Lecture Notes - Direct Mark Making By Hand

Artists have been making marks cense the beginning of mans assent to a language-oriented bean. You can clearly see this throughout the history of art starting with cave paintings, though the brush strokes of the Impressions. However marks as the total sum, subject and narrative of the creative process of painting and drawing came into is own with the abstract expressionist. Today mark making is still a pure form of the artist unique self-expression of the communicative process. Below you will find some examples of master artist marks in Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Richard Serra, Henry Matisse and Brice Marden. You should spend some time exploring the mark making language these and other artist.

The way I like student to start thinking about marks is by having them right there signature over and over on very large piece drawing paper with different drawing materials. Or I have the class just begin to doodle making random marks and gestures using various drawing materials. I collect the signatures papers or the doodles and display them. The class then explores how there is clearly already a unique set of mark and of gestures for each person. This demonstrates that each of us already has a unique set of marks and gestures that that we have been using must of our lives. See students doodles figure 1 - 3

Each persons unique marks (doodles), gesture or signature are the foundation of a mark making language, that can become an individual language of expression of "self" in drawing and painting. It is important to explore and grow this vocabulary of makes constantly working to expand your language and add to it. As you begin this mark-making journey you will soon discover your core of makes, these are the ones you have had from childhood, the ones you see in doodles or signatures. These makes are innate, in muscle memory and should be embraced and expanded upon. This is your core, do not try to change it, or abandon it, only add to it so that eventually you will have a fully relished mark making language of your own that you can call upon when in the creative process. The larger your language the greater your ability to express yourself in a unique manner.

Understand that makes can be made in a verity of way and with a verity of medium, objects, computers, mechanical devices, tools, etc. I will explore some of these mark making techniques in an other lesson.

Examples of students doodle mark making.

Mark Making Draiwing Lesson

Figure 1 - Unknown Student, Doodle Mark Making Exercise - Charcoal stick / graphite Pencil / Paper / Cut and reassembled

Drawing Lesson Mark Making

Figure 1 - Fran Zweiben - Student, Doodle Mark Making Exercise - Charcoal / acrylic markers / paper, 14" x 16"

Art Lecture Mark Making Drawing

Figure 2 - Margo Karney - Student, Doodle Mark Making Exercise – Acrylic markers / paper, 14" x 16"


Examples of direct mark making by the artist hand

Mark Making Drawing Lesson - Edward Burkewing Lesoo

Edward A. Burke, "Marks 01" Acrylic Marker / Paper 14" x 16"

Cy Twombly “Note II,� 2005-07. / Acrylic on wood panel 96� x 144�

Cy Twombly "Note II," 2005-07. / Acrylic on wood panel 96" x 144"

Jackson Pollock – Dripped Enamel Paint Drawing

Jackson Pollock Dripped Enamel Paint Drawing

Richard Serra – Oil Stick drawing

Richard Serra Oil Stick drawing

Henry Matisse – Graphite

Henry Matisse Graphite Drawing