take the same ideas, the same principles, and work them in different ways and come up with something very personal and very unique. I'm Amarilys Henderson, I'm a watercolor artists. I illustrate children's books and my art gets to end up on products too. As a surface designer, I focus on making things beautiful and adding their value with just a few brushstrokes. In today's class, we are going to be painting suns and moons, we're going to work with simple shapes drawn from some of the greats in mid-century arch that we so love and still are learning from to build up something that's truly whimsical and unique. I want us to paint together, so take out your art supplies. I'm going be using watercolor paints and I will also be bringing in some pasta paint markers. You can also use other mediums because the ideas that we'll be teaching are really translatable into different medium. I provided a couple of [inaudible] its just to help you kind of guide you through the process, but I want this to be fun and laid back. I hope that after taking this class you feel refreshed, that you realize that you don't have to think about it so much, we don't need to overthink our creative process. It will come we just need to start. This class was recorded live and I got to interact with the audience as I was painting. I'm excited that you're here to paint with me, to visit me in my studio, and let's get to paint and start doing some suns and moons. 2. Color Schemes: Hi everyone. My name is Tiffany Chow and I work on Skillshare community team. I will be your host for today's live class with top teacher Amarilys Henderson. Why don't you tell us a little bit about what students can expect to be doing with you today? The reason why I wanted to paint suns and moons with you guys today, Skillshare graciously gave me the opportunity to do that. For one, I wanted to do something that was simple, that everyone could just jump in and also what's great about that simplicity which draws so much from mid-century art that I really enjoy the look of, is that you can also have a lot of different expressions of style and I'm really excited to see what everybody does. I do want to say that you don't need to follow me step-by-step, paintbrush stroke by paintbrush stroke, you do you. I'm just going to guide you through that process. Without further ado, why don't we get started? Before we start painting, we're going to talk color schemes and look at some color options before we select exactly what we want to use. I am not one given to color scheming very often because I love all the colors and that's hard when people call it limited color scheme. It's also difficult with watercolor because if you wanted this particular shade of this color, you're not going to be able to maintain it because there's so many variables with watercolor paint, how much water, did it mix with something else on the palette. All that. What I do is I start with a color scheme and then I move on from there. But it is helpful, especially if you're just really trying to not go for that rainbow bright look every single time. Here I have a color wheel that I created with scraps of paper. One of my favorite color schemes is split complementary color scheme. I'm going to begin by explaining a triad. It basically just means three colors and they are aligned in a triangle. We also have our complimentary colors across from each other. This feels like a Gorky. We've got red and green, that's always a great place to start. If you don't know how to arrange your color wheel, always go with Christmas colors and then move on from there. But whether you split complementary scheme, we are going to let's say if we begin with red, instead of going to green, we choose a two colors surrounding its direct compliment. Then these two colors provide the part that the green provides to the red, but it's more of a subtle stylish way to go about it. With our suns and moons, I'm going to start using a limited color scheme like this. I did a few last night using these three, this split complementary using blue violet, red violet and yellow. You can get a feel for it, especially the pink comes out with the red violet which I love. Those are some examples and it helps to make no matter how many you do to have a cohesive look obviously because you're using the same colors over and over again. You're just inverting they're importance, so that the sun and the moon have that contrasts of warm and cool while they still have those colors in common. One of the printable that you got was this little sample sheet. I printed it at half a sheet because my printer can only use photo paper well. It just gives you some examples, something to go off of so you don't have to do too much thinking. If you want to use them that would be great. Your colors on your palette are probably going to look pretty different from what you see on your page but it'll still work because it's still the same theory. Just totally off the cuff, I'm going to choose a color scheme. I thought about doing this a lot of times but I was like no, it'll be fun to just do it right then and there. While I was