Making marks 1: Exercise holding pens and pencils

Holding a pencil

Holding a pencil at the top I make frail, delicate marks. They are a little wobbly, I’m not entirely in control. The results are erratic.  By contrast holding my pencil close to the tip makes much bolder, stronger, controlled marks.

Making marks on a big piece of paper

I loved the freedom of this exercise and gained a real sense of pleasure in sweeping across the paper without worrying about the end result. I made strong flowing marks, stabbed at the paper and mixed and smudged in ways I don’t usually.

The exercise made me reflect on how liberating it is to simply make marks rather than aim to create a finished picture.  It made me appreciate the value of experimenting with no particular goal in mind except to see what happens and be surprised.

pencil-etcSoft and hard pencils; marker pen; charcoal; ink and brush
Strong lines create divisions and focal areas; erasing with the putty rubber creates interesting patterns on the charcoal. The black Quink ink bleeds and splits out into browns and yellows as it dries.

charcoalWillow charcoal (thick and thin pieces) and putty rubber
I can use the charcoal to make many different marks; broad sweeps using the whole stick, sharp edges, little ‘cotton reels’ by twisting a small piece against the paper. Smudging with fingers creates soft marks. Putty rubber lines and ‘blobs’ create a variety of patterns.



conteConté crayons, graphite pencil.
I can mix the colours on the paper with my fingers and create intricate patterns. Graphite pencil on top of the crayon creates an interesting matt/shiny finish – they feel good together.



graphiteGraphite pencil, marker pen, oil pastel, ink and brush.
 The graphite pencils blend, smudge and shine. The ink resisted the oil pastel and created pleasing patterns and textures.


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