Making Your Mark

makingmarksThis may come as a shock to some of you, but there is more than just one way to make a mark.  My trip to the OKC Zoo on Saturday had me trying out a Faber Castell pen.  I found it to be “scratchy” and lacking the ability to lay down a dynamic line.  But, sometimes that’s exactly what you’re looking for.  In comic illustration, for instance, that is exactly the kind of thing they want for outlining and hatching superheroes going “Ker-Pow!”

elephantI prefer the flexible nib of the brush pen, or even just a brush, because I rely heavily on the fluidity of the line to give me the shapes I am looking for.  Perhaps with more training and patience I will come to appreciate more the finer tipped pens.

A lot of times, however, I want to use watercolors to sketch with.  As a child of the 70’s and 80’s, my work is HEAVILY influenced by the artists with their ink and wash sketches, particularly those found in Highlights magazine.  Often, I don’t think a watercolor is complete until you have the shapes outlined.  For that you either need to sketch with the paint first and wait for it to dry before attempting to outline, or you need a waterproof ink.   The Faber Castell did outstanding in that area.  Better even than a sharpie, and those are supposed to be “permanent”.

Many people like to lay down the initial sketches with a graphite pencil.  I never liked that because the wax always seemed to show through in my finished product.  That is until I discovered watercolor pencils and watersoluble graphite.  These are great for laying down quick lines and then painting them away with your wash.  Of course, the downside is that they wash away when you need the outline. Or they’re gone with the first wash and you don’t have the marks to show your value map.  Again, I’m sure this is something that comes with practice.

21apr09iiI have been experimenting in my figure drawing group.  I started with oil pastels and have now tried them, charcoal, and a china marker.  So far, I like the china marker most.  It gives me a rich, dark line that I can vary with pressure, and I can go very light to get grayscales.  Plus it takes me back to pre-school and drawing with my crayons.

This week, I challenge you to experiment making marks with tools you wouldn’t normally choose.  If you normally use pencil, try pen and see what it’s like without the net of being able to erase.  If you normally use pen, try chalk or pastel and see what it’s like not being able to feel the paper as you mark.  And if you can’t really find anything you’ve not tried before, you can always break out your crayons.  And after, have a snack and a nap.

EDM 115: Draw something Green

EDM 115: Draw something Green

For the EDM 115, draw something green, I really had to think.  How do you make something look green when you are only drawing in graphite?  Of course the obvious answer is to draw something everyone knows is green like a plant, a shamrock, or *Maureen O’Hara’s gorgeous eyes.  I looked around and I found something that if you know what it is, you’ll definitely recognize as green.  If not, you’ll have to ask you friends who drink.

*Maureen O’Hara is the only woman who even comes close to competing with beauty of my bride.

0 thoughts on “Making Your Mark

  1. Inspired by someone we all know and love, I have started walking each day. On Tuesday as I was climbing up a very looooooong hill, this elephant kept popping into my mind. Not being knowledgeable in art, what I kept seeing was the kindness in its eyes and the happiness in the overall drawing. Its ears are out, tail and trunk are swinging in same direction, all of which make it look happy and gentle. Very simple drawing yet expressive.

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