Mark Making Researches

Week 1: Thoughts and Online Researches

The given text and video resources on Blackboard have helped me understand a bit more on mark making. Here are my thoughts:

  • I think monoprint can be explored vastly because there are a lot of materials we can use and we can play with not just the shape, size, side of the objects we use, but also the space. I’m excited to see the various type of effect created by thin materials, for instance, the cheese cloth example shown in the video.
  • Fumage is cool but I think it’s very limiting cos there’s only one way of doing it, which is to use the smoke of a flame to create marks. Unless, maybe we can use another medium in between the flame and the paper to create different effects? Something like a funnel. Hmm…
  • Mist mark making is cool. It’s quite like monoprint, but just that you gotta let the ink dry up. I’ll be interested in seeing what the outcomes will be for different materials.
  • Decalcomania… It really looks nice when it’s all colourful. At this point all the resource videos really opened my eye to what you can do with materials and mediums haha. Feel that it’s gonna be fun! Anyway, I digressed. I think it can be fun to do, especially using it to create symmetrical works.
  • Grattage, the end results is nice and all, but just very boring, in terms of material exploration.
  • Nail polish art, I’ve seen this before! Marbling. I think the outcome is nice and it can be experimented on using different solutions.

Week 2: Intense research

I went on to read up more about mark making online, how different strokes is made and what they mean.

“Marks are not just used to form the pictures that artists create, they are also used to add expression to the work. Some marks may express movement while others express stability and strength.

Artists can use slashes as marks to express anger or curves as marks to express calm or peace.

Marks can be descriptive, expressive, conceptual, or symbolic. They may be bold and clearly state the intention or they may be so subtle that the concept is only perceived by the viewer’s subconscious.”

The above links explained the different kind of mood different marks have. Here are my notes:









The research is broken down into two different parts: first is identifying the different kinds of lines, and the other is what the lines mean.

The next part was kind of experimental. I really love music, and music makes me feel. So I thought, why don’t I use music to help me find the perfect emotions I should work on.

It is interesting and fun to do this, but it is very inefficient and time consuming. Nonetheless, there’s some effect and I’ll attach each selected emotion with a song to listen to, to immerse myself in the emotion.

I also went to research on artists that make abstract marks in hope to understand more about what different mark means. An example is Picasso.

Picture taken from

In this painting, Picasso used strong strokes to represent harder shades, and thin strokes to represent lower toned shadows. In certain parts of the painting, there are no strokes at all at the silhouette of the subject.

I like how Kandinsky can effectively portray the movement of the horse and the man with just abstract strokes. A lot of diagonal lines that depicts movement.

What does each emotion mean? I’ll try to define each emotion subjectively so as to understand them at a personal level. I intend to listen to musics that evoke such feelings to aid my understanding of the emotions.

