Blog Stars

Mark Making

This post is especially for those folks who always say, “I can’t draw!” When I went to the Drawing International Symposium last year in Brisbane, I learned about a fun way to draw that is more about the process or action of making the marks, rather than trying to capture a photo-realistic image. “Mark making” sometimes refers to doodling dots, scribbles, or patterns, but it’s a also a very inventive way to draw. It’s more fun to show you the possibilities instead of describing them, so take a look at these examples:

Mark Making : a different way to draw


David Shrigley’s The Artist is a Roomba face with two markers in its nostrils. From David Shrigley: Life & Life Drawing at National Gallery of Victoria (Melbourne, 14 November – 1 March 2015)

Video from Bawdy Fox TV


Melbourne-based artist Ben Sheppard collaborated with Vin Ryan on a piece called The Red and the Blue (Westpspace, Melbourne, January 2013). The two artists took turns throwing sharpened blue and red pencils at two wastebaskets placed in front of a white wall. The “drawing” was made by the marks that the pencils made when they hit the wall.


Ben Sheppard is inspired by Dutch historian and cultural theorist, Johan Huizinga, author of Homo Ludens “Playing Man,” who believed that Play is the origin of culture.



Images from Ben Sheppard


Artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski (based in Munich and Berlin) arguably created the world’s coolest crayon called ADA (which debuted at FILE – Electronic Language Int. Festival / São Paulo (Brazil) 2011). Karina created the sculpture by inflating a large balloon with helium and then attaching 300 sticks of charcoal to its surface. Watch how it draws as it floats around this space:

Video courtesy of Karina Smigla-Bobinski


Sydney-based artist Patrick Shirvington explores drawing with wind by making an elaborate drawing implement using an Aboriginal rock and dead tree branches in Phenomenology: Drawn From (2015)


Patrick Shirvington sees the act of drawing as a way of reconnecting with the world around us.



Images from Patrick Shirvington


The Kirkkonummen kuvataidekoulu School of Art in Finland made this video of an artist doodling while rolling on a skateboard:



Marble Painting is a wonderful idea from The Artful Parent, an awesome kids’ art website:

Video from The Artful Parent


I hope I’ve inspired you to try drawing differently. Mark making is perfect for anyone who thinks they “can’t draw”or obsesses about creating a “masterpiece.” Give it a go!

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  • What interesting ways to draw. The roomba cover cracked me up.

    • lana

      I got to see it in person a couple years ago. The whole David Shrigley show was great!

  • NanaHood

    How cool!

  • Interesting post especially the vids I wished I could draw I am totally useless 🙂

    Have a drawtastic week & thanks for pirouetting by 🙂

    • lana

      There’s more than one way to draw though…and lots of people are good at drawing some things and not everything. AND, it takes practice, like everything. The more you do it, the better you get!

  • Merlinda Little

    Wow thats a lot of other ways! The skateboarding while drawing looks like fun and something that I see my son would try!

  • Clairejustineo

    Looks like some good ideas 🙂

  • Some of this are genius! The painting that was done by trowing pens into waste baskets looks very good. This shows how limited our thinking is when it comes to certain activities. There are other ways to create (not necessarily the established ones).

  • Jim Vail

    I love all of these ideas! I think the marble painting is really accessible. Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

    • lana

      I hope you try it Jim!

  • A Grand Journey

    I am one of those people who think they can’t draw and don’t feel very creative. These were all very interesting ways to approach drawing and painting. I really liked the marble painting – I felt especially hopeful when they ‘spooned’ the marbles out of the paint into the box. I hate to get my hands messy (possibly my missing link for creativity!) and I cringed when the first artist had paint all over her fingers. But I thought the result was great.

    • lana

      I completely understand not wanting to get messy, but we can always wash up after! The important thing is to have fun 😊