As part of the CQ self-study group, I'm currently well into the mark-making exercise. While looking for some mark-making tools I came across some marks from previous times:
Marks of stitches, petrified into porcelain -
Teeny-tiny ink marks, made by spraying the paper and then touching each droplet of water with a pointy brush loaded with ink -
Trying out some tools - making the same sort of marks with each one, dabs and flicks and suchlike, and getting into some lines, shapes, and patterning despite myself.
this to be useful:
" Marks are like building blocks in that they are individual and discrete, but can be used in a repetitive manner to render almost any visual effect. Marks can be highly gestural and expressive, or controlled and mechanical. The degree to which artists can achieve certain desired effects is determined by their choice of tool, the nature of the medium used, and the quality of the gestures employed. Marks can be descriptive, expressive, conceptual, and symbolic in nature."
stitches into paper that I haven't yet started. Right from the start, this was bound to develop into pattern-making -
|Using a 3/4" flat brush (top) and a rigger for dots and dashes|
Top left, the simple expedient of scribbling with the side of a rigger - the ink leaves interesting tones as it dries on coated paper -
By now the brush had developed a shape of its own, spreading out to each side, useful for making patterns -
Seeing these "results" makes me feel impatient and dissatisfied. Is it freeing perhaps, or instructive perhaps, to do this sort of exercise again and again? I did find it helpful to have a starting point, like the idea of making "stitches", and to have a goal of a certain number of pages to fill - though probably if this was 50 pages rather than 5, there would be some sort of glass ceiling that would be broken through at some point, if only out of the desperation of "oh whatever can I do now".
Or maybe it's all part of "developing a vocabulary" - trying different things and seeing what you "like".
As for marks themselves, their components are (in my mind anyway) pressure, direction, and speed (ie, the gesture) - and perhaps extent, though an extensive mark could be called a line. Additional factors that give them variability are the medium (graphite, ink, etc), the tool used, and the substrate (eg type of paper).