  • Optimism / Hopeful: Song: Miracle (Someone Special) – ColdPlay
    • Hope is something that makes you look forward. It encourages, and motivates. It is something so strong, yet feels so soft. It leaves you warm and pulsing. It gives energy in a spiritual way. It is as though your soul is trying to reach out to grab hold onto something. It also in some cases helps you to push yourself, physically, to keep pressing on. It goes on and on and on, up and up and up.
    • Hope, to me, is something rich and full. So I’m going to use the mixture of glue and ink to create a thick texture. I’m going to use something that can create a define line, something like a toothbrush, or a piece of sugarcane fibre. The reason is that I feel hope is something solid, and it has a flow to it (from small to big) so it can be represented by the amount of lines present. Perhaps from a single point, some lines, to a lot of lines, all going upwards.
    • Hopeful: Paper? + ink + glue + toothbrush + texture?
  • Enthralment: Song: Captivate – Midst
    • Being captivated is to be brought into another world. It’s, to me, something unconscious. You’re so awed by something that you don’t even know it. Being in wonder. It is also focused, everything else drowned out, sound feels muffled.
    • Enthralment: Fabric + Ink + white ink.
    • Fabric shrinks when you add paint to it. So by creating difference in ink density, the fabric will shrink accordingly and create the funnelling effect I want. The folds on the fabric will represent the energy focused down to the middle. The entire thing shall be pure black because being captivated means not seeing anything else. But maybe I’ll use a bit of white paint to guide the eye.
  • Longing: Song: Touch – Shura
    • It’s a bittersweet feeling. It’s like a push and pull. When you long for someone, you feel sweetened by the thought of someone. But the person is not around so you feel like something is missing, or lost. The feeling is powerful, all over, but it’s more central, near the chest, and quite pulsing. It’s more pain than sweet.
    • Use tissue + ink + water
    • The reason tissue is used is that tissue gives a wrinkly texture, which can represent the aching feeling.
  • Loneliness: Song: All I Want – Stonefox, Ovenbird – Brooke Waggoner
    • Loneliness is knowing that there is nowhere to go, and no one to be with at a given time. Even though there are options, you just feel like it either isn’t enough, or that it isn’t appropriate to make a connection. It comes with a lot of thoughts. It’s stale, it needs comforting.
    • Salt + ink
  • Resentment: Song: Free – Broods, Never Ending Circle – CHVRCHES
    • Resentment is a continuous bitter feeling. It lingers and it can get powerful if uncontrolled. It is quite blunt, and can feel like a sore, which pulses, circles around. Bassy feel. At one point, there is some outbursts. Very prickly, very sharp. But it strikes only once, or for a short period of time, before dying down. It is very focused, at one thing.
    • Ink + tire brush to create an aggressive mark.
  • Regret: Song: Talking with Strangers – Miya Folick
    • Regret is a very down feeling. It’s very low to begin with, and leaves you thinking and thinking, how you can make it better, why did something go this way? It makes you reflect about yourself, and reflect about your past.
    • I feel that regret can be represented in 2 parts: the reflection, and revelation. During the reflection, it is low and dull. It is fuzzy and moving a lot, very fast, because you’re thinking. Then, the revelation comes, it becomes clear. And it starts to get sharp, strong, and overwhelming.
    • Regret: Transit from soft fuzzy strokes to clear, strong, aggressive strokes.


Mark Making Process

Week 1: Ideas on processes

Hi, today is the first time using OSS! Yay.

Other than documentation, I’m going to track my thoughts in words here, or else I’ll get lost in my thoughts hahaha. It’s going to get wordy, but I’ll try my best to make it fun.

So, for next lesson of assignment 1, we got to find materials to be used as tools to experiment with the ways of making mark. Some of the senior’s works really opened up new doors for me, helping me think further than just what’s presented to me. Now that I know the different ways to make marks, it’s time to really find out what effects different materials create, so my objective is mostly to experiment with as many different materials as possible.

Some ideas:

Stuffs that can be used to spread ink

  • ruler

    image taken from
  • slippers
  • Taken from
  • leaf
  • string/rope
  • tissue (different forms of tissue)
  • cloth
  • crackers
  • blu tack
  • cotton bud

Stuffs that can be mixed with ink

  • (given example) butter, ground coffee
  • Candle wax
  • soap bubbles
  • water
  • sand
  • glue
  • Eraser dust

    image taken from wikihow
  • Clay
  • powder
  • rice

Stuffs that can be used along with ink

  • Squirt bottle
  • Spray bottle
  • pump bottle
  • straw / hose

Stuffs that can be used for stamping:

  • crushed paper

Stuffs that can be used between flame & paper:

  • funnel

Some other ideas:

  • use 2 or more mediums and throw them together? Or roll 1 object on top of another object in a fixed way to create a rhythmic-ish pattern
  • marbling
  • using a cactus…. hmmm… :/
  • i’m quite interested to see what happens if i shoot a nerf dart with ink on paper

Ayy, I’m going to pick up any items I find interesting as I walk around school so yeah, going to be a junk collector.

