Mark making for beginners, ink & watercolour drawing & painting. | Cally Lawson | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Mark making for beginners, ink & watercolour drawing & painting.

teacher avatar Cally Lawson, “Paint like no one is watching"

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

10 Lessons (21m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is mark making

    • 3. Examples

    • 4. Fine liners

    • 5. Dip pens

    • 6. Twigs

    • 7. Feathers

    • 8. Bottle stopper

    • 9. Project

    • 10. Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class is all about mark making. We will look at the importance of mark making and creating contrast in your artworks. You will learn a variety of techniques to use in your ink and watercolour paintings. We will look at examples and how we can apply these to finished artworks. 


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Cally Lawson

“Paint like no one is watching"


Hello, I'm Cally. I am an Artist situated in Cumbria, North West England on my family's dairy farm. I particularly enjoy teaching beginners drawing and painting, focusing on building confidence and emphasising the importance of relaxing and having fun whilst you paint. I have been teaching and demonstrating on YouTube for the last few years, where I cover a wide variety of media and subject matters. Here on Skillshare I will be aiming my classes solely on beginners, watercolour and pen & wash. Please feel free to contact me if you have any special requests for future classes.



You can see examples of my own work on my website and by following me on Instagram. I work mostly in mixed media, especially liking using ink dip pens and al... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: Hello, Welcome to this Skillshare course, where we're going to be taking a look at making some interesting lines for our ink and watercolor drawings and paintings. And Kali and I enjoy teaching here on Skillshare, beginners and intermediate income watercolor. Those of you that enjoys ink and watercolor, drawing and painting. And perhaps don't sort of my previous courses will be used to work in with a fine liner pen to do your ink drawing. And there's nothing wrong with that. But it does give us some limitations. The lines as it makes a very even. And although we can use techniques such as crosshatching, making dots, using broken lines and et cetera, to get some interest into our drawing. That line is always going to be even because the end of the name is an even shape. So in today's tutorial, what we're going to be doing and what I want you to do at the end of this with your own project is to make it much more interesting lines, to get some more dynamic lines to create some energy and some interest in your drawings and will go up, we're going to use in a few different techniques. So I'll be using a dip pen, the stopper from a bottle, answer natural objects as well. Some of these techniques mean that you've not got just quite as much control over your drawing, but actually that can make them a lot more interesting and gives them a lot more character. So I do look forward to seeing what you've created at the end. And we'll go on now to talking about the importance of mark-making. 2. What is mark making: As beginners to painting and drawing, we can often hear these terms used and not know what the main and the sounds like something off there that we don't understand. And really, this is a very obvious one, not making it something that you will. A lot mentioned entities just as it sounds, not making you making a mark on your Canvas, on your paper. And that Matt wants to be deaf repurpose. It might be there to create form or most often it's that create foam, but also it needs to create interest in. So make your painting or your picture a little bit more dynamic. In a previous Skillshare, casa Tik Tok a little bit about the elements and principles of design and using them in your outwards. And one of those that is very important, these contrast. Now, if all our lines, even in the same, we can have the tendency to make our image a little bit flat and boring. So by using different things and getting your lines less, even, more broken, perhaps some thicker and thinner lines, some heavier lines and some off aged lines. You're going to get some contrast going on between those hard edges of lines on the soft edges. And that's all one tonight your painting, more interesting, new drawing, more interesting over time. Perhaps it's not something you ought to be doing all the time, especially if you're technical drawer and you do an architecture, something like that, and you want to have that control. But narrowed again, it's good to lose a little bit of control. I'm often asked how to make paintings more loosely, how to make things more abstract, more impressionistic. One thing is to change the materials that you use in and maybe use a bigger brush. I'll talk about that quite a bit. Using in your actual painting, a bigger brush can help you free up your paintings. And similarly, if you use something different for not making that you haven't got quite the same control over that you do have with your fine liner. You go into make those marks a little bit more interesting. 