Exercise Mark Making Techniques

I completed this exercise on 15/05/12. It was interesting trying lots of the different media in my sketch book (A4 sketch book pages 4 and 5). Please see figure 1. I  found that graphite pencils in the H grades were good for thin controlled lines and therefore very good for hatching. However because of their hardness I was not able to obtain a dark tone but they gave a nice range of lighter tones. They also made very light stipples.  Moving through the various grades towards softer grades produced increasingly rich dark tones but I also found that because the leads tended to blunt much more quickly, if I wanted a fine line I needed to keep sharpening the pencil otherwise the lines rapidly became thicker. I found that directional hatching helped to suggest form as did directional lines. I did find that it was harder to hatch a curved form than a flat. My hatching tended to look very messy very quickly and I easily lost the curve of the object. I found that whether using stippling or hatching the closer the lines or dots the darker the tone.

Figure 1
Exercise Mark-making techniques

Moving onto pens was fun and I found that pens such as the Zig Millennium 01 gave very regular size dots while hatching marks that were made slowly were darker than those resulting from sweeping the pen quickly over the surface of the paper. This appeared to apply to all of the pen media. The Pitt Artist brush pen gave an interesting variation in tone where the hatching lines crossed. Fine lines were possible and small strong stipples but in many ways I felt that the brush pen was better suited to wider expressive lines or more solid blocks of colour. Thicker felt tips such as the Stabilo 68 bullet tip appeared to give strong even lines and stipples and the form looked solid and strong. I don’t think that I would use this media to portray a delicate subject.

I moved onto charcoal and though it was possible to hatch with it, the sticks blunted so quickly that the lines rapidly become wider. It was also extremely messy, very prone to smudging and the dust and crumbs that break off got everywhere and smudged with the slightest touch. It is not a media that I would chose to hatch or stipple with but it is great fun to use. (Please see figure 2)

Figure 2
Exercise Mark-making techniques

Changing to colour was fun. Where two colours were stippled, hatched or drawn in lines close together another colour appeared to be created and this gave a lively effect. Fine liners gave variable strength of line depending on how fast the pen was drawn along the surface of the paper. Childrens crayons appeared to give quite a heavy effect when hatching and oil pastels, for similar reasons as charcoal appeared to be unsuitable for hatching. Both the crayons and the oil pastel produced interesting rings of colour if pressed end first into the paper.

Moving onto coloured pencils again created other colours when two colours were cross hatched, stippled or laid in alternating lines. With the water soluble colour pencils if a water brush was used over the top of a line it appeared to deepen the colour and also appeared to pick enough of the colour up that a pale tone could then be hatched in if wished. Soft pastels appeared to be as messy as charcoal but could produce fine lines for hatching although again they did blunt quickly. The square blocks gave an interesting effect if pressed into the paper end on leaving a hollow square of colour.

I enjoyed doing the exercise but did find cross hatching quite difficult particularly on curved forms, with my cross hatching quickly becoming messy and then appearing to lose form. It is something that I will need to practise further. Even though it was time consuming I did enjoy stippling, there was something rather relaxing about it and I appeared to be able to control tone better than with hatching.

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