painting, I realized that I missed red orange so I know I definitely want to have that one because I like that color. What's funny is that that introduces a color that I hardly ever use, which is a true green and a true blue. Are they going like that? I'm just going to get my [inaudible] challenge for that. You choose your three colors. That shall be the side. They are so pretty, I'm not going to use them. 3. Design Elements: Next, I want to talk you through some of the shapes and design elements we'll be using today. What we're going to do is we're really going to exploit color motifs. In this handout, we see how we're going to start with big shapes, being the big circle of the sun and bigger triangles coming out or whatever. Then, you have your medium forms or mini set forming of a face on our center moon, and then, the very fun and essential last step of small motifs. For that last step, I'm going to work with Posca paint markers, which you'd really enjoy. There's something about changing your medium right at the end even if it's just to use, let's say opaque white or a gel pen or ink. It just takes you from taking one medium and pushing it as far as you can to bringing in another medium with just a fresh take. You can continue to work in watercolor for this third set. I just wanted to warn you and tell you why I'm doing that. I'm going to show you just a couple of pieces before we get going. You may have seen this on my Instagram at some point, when I was really heavy into what I basically call watercolor playgrounds. What watercolor playgrounds is, it's a class, you're on Skillshare, you can find it on my profile, is that we begin with some really big shapes. Then, we just keep building and really just draw from design principles and things that we already know about shape and color and line, things like that to pull a piece together and not really know where it's going to land. I found them to be so freeing creatively. I also didn't think I could do that because I would see other people do abstract or non-objective work and I stuck to a more literal illustrative styles. I was really excited to see that I could. With these pieces, you'll notice that I went from watercolor to gouache using some black paint color, and then some opaque white, but it's just basically the same system. If you want to take it more step-by-step and paint with me, you can take that class later. Let's get started. 4. Large Shapes: Now we're going to start our pair our Sun and Moon by laying down some large shapes that I cut out. Some sheets of paper I like to use a square simply because then it's easy to know what a circle looks like without bringing out my compass and making it look balanced. Lets get to work. I'm going to talk about brushes now because that's what I'm reaching for. What I'm going to use is this flat brush. I find that it's really easy to create a circle with a flat brush because you really are using more of your wrist. Than trying to say take a pointy brush and draw perfectly. There's something about using that arm as a rig that'll help you out. I'm going to take out two of these and I must just do one Sun and Moon another pair, with the three colors I chose which I'm a little nervous about but I think it's healthy for people to have to see me sweat and work through it because I'm right there with you. It feels new to me when I am working on something that I'm a little unfamiliar with. I don't know why I do that to myself or I'm just say. All right, with my flat brushing which is actually, a size 12, I'm just going to pull from one of my colors. I said that I really liked that red, orange. I'm going to make that my dominant color since I'm real crazy about the green. A lot of you loved green. I just haven't come around quite yet. I can do a yellow green and a blue green, but a true green is a little tough for me. I'm swirling around, I want to keep this color light because we're building up right. Obvious choice, a circle, letting my brush get dryer as I radiates out of there, out of the center. What's great about having this on its own sheet is I can flip it around. Hope now it looks a little squirty now that I look at it from this angle and a little squished from one side, maybe I'll make it a little taller that way and that's good now. All right, with this other one I'm actually going to do the opposite I'm to going to paint the negative space. It's going to be a little trickier. As I start painting the outside, I'm going to make this bigger in case, when I screwed up or needed to edit my circle, I got bigger with this one it'll get smaller as I self correct and create a more accurate circle. From there with a wet brush just extending the colors more. Typically, I'll make the one with this colored background, the Moon one and the Sun be the one on my left is just a circle with a white background. You can do it however you want I've actually done it both ways and it does work just fine. I tell students when they're painting to work on more than one piece at a time. Particularly since I like working wet. The reason I like working wet is one, you don't have to blend