Exercise Your Creative Ability to "See" | Mark Making Ideas

Hi, I’m back with a tip from my new video, Art Journal Mark Making and Throwing Ink.

The process of mark making is primal and free and FUN! You never know where it will take you. At best, it turns into an outstanding piece of art. At worst, it turns into a background that you can build upon. No matter what, the time you spend mark making is never wasted!

Mark making ideas for mixed-media artists
Mixed-media art by Dina Wakley

Mark making involves making marks, and then looking at the marks to see patterns and shapes. I’ve taught this in class many times, and there is always a student who has a difficult time seeing things in her marks. I think that the “seeing” is a creative muscle that you can exercise. When you practice, the muscle gets stronger. You then get better at seeing and it comes more easily. Here are a few tips for exercising your “seeing” creativity:

• Find someone to “see” with. It helps to practice with someone else so you can get another perspective.

• Look at the clouds every day. Focus on shapes. Don’t be literal! Pretend you are five years old and throw away all logic and reality.

• Look at patterns in rocks and in walls.

• If you’ve made marks on a page, turn the page in all directions to get a new view.

• Look at small areas instead of big areas. Sometimes a manual cropping tool will help. Cut two L-shaped pieces of cardstock and arrange them in a square over your piece. Make the square bigger or smaller and look in isolated areas of your piece.

• Practice every day. You can’t do it once and think you’ll improve. You need to get your mind used to a new way of seeing the world.

The better you get at seeing, the better your finished art becomes. What’s your favorite shape to see in the world?


Art Journaling and Lettering, Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


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