Category Archives: Project 1 Making Marks

PROJECT 1 – Review


Have you ever thought about drawing in this way before?

The textiles diploma course I took many years ago did incorporate elements of the design development ideas given in the OCA course materials and I was remembering techniques as I worked, but I don’t think we ever did quite as much mark making in two years as I have done over the last couple of months.  I did not take art to exam level at school either, so a lot of the skills that other students may take for granted are new to me.  That is exciting and a bit scary at the same time.  I am enjoying it very much though, and definitely want to do more.

Were you able to be inventive about the range of marks you made?

I found using different tools for mark making exciting, like the chopsticks.  If you try and use them like a pen, dipping them into paint, I find it takes a while to get a line going but it is an effective outline.  When I dipped it in paint and then twisted it around as I marked the paper I found this produced a good effect, particularly useful for curved lines.   I found I enjoyed using my fingers for oval shapes and dots and cut sponges for printing blocks which gave a very good result.  I have done a few collages with paper from magazines and newspapers and find this effective and it is definitely worth working with different background papers and washes too.  Printing with bubble wrap to get a ‘pebbled’ effect was fun too.

Did you explore a wide range of media?

I find myself on an extremely limited budget for this course, but I am trying to source materials as I go and it is amazing what effects you can get using everyday things around the house.  Strong tea for background colour washes, the children’s old wax crayons, the treasure trove of Grandpa’s old art case have all been utilized so far.  Both my daughters are studying art at school and college and so I have ‘borrowed back’ acryclic and watercolour paints and brushes I bought them for their coursework.  I have experimented with chalks, oil pastel and charcoal sticks and pencils.  I have used brown parcel paper and envelopes, tissue, card, wallpaper and tea bags.   Both my husband and I being hoarders has proved useful and although my work room is a pickle, I keep coming across useful things to incorporate in my work.  I tried a little with bleach and inks but there are still more things I would like to try out, particularly plastics, foils and dyes.

Are you pleased with what you’ve done?  Will it help you to approach drawing more confidently?

Some of the pieces I am very happy with, particularly the red rose designs and the button collage images.  I also really like the brick prints using sponge blocks on black paper.  I am getting more confident slowly.  I have to fight my rigid brain to loosen up and not feel constrained by rules – there are no rules, surely!

Which exercise did you most enjoy working with?  Why?

I definitely feel more comfortable working with an initial image for development and I am trying to take a lot of photographs so that I have lots of inspiration to work from.  The last exercise making textural studies of earlier images was definitely a good experience.  It was interesting to go back and realise you can work an image again and still get more different ideas from the same original.

Which media did you enjoy working with?  Why?

I enjoy working with acrylic paint and brushes and my fingers.  The bold colours are more my style, although i do like working with watercolour for certain effects.  Obviously, with the acrylic you can use it thickly and scrape, scratch or impress into it which I like a lot.  I also like using it to print with and found this very effective in several images.  I also like working with paper collage and textures using paper and want to do more of this to get more highly textured results.

What other forms of mark making could you try?

I would definitely like to try the fixative transfer method, it appeals to my love of both papers and printing.  Also using other materials in collage: leaves and other natural items, plastics and other refuse products.

How will these exercises enrich your textile work in the future?

This project has been most enjoyable, although it has been very difficult restraining myself from getting out the needles and thread to reproduce some of the images I have been developing.  The exercises have definitely taken me right out of my comfort zone and encouraged me to experiment with a wide range of media and materials that I would not have contemplated before.  I am becoming more confident sketching, and although I find it difficult to be inspired to sketch in an impromptu way, I am working on this.

Lots of the images that I have worked on so far give me ideas for further development and I am really looking forward to pursing further design work and carrying on making new marks as I go on with the course.


Stage 4 Working from your sketchbooks


I love the way this experiment with acrylic on brown paper seems so rich and reminds me of expensive furnishing fabric.

First of all I did some pencil sketches, the first one is unintentionally reminiscent of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s signature rose design.

  Mackintosh Rose and Tear Drop fabric 1923

Then I did a chalk version which has nice colours, but not enough texture for my liking.

In this image I printed the background using some corrugated cardboard with the top layer stripped off.  Then applied more acrylic colour with a broad, straight-edged brush and finished with a gold pen.  I love this image.  It probably appeals to the fabricky part of my brain.  Again, it looks like an upholstery fabric already.

I made this image by rubbing over old buttons with wax crayons.

Then I did some sketches from different areas of the original image.  I was happier with the overall effect of the original image though,

so I reproducedit using collaged magazine cut-outs.  I really like the effect this gives and I can see the potential for further development work.

I enjoyed having a scribble with some charcoal I found in Grandpa’s old art case on some heavily textured watercolour paper.

I found this produced some very fruity sketches, more development opportunity here too.

This was a rubbing I did of the seat of a Bentwood chair using wax crayon over a watercolour wash.  I embellished it with a little gilt wax and love the fleur de lys design.

I develop the chair rubbing here and I am very pleased with the image top right.  I used acrylic again and a broad brush and just did a free interpretation of the shapes.  I think the bold colours work well and the outlines I did with the fat end of a chopstick just bring it alive.

Stage 3 Using marks to create surface textures – Exercise 1


This is a photograph that my younger daughter took of Viking Beach at Broadstairs in Kent.  I like it beause there is a contrast between the flat surface of the beach and the lively foam of the wave.

I tried to reproduce it using watercolour on damp paper and then some white acrylic to get the foam.

I tried again with some wax crayons and tried to do a wash over the top, hoping the texture would show through but it didn’t work too well and I think the blue paper wasn’t helping.

This is another of my daughter’s photographs and this one I love because of the shapes of the pebbles and the mirror effect of the water in the centre.

I sketched this using wax crayons and oil pastels, quickly to try and get a sense of the shapes.

The two images above I achieved using watercolour and my fingers to reproduce the rounded pebble shapes

In the image above I used bubble wrap to print the pebble shapes and a sponge to colour the green and white parts.

I found this postcard of some worn old wooden tools at a bring and buy sale and was inspired by the shapes and the texture of the wood grain.

I like the result of this image using oil pastels on the inside of a brown envelope.

Stage 2 Making marks in an expressive way – Exercise 3


Stage 2 Making marks in an expressive way – Exercise 4