What is in making marks ? (sketching, drawing, painting and writing)
Making marks is a collection of marks that we make making up an image or symbols in writing; it is the human way of recording thought, ideas and images. More personally it is how each individual writer or artist shows up on their page or canvas or whatever materials they choose to work in. If you look at your handwriting and your signature you will see that your way of writing is made up of marks unique to you. Whether we look at the rock art of primitive time, a child’s artwork, your handwriting or a famous artist you will see that the images or writing is constructed out of individual marks. No matter what culture the alphabet is comprised of lines, dots, and squiggles. And the same squiggles and marks make up sketching, drawing and painting. Circles, straight lines, curved lines, dots, including heavy lines and light lines, all add to the mix. Even painting is made up of strokes, dabs, blobs and lines.
It is as unique as a fingerprint.
I touch on this in my art-is-play workshops* as I believe that if we can get in touch with the basics or the primal/primitive or the childlike qualities we can all enjoy finding our unique creative signature and way of expressing ourselves. I think of it as the fingerprint of the individual. For me this fingerprint is infused with one’s mind, soul and body and is expressed with unique flair in our creativity. When we get to know artists well we can point out their paintings saying “that’s a Matisse; or Cezanne; or Picasso etc.” And when I look at my children’s art or my parent’s art I can identify each one of them because their art-making (mark making) is as unique as their voices. Once we can embrace our own unique style we are far more likely to throw ourselves wholeheartedly into our expression and be proud of our work than if we regularly compare ourselves with other artists and try to be like them. It is one thing to be inspired by other people and quite another when we continually feel we never quite amount to anything because we are not like our mother, father, child or friend or some famous artist.
Part of my personal growth as an artist
I took a long time learning to embrace this idea. I could even see how it applied to others but somehow I continued to compare myself to what my mother had to say about art for a long time. She had got a degree in fine art and went on to do graphic design and so I measured myself against her. I felt both judged by her and, as I admired her, I compared myself to her not realizing that we were called to be very different in our expression and enjoyment of art.
Express your creativity with unique flair.
The point I want to make is that we are all so unique and should not compare ourselves to others and this is especially true when it comes to our individual fingerprint and mark making in creativity. Have you ever thought of writing or drawing as making marks?
Take care till next time.
* I want to give credit to Betty Edwards (Drawing on the Artist within and Drawing on the right side of the brain); Cathy A. Malchihiodi (Art Therapy sourcebook) and Pat B. Allen (Art is a way of knowing) for some of my thinking and inspiration for my workshops.