Mark Making

Back in September, I wrote a blog about my favorite mark making tools. I was going to follow up with how to use them, but I wound up writing about something else.

I want to return to that original idea now because I love mark making. You might say that everything in art is a mark of some kind. Even a painting where you use a brush and push paint around has marks. Theoretically, that is also mark making. You will win the prize if you can show me a piece of art that does not have any kind of marks. So why are we talking about mark making when all art has it? 

Some mark making tools work well, and some not so well. You might have your favorites, as I have mine. I use marks to define things in my paintings. I like that I can mix and match different tools to create effects that I really enjoy. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Drewent Inktense watercolor pencils

    I like to dip them in water and get some big drops onto the paper that I then drag the pencil through. Because the pigments are so intense, the lines jump off the paper. I can also go back with a brush and add more water to “bleed” out the line to soften it.

    2. Caran D’ Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons. 

    These come in so many colors you won’t be able to choose, so just get a box of them. These are soft pastel-like crayons that glide on the paper or canvas like butter.  I dip these in water and make my marks to add a bit of texture and a new color to supplement my pallet. I have use a brush to move the color around more, but sometimes leave the line that I first made.

    3. Stabilo All Aquarellable pencils.

     These can be used on paper, glass, plastic and metal. They are permanent after they dry. Again I dip them in water and draw away. You can also use them like watercolor pencils and draw first, then go in with a brush and water to blend. 

    4. Lyra Graphite Stick.

     Is a thick pencil, so the lines are bold and wide. Draw lightly and have a nice gray broad lines that you can see the paper through. Draw heavy and hard and get an opaque line that can be smeared with your finger or add some water to soften the edges. The effects are amazing.

    5. Bamboo pen and some water-soluble ink.

     This is a lot of fun to play with. The pens come in different sizes and originally used for brush painting and Asian calligraphy. But the lines you can achieve are wonderful and if you drag a wet brush along a line you can bleed the ink and soften its edges.

    6. Micron Pens are permanent pens.

     Come in different sizes and some in colors. These pens are what I like to use for my meditative art. Because they are permanent, I can draw first and then go over the drawing with watercolor, and the lines stay. However, I mostly use them over the watercolor.

    7. Prismacolor NuPastels

    Beautiful range of colors and so soft and chalky. I just got a few colors, and they are exciting. I’m still playing with them. 

    I’m not an affiliate of any of these companies. I’m just an enthusiastic customer.

    This is not the end-all be-all of mark making, these are just my favorites. I hope you give them a try. 

    Let me know if you use any of these or have some favorites that are different than mine. I’d love to try new art supplies.

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    1. Michele says:

      This is a great list! I love mark making and I am always looking for inspiration to do something different so thank you for some new additions to my wish list 🙂

    2. I too love mark-making. I haven’t yet tried the Prismacolor Nupastels. Thanks for the list, and the reminder of those materials I haven’t had out to play with for a while.

      1. Yes they are a fun way to get started on a new piece.

    3. Laura Bray says:

      Thanks for sharing your favorite tools! I see a craft supply shopping trip in my future!

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