Mark Making Journey

Mark Making Journal on Sketchbook (Bookwork)
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Different marks are visualisations of different forms of meaning.

  • Thin Lines suggest frailty or it can also convey a sense of small elegance
  • Thick Lines suggest boldness and strength
  • Horizontal Lines suggest calm and steadiness
  • Vertical Lines suggest stability, especially when thicker and bold actions
  • Curved Lines expresses fluid movement and is rather dynamic in direction; differs when the curve is small or large
  • Zigzag Lines create sudden excitement or quick movement; it can also suggest nervousness

Experimentation in class using different materials with black ink/paint.

During the start of my experimentation, I have not chosen 6 specific emotions yet and was exploring with the different marks different material makes.
I started with using a rubber band with ink to create a line splattered effect. I quite like the outcome of this (image shown below) as it produces different print each time I ‘pull & release’/sling the rubber band around the sheet.


Moving on from using the rubber band and creating textures on the paper, I used a small piece of crumpled paper to experiment what mark it would make.

I also experimented with placing a long chain on ink and subtly dragging and smacking it on to the newsprint paper. It created a sort of repetitive yet asymmetrical pattern. It somewhat resembles a pacing movement… maybe it could fall into the emotion of anxiety?…


Taking a piece of a broken disc, I made small tore marks on black inked paper to represent the emotion of irritation. The emotion of irritation would drive me to tear and break things out of releasing my frustration within, resulting the mark made below.

Comparing tore on ink and without:
I feel like the tore without ink has a clean cut vibe and does not show much of the emotion ‘irritation’ whereas the tore with ink shows the emotion much more, emphasised by the dry brush strokes.

Over here, I used bubble wraps with black paint to stamp on paper to mirror pacing steps from the emotion, anxiety.  Splattered watered down paint using a brush to explore the different mark it produces.

Paint on masking tape:

Using a palette-knife with ink to create an explosion-like to make a firework structure for the emotion, zest.  


Definition: great enthusiasm and energy
My Interpretation: a burst of great energy; an imitation of fireworks. I used a palette knife black paint on acrylic paper to create the lines, creating a circular lined shape. I tried experimenting with ink or splatting paint on paper but it did not mark off the way I pictured zest.

Definition: an unexpected event +/-
My Interpretation: To me, I like to see surprise as a positive noun. I had interpreted this surprise into something bubbly and positive. Therefore, I experimented with different materials to create round bubbled circles in the light of positivity, adding on a range of different sizes and style of a circle to represent the different surprises. 

Definition: A gentle feeling of warmth and softness.
My Interpretation: the feeling of wholeness; brings about a soft fuzzy feeling. Instead of using round and smooth curves or lines, I wanted to show the fuzzy feeling you get from affection as well as an interaction piece where the viewers can touch. Affection is something shared between two or more people, so I created a ‘3D’ form where it is more interactive, which is by using cotton as it is a soft and puffy. By covering the whole sheet with cotton, it suggest the wholeness from an affection.

Definition: sorrow; unhappy
My Interpretation: faded out; grey. When I think sadness, I think of a mellow grey field. This lead me to water down the ink or paint and I wanted to bring in the dripping/flow effect of the stability yet toned down feel as the emotion creeps on you. It is not a sudden emotion but a mellow calm emotion that slowly weighs you down. I experimented this on a plexiglass acrylic but it did not capture the grey tone as much as the acrylic paper, which is why I had chosen to use at the end. 

Definition: the state of feeling annoyed and slight anger
Through irritation, it is that slight burning annoyance in your heart that would lead you to drive a pen crazily on a paper that rips it. This is the picture of the emotion, irritation in my head. I tried creating scratch/ripping marks on wood and acrylic paper but it did not show the effect I had in mind until I tried it on newsprint paper. The crumpled effect it gives with unclean tears. I added the marks of black watercolour paint using a dried marks to show the rough ‘scratch’ effect to emphasise the negativity of this emotion.

Definition: easily agitated; anxiety
My Interpretation: fidgety actions; pacing back and forth. When were nervous we tend to bite our nails, fiddle with our fingers or an object, or even walk back and forth out of panic. I wanted to show these actions on a print when this emotion comes and we suddenly start to panic. First, I experimented with metal chains, repetitive slice marks and zig zag cross lines to show the jitters, tangled up conscience and the continuous pacing of our steps. At the end, I came about using a bubble wrap with black paint (with some diluted black water colour paint to show the faint conscious grip we have and a moment of anxiety). It mirrors the pacing of our foot steps back and forth, all around crossing the same marks all over the sheet till its no longer a simple white sheet but a lost of thoughts that is all over the place.



Overall, I had enjoyed this project although it was quite difficult for me to express emotion without colour. I always pictured emotion with colours better than printed words or marks, so, through this project I learnt how to express different emotions through a variety of experiments with different mediums, medias and tools to create the mark of an emotion b&w. Especially with positive emotions, I learnt to think more out of the box on how to show the emotions, through various experimentations as it is quite hard to produce the coloured images/ideas in your mind and printing it out as a black and white form.