Experimenting with expressive lines and marks(Exercise)

In this exercise I am going to experiment with lines and marks, through these attempts and mediums I am going to express calm, anger, joy and etc from my emotion.

I have prepared four A1 sheets of paper, charcoal, Indian ink (with wooden stick), oil pastel and soft pastel etc. They are all black colours.

Fold each sheet A1 to A2 then A3, unfold them tape them onto the board for 4 attempts. But unfortunately my A1 art board has not arrived yet. So I have to cut them to A3 to fit my current board.

CALM – charcoal

For the feeling of calm that I cleared all of my mind. Sit down in front of the sheets. Holding the tool gently and start to draw. img_5274 I started to make lines slowly from bottom left corner using horizontal lines then vertical lines and crossed over each other in some places.  I have used a triangular region to convey a stable base for this A3 area. Another triangular pattern is combined with the first one to build up a rectangle. Then  I carried on to create some continuous pattern on the top. For this part I only used the line to draw so I didn’t use flowing tones.

CALM – oil pastel

This time I started from top then going down. First I drew some quiet lake surface then some regular patterns. I also tried holding the pastel in different ways pressing and hard and gently. img_5276 Compare the charcoal, the oil pastel is so difference it is waxy and greasy. It is more likely to stay on the paper.

CALM – soft pastel

I started to try some rectangles in the visual space. However  every stoke down is broader and darker than I had hoped so I was unhappy with the result. While I was drawing the powders came out and covered the whole sheet like dust and I also spotted some bits I didn’t want. img_5277 The soft pastel is is most easiest colour up onto the paper but is the most unstable. For calm approach this was a failure.

CALM – Indian ink

I got a sharpened stick to work with the ink. I started to use lines to draw an area as a rectangle and a ball, then random patterns on the top of  sheet.  Then I put the ink into an waterbrush to draw some more lines. img_5278 The top bit of sheet was made with the twig. Every time the stick dip in ink then go to draw it always from dark going to light which with the ink fading as I got further along with the stroke. The bottom bit I have used the water colour brush. It is all right when I started but after a while I was getting a lot of ink coming together.

The whole parts of the CALM.

For the calm pieces I am trying to make the patterns regular, neat and tidy but just lost a bit control with the first soft pastel. As they are all simple lines I need to practice with a wider variety of marks. img_5273

After some time spent relaxing outside I am going to try angry emotion and to make the lines and marks.

ANGER – charcoal For the angry feeling I tried to bring out recently unhappy mood out. I used the fast flowing marks and lines clashing anywhere of this sheet. img_5280 I put some abstract things in like the skull. I also used the flowing lines and fast drawing to finish it. I think it may need darker tones in the charcoal.

ANGER – oil pastel img_5281 I have used a lot of symbol  “cross” to through this sheet because I am feeling anything is wrong.

ANGER – soft pastel img_5282 I have used lots of question mark “?” to convey why the things like this? why they are not going away?

ANGER – Indian ink img_5283 I tried to make some leaking effect but they are not as good as I hoped they will be.

The whole parts of ANGER img_5279 They are not intense enough I think. They may need to be more darker and messy, but I will  leave like this then it will be easy to see the symbols in it.


After a rest with some chocolate then I am trying JOY.

JOY – charcoal

For joy I have a pleasant mood for drawing some lively patterns.  I used soft curved shapes to make the lines they are regular. Then I made them larger or smaller and made some go off into the didtance.img_5285 JOY – oil pastel

For the joyous emotion I drew a bright sun, some bushes, river with boats, birds or trees. img_5286I was thinking about putting in some more scenery but decided to leave it alone.

JOY – soft pastel

Some happy fish are swimming. img_5287 This sheet is not as neat and tidy as I would have liked and I made the top corner look a little bit like Stonehenge by accident.

JOY – Indian ink img_5288On the top left I was drawing a festival lantern but it came out a little strange. I wanted to try some fireworks on the bottom right but I changed it to a bunch of flowers.

The whole parts of JOY. img_5284 These joy pieces are just exercises and I did not have a perfect plan  in my mind before I start to draw.


I am going to attempt the last word “STRESS”

STRESS – charcoal img_5290 I have used lots of arrows to point down just the stress downwards. Also I drew lots of uneven triangles.

STRESS – oil pastel img_5291 There are some triangles that are pointing down as well and the rain which is lashing down.

STRESS – soft pastel img_5292 I shouldn’t use actual character but these three bombs just came out straight away.

STRESS – Indian ink img_5293 I have practiced the leaking effect again it is a bit better than the last one. The darkest clouds are raining down. These leaking just like tears or a broken heart.

The whole parts of STRESS img_5289 These pieces are very rough lines and marks that just brought out the feelings straight away. If I will do this again I may to try on A4 or smaller paper then organize them on the big A1 sheet.

For this exercise I have learnt to use my emotion to control and convey my feeling on the image’s title. It is very difficult to convey these points just through lines and marks but it is in the detail and the style that the effects come through. As I learn from the work and I can pay more attention to other artists they approach they have used. Then I can improve my drawing.

For the tools I didn’t really use Indian ink and oil pastel before, but even this is first time I did enjoy them.

For the future in the drawing course I will take these points into the drawing process. What the characters and elements convey and how my lines and marks follow them?



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