colors, they blend themselves, which is huge. If you've ever worked with acrylic or oils, you work pretty hard to blend those colors together with watercolor if you leave it wet enough and you let those colors kind of butt up against each other, they will do all right for you. I take full advantage of that. Another advantage is that while this is drying I can set it aside and move on to this guy. As we're still in the big shapes phase. I'm going to start to get quieter because my head's going to get progressively closer and closer to my painting. As I'm thinking through things and just for fun, I am going to stick to the square brush. Notice that both of these brushes are size 12. This one's almost twice as big as this. When people ask me, "what brush are you using?" I couldn't tell you but don't [inaudible] not real friendly that way, company to company and if you ever go shopping you'll understand that you're quilts aren't always the same size. We're going to move on to a new shape. I've got my little cheat sheet here if I have any ideas; how about a triangle?. I know it's typical for a sun, but I'm going to add a series of triangles and I like to use my brush from every angle that I can. I'm not really just going to try to use it the way that I guess conventionally you would think while scraping it this way. I like that I can use it vertically, something that I learned in Chinese painting. The way that you hold your brush vertically from your paper is very important. Of course, it's a little tricky I've got to move my hand more to make sure that I fill in all those spots. An easier way to make sure I don't end up with a squished little triangle here at the end is that I'm going to work directly across from it. We can tell it my circle is already not perfectly placed and I'm okay with that. It look okay with that. I hope you guys are enjoying this part because it's the fluid. I don't know where this is going part and you should be feeling that way. Everybody feels that way when we start painting. All right, I've got my two, east and west and I'm going to do north and south again just so I don't end up with an odd number, because don't you hate it when you go all the way around. Then you have this one. It's either going to be a really big shape to compensate with the space left behind or it's going to be a really tiny too. I'm just trying to avoid that without having to use math, critical. I'm realizing that since I'm getting really reddish with my one color choice so far and I haven't switched it up at all but we still have a few steps left to do, no worries there. We are going to have two. It almost feels like frosting a cake [inaudible] and then flipping it around feels like that to. All right, while that dries what am I going to do? I'm going to go into the other one. Let's make some space here. We can make some space like that. All right, for the moon, I'm going to go straight to my cool color, [inaudible] moony, moon light and instead of outlining a shape like I did with the triangles, I'm going to try my best to. 5. Medium Forms: Nice, you can start to add some playful forms with these medium size shapes. Here we go. I'm going to bring in the blue into the sun. I can't say I'm not real crazy with my triangles. They're looking a little sloppy. I think what I'm going to do is I'm going to switch brushes again. I promise I'm only going to use three. This is my third. This is a four, round. It's a detailer brush, a detailer brush should be even smaller, but that's how we're going to use it for a small point. Now when I'm shopping for a brush, I really don't look at brands so much. The most common question I get is regarding supplies and freshly brushes. This is a master's touch brand from the Hobby Lobby. They're not high end. But I'm always looking at the point. A lot of times you'll see a round brush with advertised that aren't real pointy. But if they're very, very pointy, like I say, this one. I'm always a little leery, just because they put a touch of glue or something like it, to make it look that way. If you can, I prefer to buy brushes that aren't in packs, so that I can touch a more little bit and see if that is a living artificial tip or if we're really talking a nice tip. The tip is important because that means that the brush can go as small as the very tip, or as wide as the width of the hairs as you push them down. I wasn't planning on doing that but, it looks like a 3D effect going thin on one side and thicker on the other. Will try that. I'm going to stay away from this little guy, he's still wet. Always moving around. I started about having a lazy Susan here underneath me, when I paint on of those trade that spins around for you, but I think that would drive me bankers. I am deciding to go big on both sides. I feel like I'm losing that classic, the little goldenberg 1950s. When I make it one side thin, that's the look that I still love. I'm angling to lamp brush so that the pointy side is on the outside edge cause that'll give me the amora fine edge. But let's say if I did it this way, the edge is going to be a little raspy, which is sometimes