Week 2: Mark Making

Scrap items I found around my house

These are items that I think can be used for mark making. I’ll list the items here:

  1. Foam balls – They are those little balls that can be used to fill bean bags.
  2. Sprays
  3. Transparent sheet
  4. Cheese cloth
  5. Sandpaper
  6. Felt
  7. Plywood
  8. Bottle cap
  9. Toothbrush (don’t worry it’s clean!)
  10. Pen that is shaped like a grass which is rubbery so I think it will form interesting outcomes
  11. PVC glue
  12. String
  13. Syringe
  14. Fidget spinner

I only have some ideas on what to do with each material, and I’m thinking of experimenting on these items as much as I can in the next session, and see what the outcomes will be before deciding on what each outcome mean to me.

So here are the tools I brought today! Let’s get started.

Our first contester is the fidget spinner! Yes. I thought it will be interesting to spin it and roll it on the paper, since it will create repetitive marks on the paper.

Quite interesting! There are many kinds of mark that can be made despite it seemingly only have one way of making marks. The amount of pressure and the speed of the spin create different results. In medium speed, I can vary the pressure. The softer I press on the paper, the more continuous the mark becomes as seen on the top of the paper. If I press on the paper too hard, the fidget spinner will come to an abrupt stop. This creates a big splat, and it is quite inefficient to create marks this way.

The amount of ink on the spinner also affected the mark. As seen on the bottom, when there is lesser ink, the mark create will be more controlled and faded.

Next up, the bottle cap

Since the bottle cap is off shaped, it is hard to stamp it and create a consistent mark. Thus, I tried dropping it onto the paper, creating this dotted ink marks. It gives off a repetitive and rhythmic look. I tried stamping with the other side of the cap, and created this round Arrival-movie-language-ink-blot-thing, which isn’t very interesting. It’s very uniform, that’s what I can say about it.

Next up, an oriental ornament (say that 10 times real fast). I think what’s interesting is to twist the ornament and spread it onto the paper like a mop. It created this short, broken and inconsistent strokes, almost sharp, quick, speedy. Dabbing the ornament creates just spots that are inconsistent. When I dipped the ornament halfway into the ink and stroke it onto the paper, it created longer and more continuous lines, which can suggest more speed. The whole paper turns black when I dipped the entire ornament into ink and stroke it. Just, messy. The ornament soaks up too much ink, so it can create very heavy marks.

Next we have PVC glue. I’m more interested in the properties of the glue than what it can create so it’s more about how it looks like after it dries. The results turned out to be glossy and thick, and has a texture. It gives this feeling of richness and quality, which I think is very pleasant.

Cotton bud creates a very (or too) consistent result. It works almost like a brush tool in photoshop, which can be boring, but it does give off very solid lines.



Next up, foam balls. I tried using fingers to roll them, only to have my fingers accidentally touching the paper. The outcome is very insignificant, so I tried using more balls, and instead of using my finger to roll, I cut off a piece of cardboard to be placed on top of the foam balls to make rolling consistent. The result is a smoky, yet not overly blur look.

Next up, we have tooth brush. Brushing the ink head on creates very consistent strokes, a pity I didn’t experiment with the strength of stroke. The strokes are very tough and harsh.

Dabbing it creates a dusty and clustered look, reminds me of a plague.

Tilting the toothbrush sideways, the strokes create this very rake-like look, which looks very 3-dimensional and depects movement. It is also very strong and heavy.

I’ve used a syringe and squirted ink on paper. But I didn’t document it because I thought it wasn’t good. Looking back, it isn’t bad. I just need to squirt more ink. I could make it drip, creating a perhaps eerie effect. Or, I can just spam it and see how it looks. A pity.

The spray created a majestic piece. It spreads over from a small area to a big area. There are big splats and small splats, which reminds me of the universe. I guess in a way, they co-exist, and in some weird way it depicts togetherness. Like as if the big blots are living together with the small dots in harmony, even though they are different.

Another interpretation is vastness.

