Part 1b Mark Making continued

More mark-making

In my last post I got as far as pens and pencils; here I have delved deeper into the corners of my art room to experiment further with mark-making:

Coloured pencils

Coloured Pencils

This square contains a bit of a doodle with some Faber-Castel Polychromos  and Carbothello coloured pencils.  Both brands are very soft and very waxy which makes them good for blending.  although this cartridge paper is relatively smooth, the resulting marks are really quite grainy.  for portraiture, coloured pencils need some heavy blending with either blending stumps or pencil blenders.  (Unless of course you want the grainy look) I have also used spirit based blending fluid previously which slightly melts the wax and allows layers to be built up to create a glossy look.

Toothbrush splattered acrylic ink on watercolour paper

Toothbrush splattered acylic ink

This took me back to school days ;0)

I have some acrylic ink that I sometimes use for wildlife  portraits.  Later in this exercise I used watercolour ink and was surprised at the difference between the two.

Acrylic ink is much more viscous; almost ‘plasticcy’ in feel an as a result give an opaque look when it’s dry.  However the result is quite pleasing; may be good for use in backgrounds.  I can imagine masking out an area and then splattering the background – particularly in watercolours – to create a busy but diffuse backdrop for an image.

Watercolour ink on watercolour paper blown with a straw

Acylic Ink blown with a straw

I realised that I labelled this wrongly in my sketchbook.  This is watercolour ink.  I used both inks on watercolour paper as I thought it would hold the ink better than cartridge paper.

I painted a few lines with it, tried some cross-hatching, then decided to see what happened if I blew with a straw.  I don’t like this square as I think the colour is very gordy and the lines are too thick.


Pastel pencils on watercolour paper

Pastel pencils on watercolour paper

I normally use pastels on velour, so I wanted to see what would happen on watercolour paper.

Again the roughness of the surface makes for a very textured result.  Would be good for wood, rust or brickwork.  Blending with a stump blends the background but still leaves the initial rough marks.  The yellowy bit was blended by introducing water.



Toothbrush splattered acrylic ink overlaid with watercolour ink
blown with a straw

Acrylic and watercolour ink

I find it interesting that I like this square, but not the other straw blown ink.

It may be that this result is much finer.  Not sure how I discovered this but if you shake your head while blowing through the straw the ‘fronds’ that are blown become much finer.

I like the layered look too where the watercolour ink, which is much thinner and transparent lays over the acrylic ink.


Ink and nib calligraphy dip pen

Dip pen and ink

Finally I tried a dip pen with some red-brown ink.  The pen was very scratchy and not at all a pleasure to work with ;0$

The ink also tends to bleed into the cartridge paper.

When I sprayed the page with fixative to fix the previous pages pencil work the Biro in ran into the top of it, which might be a good idea for a future experiment.


As a result of my experiments here are three of the larger experimental pieces:

Doodle no. 1

Looking at this I might have been influenced by my new aquarium ;0)

It certainly has a sort of fishy, aquamarine feel to it. I spent quite a bit of time on this piece adding in details.  I like the vibrancy of the fineliners for the detail combined with the looseness of the charcoal.

Doodle No 1

Doodle no. 2

Couldn’t resist a bit of straw blown ink.  this piece has a frenetic, chaotic feel to it. The fronds almost look startled.  This took all of 5 mins before I wanted to move on from it.

Doodle No 2

Doodle no. 3

This is a blend of pastel sticks and pencils, fineliners and stencils.  I think it has a bit of a space type feel to it.  I like the grainyness of the pastel combined with the definate shapes and marks of the fineliners.  I also like the multiple shapes getting smaller or larger, it gives a feel of movement or drifting.

Doodle No. 3

Doodle No.4

I like the vibrancy again in this doodle.  It was one where I pretty much drifted away and started to draw whatever cam into my head inspired by what was around me.  This included looking out into the garden, seeing patterns in fabric and abstract shapes from partially visible images on magazine covers.

Doodle No. 4

My thoughts on mark-making

I loved this area.  It gave me time to experiment.  It’s not  a thing you normally do when you are trying to finish commissions and there also is a feeling of naughtyness in terms of ‘wasting’ paper and materials.  I discovered I am one of those artists who likes, used to like, sketchbooks to have ‘finished’ sketches in them. Very sad for an artist, I know….

…but now I am happy to just doodle and see what happens.

I have found a love for charcoal that I didn’t realise I had, so I plan to try out some still lifes in charcoal later in the course.

I also fancy trying an abstract piece using very vibrant colours with organic shapes as an inspiration.  I love the pea-pod type shapes that appeared in doodle 1 in the ‘mouth’ of the ‘fish-head’ shape.



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