Project One – Exercise 1: Expressive lines and marks

Here I will learn about how to express my own emotions and feelings through leaving different marks on a surface. Will they be visible as such to the viewer? This reminds me to my research trail about the energy of vitality and drawing as motion. And last not least the visual language in pictorial form will tell the story.

For the exercise I used A1 multipurpose paper. I put the sheets onto the rough wall of my studio after folding them twice. As drawing tools I chose ink with a broad bamboo pen, sanguine oil based pastel, willow charcoal, and black litho chalk. As the fourth feeling state ( besides ‘anger’, ‘joy’, ‘calm’) I chose ‘surprize’.
It took me one whole day to complete this exercise with clear breaks in between in order set me into the right mood and feeling state.
I wrote the words and thoughts that crossed my mind after finishing one ‘feeling’ sheet into a small notebook after the complete exercise below each photographed image.

Stefan513593 - project1 - exercise1 - expressive marks and lines 1-2

Stefan513593 – project1 – exercise1 – expressive marks and lines 1-2

Stefan513593 - project1 - exercise1 - expressive marks and lines 3-4

Stefan513593 – project1 – exercise1 – expressive marks and lines 3-4


It took me a while to get me in the right mood for this exercise. I chose ‘calm’ first, as I was a but agitated and excited and I wanted the drawing process to support me in ‘calming’ me down. At the end that worked. With the other three feelings was it easier to get into the right drawing mood. I found that the chosen four drawing tools were given me a different ways for expression. However, not all worked best for all. Also as I put the sheets on the rough studio wall the structure of the wall came through especially with oil pastel and litho chalk. Here my experiences with the four chosen drawing tools. If I mention here ‘worked well’ than I mean that I felt a natural flow and connection between me, the tool and the paper during the drawing process.
• Charcoal: worked best for ‘anger’, not so well for ‘calm’, it surprised me for ‘surprize’
• Litho chalk: worked very well for ‘surprize’, not so well for ‘calm’
• Oil pastel: worked well for ‘joy’ and ‘surprize’, not so well for ‘anger’
• Ink&pen: worked well for ‘calm’ and ‘joy’, for ‘anger’ I got surprised that it worked

I felt that I can express feelings with different media, drawing tools. I did not worked with different paper qualities. This might be good as another exercise in the future. At the end I was able to experience myself how my own emotional state as well as external factors (music, light etc.) influence my way of drawing and expression. The visual language of the pictorial form reflects the mood I was in doing the drawing process.

Overall, I can see that this exercise just demonstrates one aspect of expressive drawing. It opens me further the door to new discoveries for my work.

Reflection the day after:

I looked at my drawings again and was wondering about the visual language I applied. Here my thoughts:

  • Calm: slow moving shapes, horizontal or circular and repeating movements, structures, spirals
  • Joy: bending lines, vertical, upwards movement, lightly shaded, some circles, free space around structures
  • Anger: crisscross marks, unoriented, dark areas, are there hidden human features? a face first upper left, a torso both bottom pictures? How did they appear?
  • Surprize: smoother, rounder shapes, perception of forms, it seems there is development ongoing in the structures, very opposite to ‘anger’, shaded shapes


Stefan513593_exercise: expressive lines and marks -day after

Stefan513593_exercise: expressive lines and marks -day after



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