This is the result of rolling styrofoam into the rolling thing. I didn’t do it properly, but it did give a pretty interesting result. The balls created holes in the ink, which gave a quite trypophobic. It also looks like something is looking at you. Somehow a bit disgusting.





This is the underside of the previous result. Looks like landscape. Because the ink only seeps in partially, it looks like it is trying to break out, like somewhat oppressed.






Next, we have nails at the top and saga seeds below. The nail is one of the rejected ones because it looks really meh. The nail created boring stamp patterns (the + on the nail is almost impossible to see here) and the only interesting thing I can get is by rolling the nail. It is as good as using a stick to make marks.

The saga seed marks are made the same way as the foam balls. If we were to compare the difference, it appears more solid. It is also quite random, and it varies in stroke size due to the irregularity in the saga seed’s shape. Don’t know how to describe this.

This is cheese cloth. I like the patterns it created. But I can’t think of what it tells me. Hmmm.




This is also cheese cloth, but I tried dragging it around. It created this smoky effect, which is quite cool. Maybe feels a bit nightmarish, fear?



Next up, my favourite material! Sugar cane fibre. It’s interesting because the fibre have different textures from different parts of the sugar cane. First, I tried using it like a brush, creating a uniform stroke.

Next, I used the side and created this thicker stroke.

Next, I tried rolling it, which gives this very nice stampy effect, like trees. It can’t really be unseen so it sort of gave me a very wild feeling.

Week 2.5: More experiments

Over the week, I want to experiment on different medium. Possibly on wood, plastic, and maybe use tools that scratches. I need to do more research, though. I’m lacking on that part. I’ll update what I wanna do.

Here’s a playlist of my processes in video form.

And here are my latest tryouts:

Here we have: Top: Seaweed, Middle left: Bread, Middle right: Pasta, Bottom: Pasta (rubbing)

I think the patterns formed by pasta is interesting. The lines are uniform, but are short. The direction of rolling the pasta can be changed to indicate different direction of lines.


Bread, full page. I like that it leaves behind small crumbs as I stamp. It feels like it is rising, like slowly floating upwards.




This is clay. Clay, when stamped, gives off a smoky effect. It can seem lurking, looming. Or it can also represent clouded.




Red Dates leave a unique imprint. When put together, they look dispersed, and chaotic.



Glue with gouache paint, which has the same effect as glue with chinese ink, glossy and rich texture.




Salt on ink, close up. This created a crystaline texture that’s quite interesting. It reflects light too! I think it can symbolise prestige?


This is actually the water from the real salt crystallisation experiment, but it didn’t work. I think. It, instead, created a smoky effect that works very well with organic lines, creating a bizarre effect. In some ways it can represent lostness, or feelings of being sentimental, longing. Because of the blend of thick and soft, the way the shape looks (shaky, watery), it feels somewhat like it.


Candle painting. I’m not sure what it makes me feel. It’s quite floaty, but in some ways it gives a sense of danger? There’s depth in the softness, something like that. Maybe passive-aggressiveness.


Youtiao. Delicious, and not exactly great for mark-making cos it’s really oily, and the results are not what I expected (cos I cant think of an emotion to relate). For this piece, I stamped the cross section.


This, I just rub it around the page. It has very heavy weight on one side, and tails on the other. There is a quick flowing motion, very vigorous and lively.



When the syringe is low on ink, it can spray a small mist. The effect, I can’t think of any

Curling comb. I like the hatchy effect it has. Somewhat organised, but also somewhat aggressive.

Pardon my leg haha. This is a piece of fabric, for like kitchen deco. I find it quite plain, but quite straightforward-ish kind of feel. os it’s quite uniform.

This is a tire brush. I really like the effect. It is very sharp, very prickly. Very aggressive. When rubbed against thick paint, it created nice negative strokes that are very sharp and aggressive. When doing the thing on the left, it feels like a clash.


Using fake flowers to stamp. It got this outbursty feel. It also have this disperse effect.

