My Most Favorite Mark-Making Tools

Summer is winding down and it’s almost time to get back to school or work or make more art or teach more classes and workshops. I have enjoyed taking my summer off from teaching. I did teach 2 workshops online. Some other artists/teachers that I admire have been wonderful inspirations. I was able to dig deep into their techniques. One thing that just kept reinstating with me was mark-making. I used to think that color and shape were the only ways for me to communicate in my art. I have now fallen in love with so many mark-making tools.

Don’t get me wrong, I never said that I didn’t want to add mark-making to my work. I have added marks to my art at different times, but this new way has me loving the marks and pushing those with other mediums to create inspiration for me to move my art.

Most recently, I have created small collages, painted and altered fabrics, and developed a new Meditative Watercolor class, which will be coming soon. 

Here are some simple marks that got me making more and more.

Marks on fabric
More marks

Each one of these has mark-making in them. Some have been with ink, Inktense pencils, and Caran d’Ache NecolorII crayons just to name a few. A full list to follow.


I’ve always been a very tactile person. As a kid in a fabric store with my mom, I run my hands over all of the fabrics that hung from bolts along walls. When I went to college I fill my schedule with art classes. My parents told me that I would not be a “starving artist” and that I needed to major in something that could make me a living. My love of fabrics drew me to textile design. There were only a few artists that designed from their art at the time and it seemed that was the way textiles designs were going instead of remakes of old designs. It was the 70s and things were getting wild with color and patterns. I went to New York City to visit some textile manufacturers and knew I found a home. I planned to become a textile designer. 

I could take some pre-requisite here but would most likely have to move to New York to get the rest of my classes. My spirits were dashed. I didn’t like New York and even though I had family in Connecticut and New York I did not want to live there. I was a homebody and that was just too far from home and the So Ca beaches. So I went to school here in California and became a graphic artist. 

Needless to say, I still love fabrics and have wanted a way to include them in my art. The marks, fabrics, and collage all tie back to making marks so they strongly connect. I have found that way and I’m creating a new series of art: Broken Fragments.

Marks on paper

Here is the list of mark-making tools that I think you will love also (links are non-affiliate):

Inktense pencils

acrylic inks


Lyra graphic stick

Portfolio oil pastels (these are water soluble)

Stabilo All pencils

Bamboo pen

Pitt pens

Skewers (like this one)

sticks, from your yard or park

brushes, any assorted sizes

Micron pens

China brush pens

charcoal pencils

compressed charcoal

There are so many more but these are my favorites.

The plan is to create another blog post on these mark-making tools.  

 Stay tuned. Art-making is on the way.


  1. Joan Weise says:

    Amazing the twists and turns our lives take! Thanks for sharing this journey. I think my recent foray into abstract art is an introduction to mark making. Looking forward to what may come next for you…and me!

  2. Laura Bray says:

    I love these new pieces. You are such a great artist. Your color choices and composition always amazes me.

    1. Thank you. I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before. 😳

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