Making my Mark

Making my Mark

Greetings to my 7.3 readers!

Make a MarkToday, as the title states, I am making my mark. I started out with a blank piece of paper and an idea then went for it. As I worked on the sketch, knowing what I wanted the thing to look like, it changed several times. I call this type of loose idea "letting the drawing have its input."

At this loose rough stage, note how lightly I am sketching. This allows me to change my mind on where something is on the piece and easily erasing then re-sketching without damaging the paper. Remember to always sketch lightly!

I am going to post images of the progress of this piece so you can have a chance to see where it goes from here. It may be good, it may end up in the trash bin, but whatever happens to it I will show you everything.

I'm making my mark, now you make yours!




Make a MarkGreetings all you mark makers out there! 

The attached image is one that I have been working on for about a week now.  Normally it doesn't take me that long to create a drawing like this, but the composition was giving me a hard time.  I actually started this drawing twice as the first one I messed up on.  Hey that happens to everyone!  So, I turned the page and started a new drawing.  I knew that wanted to have a rather misty mountain coming through the clouds in the background, so that is where I started.  Lately I have been putting a lot of trees in the foreground, making a kind of "U" shape with them.  I really wanted to break this trend by putting a rocky hill side on the left hand side, then some trees along the bottom.  After I did that, I have to admit that even though the drawing was just what I wanted it to be, it didn't look right.  In my oh so gentle words, it sucked.  But why did it suck?  I had to think about that for a while and I left the drawing for over a week.

Yesterday, I revisited the drawing and although it still sucked, I realized what was wrong with the piece; it was out of balance.  The detailed cliff on the left hand side really caught your eye and the wide open area was just floating with mist and clouds.  It was so heavy on the left side that it almost looked tilted.  Crap!  At this point, I had two choices.  1) I could simply start a new drawing or 2) Work out my balance issues and finish the drawing.  I chose door number 2.

I would have liked to put another cliff on the right side of the drawing, but I already had a small tree there.  So I added a large tree on the right side that gradually leans into the piece.  Now you might say "hey, that wasn't such a hard solution to come up with."  You know what?  You're right!  Unfortunately I had my brain locked into what I wanted the drawing to be and didn't let it be what it wanted to be.  I know it sounds funny, but listen.  Michelangelo always said that the figures that he sculpted were inside the stone waiting for him to find them.  Drawings are kind of the same.  Sure, I want them to look a certain way, but in truth they rarely do, and I like that.  It is accepting these happy accidents that turn just copying what you are seeing, or dreaming, into a true work of art.

I think the results of listening to the drawing really worked this time.

I made my mark, now you make yours!


Analog vs. Digital

Make a MarkDisclaimer: This is a bit of a rant on my part. My apologies.

I guess you could say that I am a digalog kind of guy. For nearly thirty years, I have been making a living as a graphic designer. I started out using an Exacto knife and a ruler to create layouts and to cut rubylith. Yes, I was a paste-up artist. Now life has changed in the design world and I have had to adapt and persevere and had to learn to use a computer to not only do ad layouts, but to build websites and everything in between. When it comes down to art though, I am all analog.

Yes, I admit that in some ways I am a bit of a luddite. I enjoy putting pen to paper. Getting the mixture of ink and water just right to get the wash that I want. I relish in watching the ink flow differently that it should due to an imperfection in the paper. I really like having no undo. Once you make that mark on a piece of paper or canvas, that’s it, there is no going back. If you make a mistake, you either start over or you learn how to hide it. Basically, I like getting my hands dirty and coming away with a tangible object when I am done.

Some of you might say “Hey Artguy, why are you being so negative about working on a computer? Things change dude and you have to move with the times!” You know some of that is true and some isn’t. I have drawn on a Wacom tablet, and even own a nice one, but I just don’t like the feel of working on them. Granted, I haven’t played around with the latest and greatest versions of them, but the ones that I have used didn’t keep up with my hand. At times I have had to wait for the computer to catch up to where I was in the drawing. That I didn’t like one bit. It stopped my artistic flow.

I never wait for my pen/pencil to catch up to where I was in the drawing, they are the drawing. The thought comes from my mind runs down my arm into my hand to the drawing utensil then ends up on the paper. Now grab a piece of paper and a pencil and make your mark!


Dos and Don'ts

Make a MarkHello greetings and welcome! 

You might be asking yourself "Hey Artguy, where have you been?  How come we haven't heard anything from you in so long?"  The one-word answer is VACATION!!  Yep I was out on vacation and had a great time in beautiful Alaska.  If you have a chance, go, but bring mosquito repellant.

Okay, now to the important stuff.  If you are going to be a mark maker, I am going to give you a few dos and don'ts to follow as you are on your path to becoming (wipes tears from his eyes) artists.  Here we go:


  • Draw, sketch, make a mark in your sketchbook as much as you can
    (Every day would be a good habit)
  • Carry a drawing pad and pen/pencil
  • Be observant
  • Increase your memory of places and things
  • Collect reference materials
  • Believe in yourself


  • Listen to haters
  • Think that you can't
  • Feel you're not good enough
  • Get down on yourself because something isn't turning out right
  • Give up

That was just a quick list of what my post vacation brain could come up with, there are many more.  Now I have a challenge for you.  Come up with your own list of dos and don'ts.  You will find that having these lists in your arsenal will allow you to conquer many things not only while drawing, but in life in general.

Now get out there and make your list, then make a mark.


Take Your Time

Make a MarkGreetings to all you mark makers out there! Today we are going to talk about taking your time.  I see so many people today expecting things to be perfect from the start and if it isn't, to simply walk away and say I can't.  Well, I'm going to through the BS card on that one.  You see I believe with all my heart that anyone can do anything that they want if they put their heart and mind to it.

No matter what you are going to do, draw, play guitar, play a sport, make photo albums, or whatever you want to do, you must first admit that you don't know what you are doing.  That's okay!  I have been drawing for most of my life and there are still many things that I don't know and am still learning to this day.  So take your time and give yourself the chance to learn.  

I was helping my stepson Rob today with some drawing techniques, and I asked him if her were going to draw this cool plant, how would he do it.  He made the rookie mistake of looking at all of the individual flowers and leaves that made up the plant instead of the big picture of the shapes that make up the plant as a whole.  He was describing just as fast as he could all of the many little tiny flowers that made up the plant and the color and every leaf.  All that is great and it shows great attention to detail, but at his stage of drawing experience, he should be looking at the big picture.  That is, what basic shapes are being used?  So, I stopped his report, I hope kindly, and after opening up my drawing pad, showed him how by slowing down and taking your time to find the basic shapes you can find a cool drawing.  All he needed was to take his time.

This is something that I remind myself of every day.  Take your time, draw what is there, be happy with the results.  If you aren't happy with the results, do it again until you are happy.

Now go out and make a mark.