Markers’ Explorations

Markers

They are in almost all our homes, schools and backpacks. They are attractive and easy to use. It is not necessary to “draw something”, that is to represent something recognizable. Just to remember for those who get stuck with I can’t draw or I don’t know what to draw. How many types of points, lines and marks can be invented? In how many ways and patterns can these signs be placed on the sheet of paper?

How many ways can we cover an area with color or create a shape?

Try to explore all the possible movements of your wrist, hand, arm and observe the traces left by the marker during the movement. You can also move or rotate the sheet of paper below.

Each sign can be repeated creating various kind of textures, according to different degrees of rarefaction or thickening. What is gradually taking shape in the sheet of paper, will probably give us new suggestions for continuing the work.

How many ways can points and lines interact? A point is a moving line, or as Paul Klee said, “a line is a point going for a walk”?

What is the difference between drawing through colored lines and drawing through patches of color?

Who leades: the eye, the hand or the idea? Does a color “call” the other one?

In my studio, next to the markers, there is a small box full of white papers, all the same, and next to this box, some drawn papers (of the pictures above). These drawn cards can be joined on one side to form an accordion booklet, otherwise left loose, so that they can be individually taken (very useful solution in a group). In some situations, this kit was a useful support, providing a starting point easier than a large white sheet.

The setting and the way of presenting materials is an important aspect that can affect the creative process as well. How are the various color shades presented? Are they all visible? In case of a groups, how do members have access to them? Also the container itself can influence the perception of the content. From which container would you prefer to take a marker (between the ones above) and why? If you are interested, in the post “Container and Contained” by Nona Orbach you will find more about this specific issue.

I noticed that sometimes, in groups where the markers were placed in jars in the center of the table, the colors were not carefully chosen and the markers were not put back, scattering all over the table. By offering the markers in the center of the table, on a long folded strip of paper, these inconveniences disappeared by themselves. The paper strips are also very easy to fold or carry. If the markers are displayed on a shelf or used by one person at a time, shorter strips can be available for placing the chosen colors.

As Nona Orbach e Lilach Galkin wrote in “The Spirit of Matter”, The main characteristic of markers is that it is possible to achieve a nice result without much effort. They offer clean, aesthetic work, and are suitable for ornamental and decorative purposes. There is repetition in the workflow by opening and closing the marker and filling surfaces with short contiguous lines. This is significant for people who are intrigued and organized by ritual and rhythm. There is not much need for hesitation when working with markers; they afford pleasure from an easily created aesthetic outcome.

I would add that a marker’s sign can not be erased: this could be a bit frightening for some adults or older children, that want to obtain a “nice” work, especially at the beginning of this kind of exploration. But then, it can be very liberating and releasing, precisely because no way to adjust what you did… so just let it go!

And now I think you are looking forward to take a marker and start your exploration… Enjoy!

#thegrammarofmatter

Would you take a walk with a line?

line

by Roberta Pucci and Michele Ferri


In early life, the process of drawing naturally unfolds according to consequential phases: it is an organic, archetypal development that just needs a welcoming environment, respectful of individual paces.
But what about adults, especially those who stopped drawing since a long time? Is it still possible to restart drawing just for the sake of it, without performance anxiety about the outcome?

Here are some suggestions for all adults who think they are no longer able to draw and need a little help. Would you like to play?

Going for a walk with a line

First of all, let’s warm up your hand with a flowing, free movement on the sheet of paper. Draw two small signs of different colors, representing the starting and the arrival point, wherever you want. Then just let your hand go for a walk with a black pen or marker, freely exploring the space of the sheet without interrupting the line, in any direction, at the most comfortable speed and pace. If you no longer know where to go, just slow down, slower and slower… but keep going on.

This activity can be repeated in different ways, for example by changing the travel speed, the drawing tool, the positions of the starting and arrival points. Perhaps a different color will suggest a different pace… And each tool will have its own “walking” qualities. Or you could imagine a line with a certain kind of personality, mood or feeling: happy, sad, angry, curious, bored, scared. How will be its journey?

You can also create more interesting environments to explore, by placing cutouts and small objects hin the sheet of paper. Then explore these paper areas with a line.

Now let’s go through more intricate paths, tracing lines that intersect in many points (preferably using a pen). Interesting shapes are hidden through your random scribbles: look and try to find them… What do you see? Once you have identified some shapes, make them more recognizable, for example filling them with colors or pointing the outline out with a different color or a thicker line.

What about “dressing” your shapes? You can create endless textures combining different signs, points and lines. Then draw your shape on a textured cardboard you like and cut it out. How does it look now?

Each shape can also be transformed by changing its size or proportions, stretching it, crushing it, as if it was of a plastic material that can be deformed as you like. Exploring these variations, you will create a group of shapes that are all a bit different but recognizable as belonging to the same “family”.


At this point, you have various drawing tools for inventing imaginary worlds… Trace your lines, place and move your shapes in the sheet of paper: many stories will come out! Enjoy!


This post is a small excerpt from the book A spasso con una linea, by Roberta Pucci and Michele Ferri, published by Artebambini (in Italian only… for now).


The post is also part of the Grammar of Drawing project about the expressive language of drawing, in a collaboration between Suzanne Axelsson, Nona Orbach and Roberta Pucci.

It is translated in four languages:

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