Monday, December 20, 2010

Make A Joyful....Mark!!!

Remember the fun we had in kindergarten and elementary school learning to make marks on the page (or wall)?! Every piece was a masterpiece. We became quite indignant when someone did not recognize that blob of green and blue as a bear!

Somewhere along the journey, we tend to lose that joy...we adopt an attitude that every piece most "count," most be good enough to show others or it becomes a waste of time. I recently discovered a way to add some of that unbridled joy back to my mark making and it was quite by accident! I had an old (college days' old!) blank sketchbook sitting out to be recycled. After all this time I hadn't used it, I didn't think I was going to and I decided to pitch it.

Thanksgiving night found me exhausted but in need of a creative outlet....my eyes happened to land on the old sketchbook. Next to my chair was a bright, aqua blue Sharpie marker. With NOLA fresh on my mind, masks flowed from my pen....
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That was fun! I turned the page, and filled three more that evening. When I started to work through the Clever Christmas eClass assignments I decided to use the same sketchbook. I switched to a Copic® marker in a medium, cool gray that also happened to be waterproof. I decided I wanted to test out some of my ideas with watercolor—on sketchbook paper!
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And this is where the fun truly began. You see, this paper is maybe 60 lb. paper, at best. It didn't take to watercolor too well. It bled through, the paper wrinkled, I was limited to the number of washes I could do. I couldn't blend. Wherever I put the color down, that's where it stayed for the most part! So I knew before I even started I wasn't going to make a "pretty" drawing that counted—I was free to play and have fun and experiment! I had a ball!



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These corny characters were a take on "Merry Kiss-Moose" and a few "deers" thrown in for good measure! Are these finished, sketches? No. There's no way they could be because of the paper. Were they fun? You bet! I tried ideas, I made changes mid-stream, and when I got around to adding the color, it was almost like "coloring," as in coloring in a coloring book!

The ideas just flew onto the page, one sketch sparking another idea and so on. (One student called this a "brain dump" of ideas!) One other thing I noticed was it was necessary to use a very heavy pigment load to get a rich, vibrant color. So this encouraged me to use more pigment and less water. Most of my sketches were done in under a minute. Color was added later, but again, it didn't take long. Once I came up with an idea I liked, I redrew it on "good paper" and created a more finished piece.

I used to think life was way too short to use "cheap paper," but I think I've changed my mind. Especially if it means I can have this much fun and it's legal! I encourage you to try your hand at "making a joyful mark" with a waterproof marker and some watercolor on CHEAP paper and rediscovering the fun of just making marks!! There's no pressure as you know before you start the paper is limited and you're just playing. And we can all use a little more fun, joy and playing in our lives, right?!

10 comments:

  1. These look so good, Laure - they certainly don't give the impression of being 'throwaway' sketches. Looks like you had fun. x

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  2. Yes! A joyful mark - I love it! I, too, keep a 'scratch' journal around for that purpose. You hit it right on, Laure!

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  3. What fun sketchings....hardly throwaways! Loved looking back and catching up on Boomer....the kitties in the decorating. Hope your week starts Merry!

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  4. Fun! It's so cool what we (you) come up with when the pressure is off.

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  5. I think this is why I like the Sketchbook Project--the paper is so lousy and I just have at it. Same thing with Yupo--I love that it's not even real watercolor "paper," so I feel so loose when I use that stuff. Good for you, Laure--keep it fun. These are delightful, and you'll probably come up with additional ideas from all this play, too!

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  6. What fun to give yourself permission just to do art.

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  7. Funny you should write such a post right now. I have been feeling guilty lately because I haven't done a "finished" piece of art. I have kept scribbling in my sketch books. All thought is not lost. Just too much to do right now. I am glad to see I am nto the only one that does this.

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  8. More play? Sounds like a great idea! Thanks for the casual invitation to do more just for fun.

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  9. I just got my two youngest granddaughters to draw and color in their journals yesterday. It was part of playing "store". I had them "pay" to take a "class" after I'd paid for my coffee! They drew cookies and chex mix. I hope to get them used to sketching small everyday things so they might fill pages like yours someday.

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  10. Great post! there is something about "having nothing to lose" that is so freeing! I came across some of my old sketches the other day, including scraps of sketches on old yellow-lined paper. Sometimes those are the best! You never know what ideas those free-wheeling explorations will lead to...

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