fun. But that's where all the hairs of the brush was playing out. Do you see that? Let me make it look a little bit closer. Zoom in a little bit. But I think you understand the principle that you, if you want a sharp edge, we want to use the very sharp brush. Let say you want it from the outside or I'll do three strokes trying to clear that up, and I got time on a schedule. Let's start working on the face. So something that I can say, lets give this moon kind of a shadow look, now like it. I'm going give our sun a mountain can't do that and talk. Our sun just little crescent around, but I'm not going make it a triangle. Just thick line, I'm always looking for ways to bring unity to a piece by doing the same but the breath. It'll be fun on these darker parts where the blue is. So later come in with a marker and bring light on top of the dark. So that's another reason to love using paint markers at the end. I'm going to give him another cheek isn't the way, its so wet and let's give them now. So when we're thinking about proportions, fortunately with these guys, it just doesn't matter too much. You know, we're not talking about a human face. So, just do whichever facial feature helps ground you. For me, it is typically the eyes, which means I'm going to really want to do the eyes. Now I'm ready. That helps me kind of lay in the other parts a lot faster. My expressive little faces, class codes into it the proportion for the face are more in depth. Once you get it's really exciting. Then amazing you put eyes on something and suddenly it's like a thing, it's like a personality. My red orange retaining little mouth, it will be a big mouth going to make you cute, cute with a big nose. How's that? Cute? How do use a Green? I'm going a little yellow green. Going wild with color is a little bit of attention. You don't want to go to Sesame Street, let's say. But we do want to have fun with it. A little creases on my advise. So drawing on some of those shape ideas from that middle section and loved the half circles that tend to be neurons to organic shapes. Meaning they're not hard edged. I'm a little cleft in his chin. Well, I'm going to stick to that green, mark in it. For the challenge will do. This might be my last set of shapes here in the second step of medium-sized states before I transitioned markers, at least in regard to this little sun guy, adding in some triangles. The reason why I'm doing that is because the outline I did, it feels a little too structured. I always want something that makes it reminds you that this is handmade, little off or event overlay colors on each other like dry blue, over the dry red and dry green. It feels a little bit like early printing presses that would sometimes offset the colors as they're going one-by-one. Those little nuances that you notice in the work that you like. That's what you copy, that's what you draw from. Maybe not the subject matter or the reference picture, but some colors, some little details. When you're looking at other peoples work, really stare at it, looked like one of those people that know what they're doing when they're at an art gallery and staring at a painting. I'll look for a little clues as to what it is that you like that you're kind of reacting to in this painting. 6. Small Motifs: Next, we can do some small motifs to give our faces some character and some added details. How about we give the sun some freckles? I would think logically that a sun that gets a lot of sun is going to end up with some freckles. Make sense to me. He's so cute. Yay. He can pull off a big nose. I'm going to go to my moon. Whether you're following along or not I hope that what I'm offering is helpful to you, even if you're not on that particular step. I'm air drying. I don't know if you ever do that. With my brush with an idea for the eyes. I'm still doing a half circle but this time they're hollow. I did notice that I tend to do sleeping moons which makes sense, but just to change it up a bit. I'm going to echo these freckles with a few craters instead. I was also drawn to the idea of doing suns and moons, just because they are so different from each other, yet they compliment each other, they work together. I think that there's a lot to learn, and we can learn from that. Let me give our moon a big nose too. This time I'm going to make it just a line. [inaudible]. To connect the lines, the eyebrows down to the nose, these tend to be shadows over simplified with just a line. We have a question from the audience, "Did you mention which brand you're painting with now?" Sure. This is the Mijello Mission Gold. When I talk about them, I tend to not want to drop the gold because then it sounds like I'm talking about a color choice. It's not the color. I really just geek out a bit, I love the vibrancy, the viscosity of the paints and if you go to their website, just Google, Mijello, M-I-J-E-L-L-O, mission, or Mijello watercolor paints. They are a little pricey, but they will send you free samples. If you're interested, I believe they're still doing that. They will send you a few samples. You don't get to pick which colors but it's a