Mark Making Tricks: How to Turn Your Doodles into Personal Imagery

Doodling is hot these days. Whole books are written on the subject. Doodling as mark making can be an end in itself, or, as I wrote about in a post last year, doodling can be a springboard to ideas in art journaling.

collage with mark making by margaret applin
Layered collage by Margaret Applin, created with
mark-making and printing techniques.

So, what if you have an art journal or notebook full of doodles and want to do something else with them?

Here is a list of ways you can use-and re-use-your doodles and other mark making experiments in your art.

Trace them. So you’ve got a great doodle and now you want to use it in a collage or painting. Put a piece of tissue paper or deli paper over the doodle and trace it with permanent pen or ink. If you want a smaller or larger version of the doodle, you can resize it on a copy machine before tracing.

Turn your doodle into a stamp. Cut out the shapes of a simple doodle (or part of it) from sticky-back foam and apply to a block or another piece of foam (non-sticky). Now you can print your doodle over and over again.

Scan your doodle. Once your doodle is scanned into your computer, you can manipulate it with editing software. Then print the new version on tissue paper, fabric, or regular printer paper to use in collage and other art.


Doodles and mark making with paint and brush
handmade stamps from mark making
Mark making with brush strokes (top)
and stamps inspired by doodles.
Both by Margaret Applin.

urn your doodle into a screen. Once your doodle has been scanned, you can save it and send it to a service that makes Thermofax screens. You can have different sizes made and then use them over and over again to print the image on fabric and paper.

Turn your doodle into a stencil or mask. Cut out sections of an enlarged, copied doodle and use the positive parts as masks and the negative as a stencil.

Doodle differently. Instead of doodling with a pen, marker, or pencil, try doodling large with a paintbrush and ink or black paint. Or, use another implement, like a stick, a sponge brush, or an old silicone pastry brush (not to be used again for food). Doodling this way will really allow you to personalize your mark making art.

It’s fun to just spend a couple of hours creating doodles and mark-making tools for your art. Build up a stash of tools, prints, and printouts, and you will be ready to create your next masterpiece that will look like no one else’s.

Mixed-media artist Margaret Applin is a master of mark making techniques and turning your personal imagery into unique art. She has a new Cloth Paper Scissors WorkshopTM video that explores these methods and more, Paint, Print, Layer, Collage: Techniques for Creating and Collaging Personal Imagery. Margaret demonstrates so many fun and easy ideas, you won’t know which one to try first.

P.S. How have you used your doodles in your art? Tell me about it in the space below!


Blog, Mixed-Media Techniques


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.