Exercise 1.3 Making Marks

Exercise 1.3

Generate a folio of mark-making, drawing and visual response to the Archive selection.

In each case, I’ve started with a drawing of the overall morphology of the item. The quote from our workbook from Frederick Frank, “I learned that what I have not drawn, I have not seen” really rang true as I did these detailed studies, sometimes taking days to complete them.


Detailed study of the lacework;
Graphite pencil on drawing cartridge.

I like that the subtlety of the sumi ink was able to capture the drape and delicacy of the handkerchief by allowing me to shade.

Sumi ink on watercolour paper.

Some experiments making tools. The lace part of the handkerchief inspired me to ‘pounce’ with tulle to depict the delicate marks. However, the tulle didn’t give me the effect I desired. This led to a range of trials, until I was pleased with the marks made with a balled up piece of string.

Wet paint; dry paint.
(Click for larger image)

Orange bag.
Fine; Coarse.
(Click for larger image)

Lace; Slubbed fabric.
(Click for larger image)

Fine String; Thick String.
(Click for larger image)

Wax crayon rubbing on drawing cartridge.


Graphite pencil on cartridge.

Here, I am attempting to depict the stiffness of the starched voile. I laid plasterer’s mesh over a sketch, imitating the lie of the weave, then painted over to show the dark and light parts of the fold. I also chose some very stiff water-colour paper with a subtle criss-cross pattern. Here I am really experimenting and pushing myself.


I thought about what tools I could make to represent this item, and decided to make a lino-cut. The ultimate hand-made tool! I spent the morning drawing with the carving tool, in great trepidation of the result, as I have very little experience of making lino-prints and was using tools borrowed from my daughter.

I glued the resultant carving to an old wooden rolling pin (I’ve been picking these up whenever I see them at op-shops, since I ruined the expensive one with a teflon bearing we had in the kitchen when rolling over the pineapple piece earlier). I quite like the naive, yet complex marks that resulted.

Setting the glue; tied with string
so the lino cut adheres well.

Final lino cut.

L to R: Tissue paper; coarse, cheap watercolour paper; Canson watercolour paper, textured;
Two different types of drawing paper (visual journals).
(Click for a larger image)

I learnt a few things:
* It’s impossible to make a smooth join gluing a lino print to a rolling pin;
* Don’t print on tissue paper; it sticks to the paint;
* The smoother the paper, the better.

Although the marks are interesting, I’m not sure I stuck within the remit of the exercise with the lino print???

Cut-work on edge.
Charcoal on drawing cartridge.

I like taking a rubbing of the design elements. The detail and texture is interesting.

Rubbings over collar embroidery, white and black wax crayon on tracing paper.

Bed Jacket

Another drawing showing the overall morphology of the item. I wanted to break away from the really detailed pencil drawing that I had done for the other items, to try something different and expand my repertoire. So I tried doing a ‘rough’ painting; the first time I had attempted this technique. My only rule was to paint the shadows and the folds as honestly as I could.

I usually avoid using large pages, as I need my glasses to see the page, but the more distant object that I’m painting is in focus. It is very uncomfortable and I feel as though I’m straining to see; so, I was painting blind! It may have actually worked in my favour in capturing the shadows, but was annoying when placing the brush. It doesn’t seem very immediate when you need to pause to remove your glasses.

It is therefore amazing how true to the item the drawing/painting turned out! Definitely broken a barrier here. (Although I really need to get some black watercolour and some large watercolour paper, as the drawing paper wrinkled).

Watercolour on drawing paper, A2 size.

To properly document the bed-jacket, I traced the embroidery design. It is presented as open shapes, as it would have probably been an iron-on or traceable pattern; so, it’s back in its original form. As I traced, I though Dorothy may well have done the exact same thing, 100 years ago!


I wanted to capture the softness of the voile, so went about making and finding media to represent this. I used some feathers, then some soft calico to spread ground charcoal. You can see the bad-jacket in the background.

Soft Crumple I

Soft Crumple II

The obligatory wax rubbing. I like that this one picked up the subtle creases in the fabric, and I particularly like the ‘dots’ that resulted from the stem stitch. I can imagine them being re-interpreted as french knots.

The wax rubbings make good records, but I’m not sure if the marks will be suitable for further work-up.

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