nice little surprise in the mail. Thank you. Great tip. I think I'm going to have to give moon dude some teeth because of the red mouth. It's a little creepy. I'm going to give him some stars about him. To do this I start from the center and flick outward. Don't flick too heavily, you will splatter, which might not be a terrible thing either but if you didn't expect it, I don't want you to get mad at me. I'm going to give him eyeballs. Last year I broke my pinky. I realized how much I use it as an easel when I'm painting. I couldn't flick out my easel anymore it just touched a wet area. That pinky keeps me from doing that. It's all fine now. It's good. It healed. I'm wrapping up my watercolor time and I'm going to go to marker time. I feel like I've pushed this far enough. Yeah, I could keep going but also for the sake of time and I'm eager to see what the paint markers will add. 7. Mixed Media Details: Finally, I'm going to pull in some other materials to add some finishing touches. These are pasta paint markers, widely used by a lot of the artists that I also enjoy looking at. I'm sure that if you guys are in Instagram, this is no surprise to you. I want to throw in this peachy pink, which is actually a lite version of red, orange vermillion, and I didn't love how his mouth turned out. So I'm going to bring in white. I've not found the markers to work that gray with white, it's like a white layer, but not an opaque white. This is copic white. What I really like about this is the container. I don't have to put it on a pallet. It's like painting my nails all over again, and I can just use it straight from the applicator. It's probably not recommended simply because you don't want to mix whatever chemicals you have on your painting with your paint. But that's just how I roll. I like them much better. We turn around. Just to get warmed up, I like to just do simple little shapes, simple little motifs, doing circles within those triangles all around. Since that red and that green looks so good together, I'll go ahead and try that again. Learning from my own experience. [inaudible]. A question from Denise in the audience: are you using the smaller pasta markers or the larger one? I have a variety here. For the purpose of this size, I'm using the medium and the smallest with that red third is smallest ones. This is the 0.15 and this is the 0.9. So basically one and 1.5 or one and half. There's another jumbo one. There's only one other size that I'm aware of, and it's this one. You'll all know it when you see it. This is 1.8. I gave him a little eyelid, that always helps and our little eyeliner for me goes a long way. Why not for our sun, and one thing that I've really enjoyed and to really give it that fifties flare is radiating lines which I feel like are just almost critical with the sun, and then topping them with a circle. I'm sure you've seen those retro clocks better like that. Here's our sun. Then Mr. Moon, with eyeliner too. See he just looks so much more relaxed. Little corners of the mouth because that mouth does not look legit. Now it looks a little more real, and around here I'm going to do the same shapes. Those macaroni noodles with just a hollow outline. Doesn't this look like the kids book your parents had or something? I did my weird new to me color scheme. They're both very different, but still using the same colors, same motifs, really similar. This looks a little chubby. 8. Q&A: Now lets open it up to the audience for some questions. We're getting some great questions here. You mentioned getting some inspiration for those little golden books that we all probably grew up with. Where else did you find inspiration for your work? Well, for one, I will say that working on my little stack of children's books over here. If my setup we're not so precarious, I would just show you. But I'm not going to move this iPad. My favorite book is I Can Fly by Mary Blair and my sister in law got me a vintage copy. It's still on sale. I have one that you can find now. But this one has more spreads in it. I just feel like you can look at any spread and see a little surprise. For instance, I don't know, like the swirls of the water turn into the swirls of the sand and it guides your eye around, the umbrellas almost look like beach balls. She's buried in the sand. You only need to see the limbs, its just so cute and kiddish. Just little things that you would only noticed like this lady who has the towel over her head. You would only notice from observation. I definitely do draw a lot from children's books. Here's a Ezra Jack Keats, Snowy Day, Charlie Harper. You're starting to see a theme, I think. Bright colors and really exploiting the most that you can out of shapes like that koala is a half circle with a square on top. There you go. It's a Koala. How cool is that? Other than these, I'd like everyone else look at Instagram. A lot of other surface designers. There was someone I discovered recently. Oh actually, I've been enjoying quilters a lot. Quilt fabric designers and just the idea of compiling different colors and designs into something. When I was in college and I went