OCA Foundations – Drawing, Project 1: Fractured and Dramatic Marks

Exercise: Fractured Marks


Using charcoal to create different surface marks.

In the first image I held willow charcoal at about 45 degrees to the paper and pushed firmly using the whole weight of my arm from the shoulder in short 1 inch bursts. It reminds me of woven fabric.

In the second image I used the same charcoal, held at closer to 90 degrees and hardly using any pressure swept across he paper starting at the elbow. I reminds me of waves.

In the third image I used firm pressure with whole arm strength pushing upward with my hand at 45 degrees along length of paper. It reminds me of wood pattern.


Cover the page with repeated marks using a small piece of charcoal.

I started by making the cross shapes with small, quick pushing actions with the charcoal on it’s side, noting the darker charcoal as it crosses in the middle. I then wanted to create a softer, curved shape and achieved this by making an oval mark with the charcoal on it’s side. Around and between this I wanted to add harder, smaller marks in a pattern to contrast with the soft tube-like ovals. I enjoyed creating the oval marks and wanted to experiment with continuous curved marks to achieve a varied surface pattern. I then found I could make pleasing fan marks by laying the charcoal on it’s side and slightly twisting one end firmly on the paper.



Repeat using felt pen and a brush and water.

It wasn’t easy to achieve varied marks with the pen I used, but I tried to change the pressure and angle of the strokes. Applying water hasn’t affected the pen marks very dramatically, it’s created some softened areas instead.

Exercise: Dramatic Marks

Use charcoal and a putty rubber to create dramatic, interesting marks.


I started by covering the page by rubbing a small stick of charcoal, on it’s side, over the surface. I then made random curved and linear marks over the top of this. I used a putty rubber next to remove areas of the charcoal by using the rubber as I had used the charcoal, pressing it down firmly and making curved and linear shapes over the page. The next step was to add more charcoal marks over the top. This created some depth in the image. I then repeated using the putty rubber to remove some of the charcoal, and over the top of this made some darker charcoal marks by applying pressure firmly. The resulting abstract image contains some dramatic shapes and marks and the added depth from the layers makes the image quite dynamic.

Use soft graphite pencil to create dramatic and interesting marks.


I covered most of the surface of the paper with pencil by holding it almost flat to the paper and making sweeping marks back and forth diagonally over the whole page to begin with. I then made some angular and some random curly marks over the paper. I used the putty rubber again to remove some areas. On top of this I made some more free-flowing marks, this time pressing more firmly with the pencil. I then repeat the process of removing some areas with the putty rubber and then applying more marks over the top. I find this exercise to have produced a less dramatic image than was achieved in charcoal, but there are some interesting marks and some depth.




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