I probably shouldn’t consider it such a huge deal, but I do. Every year I have the unique privilege of teaching some eager graphic design students the rigors of vector drawing. Drawing primitive shapes (circles, rectangles, polygons) with geometric precision doesn’t present many challenges, but the crucible for most recruits lies with learning the notorious pen tool. I can lecture, demonstrate and share war stories, but in the end nothing will teach them how to use this indispensable tool faster than practice, practice and more practice. After drilling them on some routine vector drawing exercises I can usually assess how well they grasp the basic concepts they’ve been taught. It might be hokey, but I almost want to invest in some embroidered merit badges emblazoned with the pen tool, so that when they reach that pinnacle moment of achievement – drawing efficient vector paths with prime point placement, articulation and accuracy – I can present it to each of them as a milestone accomplishment.