Drawing Exercise - Get to Know Your Medium

Trying Out Your Art Supplies

pencil mark making
Exploring the range of marks from each pencil. H South

The aim of this drawing exercise is to get to know your medium - pencil, charcoal, pen etc - with some purposeful scribbling. You can also learn something about the sort of marks you naturally make.

What You Need

Sketch paper and number 2 'B' pencil. If you have other grades of pencil, repeat the exercise for each one. You can also try this exercise with charcoal, pen and other mediums.

What To Do

Use a page of your sketchbook and just have a scribble!

BUT: remember, this is scribbling with a purpose. You have to pay attention to how heavy you press, and note what happens when you do something different.

Draw round loopy marks, zig-zags, light lines, heavy dark lines. Try shading from light to dark and back again. Make some different marks and then drag your eraser across them. Which pencils erase well? Which smudge? Do they make an impression on the paper? How glossy is the graphite? It can be handy to make a note of which pencil makes which mark. Your page might look something like the example above.

Review

You might not think much of these marks, but now you are on your way to becoming an artist. Experimenting with materials is something all artists do - you'll get to know how each medium behaves when it's just on a piece of sketch paper, not halfway through a major piece - and happy accidents are often the inspiration for great works of art.

Consider the quality of the marks you have made. Are they vigorous or gentle? Have you wandered over the page, or ordered your patterns neatly? These qualities will be present in your drawing ​and are worth thinking about.

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