Mark Making Part 14: Title card with smudged charcoal marks

Mark Making Part 14: Compressed Charcoal, Graphite Sticks, and Powder

Onward with my mark making project! This time was all the charcoal that makes a giant mess: compressed charcoal sticks, vine charcoal, charcoal powder, and then graphite powder and sticks.

Music really helped my relax into these and feel free. The first “tree”-like drawing was super tense and stressful, but I’m guessing that’s an artifact of just long stretches of time between making art. Once I gave myself permission to slow down and just enjoy marking up a page, it because so much better (and faster!)

I especially liked the drawings done on light blue paper and red paper, respectively. I ended up going for kind of abstract eye motif. It was fun to get a little creepy with it.

The idea to pin them to my bulletin board worked great to keep them out of the way as I finished each page, but I wish I had photographed them on a simple background – the harsh texture of the cork board just looks weird to me. The photos were taken with my iPhone, late at night with my drafting table lamp, which also didn’t help. Lessons learned, to try to have more cool-tone background and light. Or use sunlight at lunch time, instead of waiting til 9pm to take photos of my artwork.

I’m now (finally) half way through my list of mediums. From here it’s oil pastels, fountain pens, nib pens, and then water soluble pencils and finally paint! I’m happy with how this series has been turning out, even if the thing I’m trying to learn the most is how to make art without anxiety.

I don’t know why I keep surprising myself with how angsty I can get about making art. It’s easier to distract myself with Netflix and YouTube than face down what’s making me feel uncomfortable to have a daily art practice. I feel like I don’t have any spare time and that art and posting to my blog takes way too long. The pressures of cleaning my house, planning meals, staying in touch with friends and family, and all my other goals just seem to press down on my mind and make me feel breathless. Perhaps a tarot reading and meditation will help me sort out my torn feelings. Or I keep thinking of re-reading Women who run with the Wolves, which I remember talked at length about creative cycles and energy.

It’s hard, forming a new habit out of an old passion. My art skills feel so very neglected, from all these stops and starts. Is it strange, that rather than think of it as a destination to a goal, it’s more like going on a road trip with my muse, willing myself to move a little further everyday? It’s the moving that’s important, not some grand map or plan. At least, I hope I’m finding a way forward.

Listening to: The clicking and clacking of my mechanical keyboard
Current mood: anxious

I'm an illustrator and web developer honing my skills and learning all I can about drawing, painting, and storytelling through visual art.