To those non-artist-type people out there, the "pen tool" does not function like an actual pen. It makes solid curved and straight lines, yes, but it does it with vector-style. That's right, your lines are made out of math, not pixels. You set an anchor point (start here!) and drag around this bar, on the end of which are these little dots. Those dots attract the line like a magnet, so when you make a second anchor point, the line that connects the two anchor points curves toward the little dots that are connected to said points. As you can imagine, this gets a little tricky. The pen tool is extremely intimidating to most newbies, especially me. On the first day of class, I realized I could avoid the dreaded pen tool no more and whimpered "Only wizards and perhaps dragons can use the pen tool!" — humour to poke fun at my own apprehension and feelings. I've repeated this line several times over the last few weeks, so it has become the class's nerdy ironic phrase. Maybe I'll leave a legacy in my wake.
Anyhow, I was doing roughs for my first assignment, and I ended up with the following. I'm actually proud of it. It's cryptic, attractive, and nerdy. Surprisingly, it took only fifteen minutes to crank out, too! Maybe I'll go back and actually make a non-rough version, all pretty and stuff.
Ironically, I had to use the pen tool to make that giant crappy pen tool icon. XD