I completed this exercise on 14/05/12. I started the exercise using a 4H graphite pencil and tried various grades of pencil finishing with a 6B. I found that the H grade pencils were good for very fine lines and light shading. Particularly the harder grades felt quite scratchy and if pressed hard they could dig into and catch the paper. By pressing hard I could achieve a darker tone but no where near as dark as the softer pencils. By the time I reached an H grade the lead was feeling smoother. An F grade felt smoother again on the paper and gave a noticeably darker line than the H grades. When pressed hard the lines the B grade pencils produced became darker and thicker the more towards the higher B grades that I moved. They higher grades of B pencils blunted quicker but this also tended to give a chisel tip to the lead that was good for shading. I discovered that twisting the pencil as I drew a line gave an interestingly varied line and reminded me of a wood grain effect. It was fun doodling and seeing the different lines that I could produce. (Please see figure 1)
Biro proved to give a smooth variable line when swept over the paper and a heavier and equal line when drawn slowly over the paper. I found that I got frequent accumulations of ink at the tip which could transfer to the paper giving a small blot of ink. Easily solved by wiping the tip regularly on a tissue. The biro was good for scribbling marks. The amount of pressure exerted affected tone to some extent as did spacing the lines out more or less.
Crayola felt tips gave strong colour and depending on how I held the pen affected whether I got thick or thin lines. If lines were laid next to each other then where they overlapped it left a narrow darker line. This effect was less obviously “stripey” when using scribbly shading but could still be seen as a variation in tone. Sharpie marker pens appeared to give stronger colours and smoother shading.
Charcoal really does give a lovely expressive line and seems to encourage sweeping gestures with it and I love seeing the shapes that are created by using it on its side and twisting and turning it. (Please see figure 2)
I enjoyed trying to make as many different marks as I could without actually trying to draw a specific thing but I also seemed to find it quite hard to be particularly inventive and found it hard to turn off the part of my brain that kept wondering if I was “doing it right”.
I moved onto the second part of the exercise and tried to think of subjects that might influence my marks without trying too hard to turn them into something specific. I started with crayola felt tips and had a play with them. Again, they gave strong, solid, bright lines but I was still finding it a little difficult to relax into the exercise.
I moved onto using a biro and I had huge fun with that. I started with scribbly lines and then just let them develop and really surprised myself with what I drew. It was lovely just to have fun, be spontaneous and see what appeared. I had no idea with each doodle that I started what would appear. The biro doesn’t seem quite so good for getting variation in shading but strangely enough it was the tool that I felt most relaxed using. Perhaps because it is something that I do not normally draw with but do tend to doodle with. I really did enjoy using it.
Next I tried a graphite pencil. I thought about water and then scribbled with the pencil and tried different types of marks. Next I thought of a palm tree and used different marks for that. I found it harder with the pencil not to try and turn my marks into a definable image. I didn’t feel as free as I felt when using the biro but I did end up with a good variety of marks. Perhaps because I use a pencil to try and do a “proper drawing” it is harder to let go.
Next I moved onto a graphite stick and then charcoal. Fun to doodle with and was interesting to draw into the charcoal with a putty rubber. (Please see figure 3)
I enjoyed this exercise and it helped to introduce me to just how many marks are possible with drawing media and how expressive many of those marks are. It is something that I will need to try and remember when drawing. I normally find that I concentrate so hard to try and make my drawing look like whatever I’m drawing that I forget about interpretation using different lines and marks. Food for thought.