Exercise 1.3: Making Marks

The aim of this exercise is to create a folio of mark-making, drawing and visual work in response to the three archive items I selected which can be found here.

To start with I am going to write a list of words for each item to help me think about the kind of marks I could make to represent each of them.

1. The Paisley coat

Thick, warm, heavy, weighty, angular, decorative, formal, dense, soft, padded, woven, restrictive, patterned, worn, repaired, textured, tapestry, complicated,

2. The straw hat

delicate, crisp, quirky, woven, braided, silky, scratchy, light, unravelling, coiled, spiral, deteriorating, complex, textured,

3. The suede shoes

smart, fun, oriental, deco, smooth, decorative, earthy, shiny, matt, delicate, sturdy, fans, curves, seductive, lively, faded, worn,

As I initially found it difficult to think of a variety of marks to make I decided to create a couple of sheets of general marks made with a variety of instruments to give me some ideas:

Left image (moving clockwise from top left): smooth sponge, various cotton reels, bundle of sticks, single stick, flannel wrapped stick, rough sponge, foam covered stick, hessian covered stick and cocktail stick (in centre). Right top: foam roller, rolled made from toilet roll tube covered in bubble wrap, brayer (note to self don’t rest them on the roller otherwise you end up with a flat bit!) Right bottom: toothbrush, cardboard, credit card, corrugated card, small piece of wood, scrunched up plastic bag, rolled paper, scrunched up paper, wire wool.

I was then able to compare my archive items to the marks and work out how I could represent the textures and patterns etc.

The Paisley Coat


Above: the Paisley Coat in Worthing Textile Archive that I will be using as my first sample. (It was only when I uploaded this image that I noticed that my Canine Partner can be seen peeping around the coat!)

All three of the above were done on A4, the first two are on cartridge paper and the sketch on the right is on watercolour paper.

  1. The sketch used 4B and 6B pencils with rectangular leads. I wanted to get a sense of the weight of the coat here and so was focusing on light and dark.
  2. A sketch using black ink with various dilutions and a paintbrush to focus on the dark patches within the folds of the silk lining. The stitching was added once dry with a fineliner.
  3. A line sketch of the pattern of the coat around the button. I used a large brush to hold lots of neat ink and attempted to vary line thickness with pressure. Using watercolour paper make the ink soak in much quicker so I had to work faster.

The Straw Hat


Above: the delicate straw and raffia hat from Worthing Textile Archive

4. (Top left) This sketch used a very fine dip pen on thin cream handmade paper. It should be noted that this paper was placed on a separate white sheet to allow the drawing to show. I used the fine lines and the thin paper to suggest the delicate structure of the hat.

5. (Bottom left) This sketch of the inside of the hat was created using a credit card to drag the paint to suggest the delicate crinkles of the silk georgette band inside (the black is fairly heavy at the top and bottom but I didn’t want to introduce colour at this stage). I then printed using the edge of the card to suggest the weaving of the hat.

6. (Right) This sketch of the top of the hat used the rough side of a sponge to represent the denser braiding of the raffia and a cocktail stick to represent the straw weave. I used the rough side of the sponge by dragging it to suggest the silk georgette band on the outside.

The 1920s Suede Shoes


Above: the suede shoes in Worthing Textile Archive


7. (Left) This sketch was of the wear on the underside of one of the shoes. I used the rough sponge to suggest the unworn texture of the sole and dragged the nearly dry sponge in the direction of the scratches from wear. I created this sketch on a strip of rough paper to emphasise the slightly rough texture of unworn soles.

8. (Right) I used a smooth sponge to try to suggest the slightly soft texture of the suede and contrasted that with the smooth bands of the leather from the straps which I created using a stick wrapped in foam. This sketch was done on A3 cartridge paper.

9. One of the appealing aspects of these shoes was their smooth curves, I wanted to create a sketch that tried to capture the rounded nature of the view from the back so used a 4B pencil to create a variety of marks. The firmer marks gave the key structural details such as stitching but using a broader strokes were intended to give a sense of form.


There were two aims to this exercise:

  1. generate a folio of mark-making, drawing and visual work in response to the three archival textile items selected in Project 1
  2. develop your observational skills through recording textile qualities of texture, tone, weight, drape, detail, pattern, surface and scale.

I initially found it difficult to imagine different types of marks so I found creating a sample sheet helpful to convert shapes and textures into a variety of marks. With each drawing I tried to focus on representing a different aspect of the textiles. I think that this will need more experimenting over the course of this module to get more comfortable with trying alternative techniques.


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