Sunday, 7 March 2010

Lines & Other Marks

This was an interesting exercise using different media and experimenting with different grips and pressures.  The pencil, graphitint and charcoal worked best when varying the pressure on the paper and you could achieve some really nice graduated shading and variation.  The drawing pens worked ok but as soon as you tried to achieve a light pressure, the pen stopped making marks on the page.  The promarker felt tips worked the least well achieving virtually no variation at all when applying less pressure.    It was also difficult to achieve the same depth of colour and precision when holding the media more loosely.  The charcoal pencil didn't work as well sideways but I think this was because it needed sharpening, a charcoal stick would be more successful.

I found the exercise useful in determining the best techniques for different effects and look forward to trying this out on some projects.


I was surprised at how much I enjoyed working with the charcoal stick.  I really like the depth of shading you can achieve through using different amounts of pressure.  The sharp lines provide a good contrast to the softer shading and the overall effect is very pleasing.

I look forward to working with this medium when more precise markings are required and seeing how this works out.

More Doodling & Mark-Marking

I decided to attempt doodling within a smaller area and the first box shows the results using a thick drawing pen.  I enjoyed the exercise and was pleased with the results, as l was able to put less thought into it.  I then decided to combine the doodling with specific marks and see what happened.  Because I was limiting myself to a specific type of material and mark, I felt able to be more free with it.  I liked the designs that came out of all 3 examples.

Example 1 - I used a Derwent Graphitint Pencil for this hatching style.  By applying the hatching randomly I enjoyed seeing the designs that emerged.  I found this illustration by Brian Gallagher in the March edition of Artists & Illustrators which I think displays how this technique can be used to great effect.

Example 2 - I used a Fine Drawing Pen and circular shapes for this example.  I began by creating swirls that were quite laboured and quickly found a looser style which I really enjoyed.  I found myself creating  circular shapes as well as ovals with the start point either centres or off-centred.  The image reminds me of fish eyes and I think this would be extremely effective in colour.

Example 3 - I used the Charcoal Pencil and a random wobby zig-zag approach.  I started on quite a linear approach but soon moved on to a more random placing of the marks.  I liked the effects which reminded me of wood grain and the charcoal worked well providing a variety of soft tones and darker marks.

In all examples I changed how I held the materials and noticed how you can create pleasing and more free effects when you hold the materials more loosely.  Likewise for more detailed areas you can achieve quite precise effects when you hold the materials firmly and with more precision.  Obviously, this precision is more difficult to achieve if you are working with larger materials ie pastels.  I think this is why I enjoyed working with the charcoal in pencil form.

Mark-making Techniques

Immediately I preferred the structure of this exercise compared to the doodling.  I found working in smaller boxes less intimidating and worked through the exercise quite quickly.  I noticed the different textures of the materials and could identify when certain materials could create more desirable effects.

My notes of the different materials;
  • Pencil - very forgiving, you are able to control the marks you make depending on the pressure you apply
  • Drawing Pen - definitely my favourite I love the looseness of it when you hold it lightly as well as it's ability to define and add texture
  • Felt Pen - I love the way it flows but find it clumsy to work with
  • Wax Crayon - I liked the feel of the crayon and liked the effects, but find it difficult to add detail
  • Pastel - difficult to control where you make the marks but a nice feeling of texture.  Difficult to create definition and can look 'muddy'
  • Charcoal Pencil - the pencil enabled me to control the marks which I liked and the versatility of both soft tones and detail.


I found the large blank sheet daunting and found it difficult to get going on this exercise.  I found myself wanting to follow rules and develop thought-out ideas and struggled to allow my mind to wander freely.  Once I had filled up some space I felt the pressure lift and was able to 'let go' more.  I particularly liked the graphite pencils and the way they flowed over the paper.  I was not so keen on the thicker drawing pen as I  found it too bold and precise.  I loved the fine drawing pen and how it created loose strokes and allowed me to add detail and create more dimension.  Interestingly, I didn't like the felt-tips on their own as they appeared too flat, but felt they were improved with the fine line detail.  I enjoyed using the charcoal as I think it can be very forgiving, although I need to get my head around the smudging!

Overall, I found the exercise more difficult than I had anticipated but I think that is because doodling is a sub-concious activity which I often do whilst on the phone, or thinking about other things.   Structured doodling suggests more thought involved than is actually necessary.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

First Day At School ...

Well, the course materials have arrived!  I'm now ploughing through the notes and getting myself organised and then I can jump right in!

Watch this space .....