Markers’ Explorations

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!