WAFFLES!!! What a waste. The effect is very uniform when stamped next to each other. When stamped randomly together, it got this layered feel, because of the way the waffle is shaped. It could create an effect of being stacked, rising in the 3rd dimension.


Fidget spinner, again! This time, with this mark, it got this optimistic rising feeling that I feel is interesting. I think it’s the way I stroke, and it’s also the way the spinner adds strokes in a very minimal way.

Dried chinese herb. When I stroke it and end it off with a sharp edge, it feels like sharp, painful, but also indicates movement.

Using cooling powder and flour creates a thick texture, that’s rough and vigorous. It feels powerful.

Week 3: Final work processes

So, within this week, I tried fabric and tissue also, and found that they also create interesting marks. Unfortunately I didn’t document them. But what I did document are other materials like cardboard, wood, clear plastic, sandpaper.

This is clear plastic. I used different types of strokes I created to try out (ink + glue, ink + cooling powder, ink + water, pure ink). This is applicable to all my trials. This material don’t work, because when the ink dries, it can be easily peeled off from the material.



Wood is much more absorbant, so a lot of textures will disappear when using wood. Not a good material to use.


Sandpaper is rough, and the background colour can be covered by the ink. There is potential in this material. However, when the ink dries, the paper shrinks for some reason, and it creates a kind of smell. I think a chemical reaction occured between the ink and the sand paper XD.

For fabric, what’s interesting is that when wet ink dries, it folds the fabric along with it, creating a crease.

For tissue, the same thing, but on a smaller scale and is a more permanent effect. The tissue will fold and get stuck there due to the ink, creating many small creases that gives a wrinkly effect, which I think can be associated with dull pain.

Emotional Pieces

I’m just going to document how I did each piece, without explaining what each piece is about or else it will get spoiled for the crit!!


So this is the tissue one. Since tissue is not big enough for the entire size, I tore the tissue into 2, and used 2 tissues, leaving a hole in the middle. Once the glue dries, I started painting.



This is watered ink on tissue.



Close up look, you can see the wrinkles.




Here’s a mixture of ink and flour for my next emotion.

Using ink and flour, which creates a thick texture, I created this piece. This piece is pure black, with the help of folds of the fabric to create a flow to the centre, without the need to use any other marks to draw people’s attention to the middle.



Here’s a version of this piece with white ink, to test if there is a need to use white ink (which I later removed)

I also tried using white, but it wasn’t successful because the fabric stuck onto the table (I should have lifted it up while it was half-dried to allow it to fold). It is quite visible that black has better effect, still. I tried making another black version, but it turned out the same way as the white one, which is quite odd. I guess it has to do with timing the drying process right, by picking up the piece and drying it off the ground when the piece is half-dried.

In the end, I removed the white strokes on the creases as it doesn’t enhance the captivatedness, and in fact, distracts the focal point.

Also, initially I wanted to fold the fabric and then use glue to harden the surface, but it didn’t turn out well. Instead, I tried to just paint directly onto the fabric and see what happens. Turns out the thickness of the ink will fold the fabric on its own, which is interesting to me. What I feel I can improve on is


My next work, I used watered ink to create a backdrop.





I then used a floor brush to create an aggressive and brutal mark.




This is the final look. Two of these were made and this is the better one.



For the next one, I used candles to burn the card for a smoky background. Then, I used watered ink to create a dark and cloudy foreground.


Using a toothbrush, I added a jagged texture to create a disturbed feel.

The final look


Next up, I have a black-painted card and a white wavy design that is going upwards. Simple as that. The mark is made by tooth brush, as it can easily create the layered look I am looking for.


Salt + ink creating the mixture I want for the next piece





The work didn’t turn out the way I thought it did. The effect is different, but I like it!




Close up, you can see the salt clumped up. When it is dried, it will create a jagged effect.



This work would have been made better, on hindsight, if I made the middle much more disturbed and intense, symbolising the great anxious feeling during a breakdown.