Hi All, I've done some digging and have started sketching. Here's an outline of my process: My plan is to follow three unrelated ideas and see where they lead. Then I'll pick one to develop. I have no preconditions on subject or materials - I'm leaving myself wide open. I have a file of text and image clippings I'm building on the computer. Periodically I'll print it out and start thinking with a pencil. Make a few observations and get an idea where the next steps might be. For sketching I'm using a Conté charcoal pencil on a pad of large newsprint. I have a kneaded eraser for minimal cleanup, otherwise I ignore it. That way I don't have to worry about getting precious with my sketch or the materials. It's newsprint! I can be free, loose and make as much of a mess as I want. To begin with, I delved into the obvious. Pope + travel threw up an interesting fact about Pope John Paul II: " Pope John Paul II travelled more miles as pope than all his predecessors combined, and as a result he was seen—in person—by more people than anyone else in history. He travelled approximately 721,052 miles, the equivalent of approximately 31 trips around the circumference of the Earth." Then I found an image of Pope Francis, whom I admire, climbing the stairs to his plane. My favorite theme is water, light and vastness. So this first iteration is a sketch of Pope Francis walking to the edge of an infinity pool, about to step into space. Named Francis, and a demonstrably compassionate man, I have a squirrel perched on his shoulder and birds, fish and butterflies following him into the vastness of the Hubble field of galaxies. In my next post I will throw out some interesting information I found out about Alexander Pope and we'll see where that goes. He was a character.