Il faut aiguiser nos crayons


After Voltaire, who said: “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” (We must cultivate our garden) –

To this I add:

“Il faut aiguiser nos crayons”

(“We must sharpen our pencils*”)

[*I hope!]


First, literally. – ‘Start the day with a sharp pencil’ as I like to say. As an illustrator-draftsperson who’s interested in neatness and precision, get your pencils / tools / writing / working implements in good order. And maintain them, if you hope to proceed with the day in a frame of mind conducive to being productive.

Secondly, figuratively. – ‘Keep your tools in order.’ A tidy desk is a tidy mind, or something like that.
Personally I cannot stand chaos, nor can I tolerate a chaotic work environment. ‘Mess’ and ‘clutter’ is counterproductive to creativity (in my mind, at least). Have a system. Catalogue stuff. Know where things are. 

And thirdly, metaphorically. – ‘Sharpen up your act’. Practise and learn. Get your skills in shape. Brush up your skills and knowledge. Open your mind. Teach yourself. Know what’s going on. Stay informed. Life moves on apace, and so you’d better adapt and evolve… Know what you’re good at (no; more than this. – Know what you excel at), and then work the hardest you can at it, to become the best you can.

→ Mastery?!

Now go to it.


– Annie


[A note on pencils: This humble Staedtler HB 2 pencil is my favourite tool of all time. For one thing, I just have to look at it and it is pure nostalgia. It reminds me of the excitement and trepidation of starting school, aged 4! – when we were all given our own pencil just like this one. Its aesthetic charm…. its wasp-like black and yellow stripes, its little handy pink rubber on the end….the smell of wood shavings when you actually sharpen it….ahhhh! So simple. So inexpensive. So practical. From writing hurried notes to sketching….in an age when we can easily spend £850 on some fancy electronic gadget for doing the exact same thing, the humble pencil still remains my favourite thinking tool of choice.]


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