Making Marks – 5 Line and Other Marks

The object of this exercise was to draw lots of 5 cm squares in my sketchbook and fill them using pencils and pens practise several different marks in each square, thinking about intensity, texture, smoothness, pattern, length and repetition.

Now after reading the words ‘practise several different marks in each square’ there was a danger of either turning this exercise into another ‘Doodling’ exercise or making the squares look like swatches for a textile course. I wanted to avoid both so I looked a few different existing OCA Drawing 1 blogs to see how others had tackled this exercise.

The benefits of other students having their blogs online is that you can see how others have gone about completing each exercise, the drawbacks of this is that one can go look at someone’s blog and then feel a little bit restricted for risk of going too close to someone else’s work; but then it does force uniqueness or at least it did with me.

The materials I used for this exercise were, pencil, coloured pencil, bic, water soluble pencil, solid graphite pencil and graphite sticks as well as charcoal, Chinese ink, nip pens, marker, whiteboard marker, ArtLiner drawing pens and Chinese white pencil.

Line and Other Marks, Pencil, Bic and Colour Pencil
Pencil, Bic and Colour Pencil

I found that I used the HB pencil a lot until I came out of my comfort zone, it’s a tool that’s easy to rub out if I’m not happy with what I’ve done but then I realised at this stage I should allow for going overboard or getting sloppy as it is those little mishaps that will help me ‘learn’. I also found that I kept going back to shading and the hardest part of this exercise was trying not to repeat anything I had done in earlier exercises.

As I tried to move onto different media I kept realising that there were still other marks that I could do with pencil. Holding the pencil in different ways and at different angles gave me different effects, holding it in a writing position I created smooth, strong lines while holding it at the end gave me uncontrolled, sometimes smooth but then sometimes rough lines, depending on the direction I took.

Creating patterns through repetition was not only great for conveying a feeling of depth but was a good transition point to help me to move on to using other media, otherwise I could have been there all day (just a figure of speech, this actually took me three evenings).

Pencil, Drawing Pen, Charcoal, Graphite, Nib Pens and Ink

With the size of the squares (just 5 cm) I spent a lot of time practising on large sheets of paper not having the confidence to go straight into my sketchbook with the softer mediums such as charcoal and the messier mediums like ink.

Nib Pens – This time I had a lot more confidence with nib pens knowing exactly how much ink to put on them and how to ‘put pen to paper’ and what direction is best with each nib to give me different lines. I used two different nibs, 1 Italic which was nice and smooth and 1 very fine nib which was very scratchy and didn’t feel that comfortable with but it was great for doing the Khmer style marks in the third photo.

Trying New Media

Too be honest I wasn’t that eager to move onto other mediums, but once I did, I really started to enjoy myself. I was limited to what I had, it might take me forever to find a descent quill in Bangkok, but a walk in the communal garden on the 5th floor got me a leaf and a stick.

The new media I used for this were watercolour pens, water soluble coloured pencils, water soluble graphite pencils, coffee, drawing ink, hard pastels, oil pastels as well as wax crayon, solid graphite sticks, UHU glue, liquid paper and a Derwent Chinese white pencil. I also used several different drawing tools including a scrunched up tissue, nib pens, a stick, a leaf, a toothbrush and a straight razor plus a couple of new techniques such as drip drawing and washing over several of the new mediums with water and a fine brush.

Trying Other Media, Glue, Leaf, Stick and Straight Razor

It took me a good few squares to really get into this but my hunger for new mediums really started when I drew with the stick dipped in Chinese Ink, with just one stroke of the stick I made both thick strong lines and thin whipping lines which were both chaotic and rhythmic.

I had the idea of washing coffee over UHU glue while I was at  the gym for some strange reason but I’m glad I did. I could have created many different patterns by doing this and practised a few times on large sheets of paper but the easiest one given the size of the square was the swirl which created a wonderful blended effect.

123 uhu
Coffee washed over UHU glue with a fine brush

Even after practising on large sheets of paper when it came to repeating it in the squares on my sketchbook I still messed up. The solution to this was either cut the successful practise from my large sheets and glue it into the squares or to try and make something else of it. When I tried brushing sideways with the toothbrush dipped in drawing ink I got nothing but a large dark grey surface, determined to get something out of this I attacked the surface with a straight razor. The result of this was very raw but it is something I can use later.

Pastels, Coffeee, Watercolour pen, Cotton Bud and Wax Crayon

I got some great results washing ink over wax crayon and in some ways it looked like the negative of a drip drawing which I also successfully pulled off in both ink and coffee.

I also really enjoyed the watercolour pens that I have been using as felt tips which gave me some great oil type patterns when drawn with on a wet surface, and drawing with liquid paper over mixed coloured felt tip lines produced very dramatic white lines.