Mark Making

(Part 2/Ideas/Mark making)

Exercise – Mark Making

I have made some ‘Ink’ with strong instant coffee and drawn a landscape using a quill feather (both ends). This has been done on a piece of A3 green card.

Having done this, I have now decided to use the butterfly below as my subject for the exercise.

As a working artist and with an HNC in fine art I have done the mark making exercise many many times.

Over the last few years my favoured medium for picture making has been acrylic paint on canvas.

If I need to draw it is usually with a pencil although I prefer the finished effect of using a drawing pen (not pen and real ink).

I have most of the items suggested for a tool box so in the interest of completing this project I will try something completely different.

This butterfly was drawn on brown paper, slight;y creased after earlier use.

I drew with charcoal and highlighted with white chalk. I decided to leave the red parts uncoloured. I think it portrays the delicacy of the insect quite well.

I used a finger to smudge the charcoal and chalk and kept it simple.


This butterfly is drawn and coloured with pastels.

It is on hard surface blue card.

I smudged the colours a little to try to get the surface of the butterfly more authentic.

I tried smudging with a finger but found a paint brush more useful.
The finished effect seems a bit ‘flat’.

This butterfly was drawn with a Sharpie pen on a sheet of professional tracing paper.

The surface of the paper is very hard and almost glazed. The Sharpie pen was one of the few ‘drawing sticks’ which would [produce a good line on it.

Because it is translucent, the picture is visible from both sides.

It was very satisfying to draw a perfect line on this paper but it was very less suitable for ‘colouring in’ other than in a solid block style.

This butterfly was drawn, with difficulty on pale blue tissue paper.

It was drawn and coloured with a set of children’s plastic crayons.

They are similar to wax crayons but not quite so vibrant and cleaner to use.

Colour blending worked well but the paper tore if too much pressure was applied.

This butterfly has been painted on a sheet of high gloss photographic paper – much stronger than the tissue.

It is painted with oil paint (I only have one tube and the one colour, it was once bought in error).

I painted it undiluted with a stiff brush so have been able to recreate the texture of the wings a bit. Needing some fine lines , I turned the brush around and  scratched them with the end of the brush.

This butterfly has been created by using the point of a bradawl on the smooth side of a sheet of corrugated cardboard.

The whole drawing is purely textural there is not line or colour at all.

It does suggest the ephemerality of the butterfly and is almost like a permanent shadow which has been left on the sheet.

This delicate butterfly is on shiny gold card.

I looked around for a different sort of stick to draw with and found a a silver marker pen.

All the lines appear transparent which gives it the delicate appearance. The silver colour did not show up on the hard surface and I did wonder if the ink would actually dry but it did.

I left this drawing just as an outline to look lacy. The background, being gold is very prominent so a filled-in shape would be fighting for attention.

This butterfly is on fluorescent green poster paper with a fairly hard coated finish.

I found a different kind of pen for this and used a fluorescent pink highlighter. I expected it to show up a bit better but because the ‘Ink’ is transparent the green changes its colour.

It turned out red and doesn’t look very inspiring – one of the less interesting butterflies.

This butterfly is on textured paper.
I used a sheet of kitchen roll.

It was difficult to draw on but because it absorbed the ink the lines have a nice soft finish as befits a butterfly.

A dot was more than enough to make a mark much of the time. To attempt any filling in would have been to spoil the lightness of the image.

It has echoes of leaded windows or wrought iron tracery.

This butterfly is a bit different as no drawing sticks were involved.

The shape was drawn with a tube of Copydex glue. I then threw on the first lot of glitter. When that was dry I applied other colours in turn.

I was limited on colours as the glitter was left over from a child’s play set and there was hardly any left.

Nevertheless it is a different approach to drawing and has created a pleasing little butterfly in fancy dress.

The background is also very interesting. It is an A4 sheet of craft ‘paper’ made of black polystyrene. Most paints and markers would have been difficult to use on it.