to art school, Savannah College of Art design. I was working mostly in collage, cutting up magazine papers and doing portraits with them. At that time I also thought that watercolor was so uncool. I went with cut paper. I really appreciate juxtaposing a lot of different patterns and textures. A free spirit is a fine quilting fabric company. I did work with paintbrush studios. They are also a quilting company out of fabric quilt clock works. It seems a little unlikely and talk about quilting, but maybe not. I mean, look at how I'm dressed., so I'd say I got inspiration from those quite a bit. Yet, I find that it's not about finding new things that I'm really excited about. It's going back to the old things and analyzing what is it that I really like and I'll follow that thread and see that this is a pattern. This is typical of me. Of course, I also do enjoy watching the abstract series on Netflix where you see so many different artists of different types. There's a few questions around colors. Do you always start with like choosing a color palette like you did with the wheel at the beginning of this class or do sometimes your guide. Then what are your favorite colors to work with. Definitely not green. I tend to go with my guide, you're right. Not much green. But teaching on my guide is not real helpful. But, you start with what you like. Even when you're creating a color palette from whatever, like you've got your color wheel out and you're really technically find the perfect combination. You always start with one that you really like and then you go from there. If to answer the third part of that question, I tend to fall back on opera pink and turquoise quite a bit. When I pull those in and, some red orange, some yellow orange, it becomes something that I spiral through and usually end up with a super colorful piece. But I would say to begin there and then what's going to be the color that sets this off. When we were looking at our color wheel, we were looking at the direct compliment. But that would be really jarring. Again, Christmas colors, red and green, yellow and purple, blue and orange. It's just like it's a little bit too much for them to be, especially the main colors. I begin with what I like, but then I shift it a little bit. Then I've got something that will make the color that I love, serve it, pop it. Then after that, then you're really trying to find something that's a little bit of a middle ground that they can play with and sewing with. I also like using the Pantone app on my phone. If there's a picture on Instagram like flowers or something. I'm just like, that looks really great and there just this bouquet of flowers. Why do I love this bouquet of flowers more than this one. I'll put it in my Pantone app and it'll tell me the colors within it, the Pantone swatches. I work with Pantone swatches at time. But it's so nice because it'll take this piece and it will show me little bubbles of like call-outs, blue, green, orange. In my weekly e-mail newsletter from my website, I'm going through actually a color scheming series because I too I'm retroactively looking at what is it that a typically do to know which color to use. You can sign up if you want to on my website. 9. Final Thoughts: I hope you guys are happy with your final sun and moon. I hope this isn't your last sun and moon. I hope you keep painting them and see all the possibilities in just changing a few colors, your shapes. You'll find that just like me, we could keep doing this for a while. I think we talked a lot about color and that's huge because it's something that you can use everywhere and are constantly needing to learn with/ alongside/ from. I have been painting for as long as I can remember, and I'm still learning about color combinations, which is pretty amazing. Another thing that I would love for folks to take away is the power of small motifs and simple shapes. I think that we're always looking for the musing that's going to set it off and look amazing and sometimes it's the simplest thing, just well-placed. If you go in order, just like in watercolor, we go from light to dark, big shapes to small shapes using those same principles and tightening it at the end. Realizing that at that half to two-thirds point, you're about ready to give up, that's pretty normal to keep working through that and you'll find that you'll be proud of what you did and stick to it til the end to see it through. Do post your project in the project area, we want to see the diversity of all the faces, all the suns and moons, all the styles that we have in our Skillshare community. For more exploration into this style of art, I encourage you to check out Chasing Mary here on Skillshare in my profile. You'll also find Expressive Little Faces if you want some more cues on how to build a face, and of course, Watercolor Playground is going to help you loosen up and paint more like this, where you are really enjoying the process and then come away with something brilliant and beautiful, I hope. It's been fun teaching you guys and I hope that you guys got more out of it than I did, if that's possible. Bye.