3. Examples: Before I go ahead with the demonstration and talk about what you are going to be doing for your project. I just wanted to show you one or two examples of the things that I use to get some interest and some nice not making in my own work. It's something that I particularly like doing. You will notice from a paintings what I tend to do is paint first and then draw over the top. And that's because I loved drawing. And because I like getting that form over the top of the painting. When I'm doing landscapes, the so many nice lines. You go for a walk and there's the line of the Fells, is the line of the walls, the paths, everything seems to me mechanism lovely lines are often sort of meandering. And so I want to get into the painting. So that's why I use a particular style of subdue of drawing over the top of my paintings, obviously with ink and watercolor, you draw him first and then putting the paint at the top. But because watercolor is transparent, that's showing through. And that wouldn't be the same on acrylic because you'll be drawing. So I did do quite a bit of drawing on top of what I've done. So I just wanted to show you a couple of examples of things. Just to show Watson mean really. So with this one, this is on Canvas and this is all acrylic. So I've got acrylic paint and I've also got an acrylic pen, which is basically paint inside a tube, inside a pen. So it's still, you can get the same cause and things. So this is quite an even nib, but you can get to E, can get different nibs. That you can see how this is perhaps not as interesting lines as in some of the others where I use charcoal, where it's good, you're getting different widths of line, etc. Just by changing the pressure on your hand and lifting the pen, quite often you can get something a bit more interesting, but it don't just use the pen for making my lines. You'll see all sorts of lines here indicating the grass and the lay of the land. The richest used by scraping off the paint. So when we're talking about Mount making, we're not just talking about drawing with the pen. We can also be talking about the maps that we're making, the payment. So I was scraped some layers off to reveal layers underneath. And you can see that that makes these nice lines as well. So that's one example really using these acrylic line is on top of the acrylic paint and layering things up and, and making a variety of lines. So here you'll see I've got some very straight lines for these trees and then lots of curves and things to indicate the land. And keeping it very loose and impressionistic as well. Well, that's a warm side. And this one, again, this is on Canvas, but this is on a canvas paper rather than a box canvas like that one. And again, I've got acrylic paint, but on top of got charcoal. And if you look, you can see there's quite a difference. The charcoal isn't a stronger line assays. And in some areas it can be very light and delicate because you've not pressed on and in other areas it can get really, really dark one there. So it's not just about the pressure you put it on, but also obviously the directions of your lines and things. And again, I've got all to scrape it out here. This just looks like a scribble. It isn't just a scribble, but it just gives the impression of the land going towards the focal point here. So you're not just using your lines to create form and to actually draw something. You're also using your lines to draw the viewer's eye to a focal point. So the focal point, and this is very obviously they loved us in the background, these mountains here. And you can just use some lines to draw the eye in that direction, but also indicate bits of grass and Brock and and everything else. So that one is charcoal, which I use a lot, but you wouldn't necessarily use that with watercolor. That was just for an example to show you some of the things I do with my own work there. Okay, So we'll go on now. And first of all, we'll talk about the fine liners and then we'll move on to talking about the other things that we're going to have a go at using today. 4. Fine liners: We'll start by taking a quick look at the fine liners and I have loads of days and you will see me use them before if your regular to my Skillshare courses. And I have lots of different sizes and I have different colors as well. But the one thing that they've all got in common is they've got an even nib. So like I said before, you're always going to get that even shake. And we can't get more interested in lines by reducing the pressure on the pen by lifting it off. So as you go along, you lift the pressure off. A linear line is a little bit different and we can use crosshatching. And we can, we can shade areas in, and we can use things like dots and dashes so we can make more interesting lines if we want to. And these are very useful. They're very useful for things that require precision. And, you know, if you're doing lots of detail on some flowers or something like architecture where you want some nice straight lines and some nice even lines than they are very, very useful and handy to have because the very portable and very quick tools to pick up and start drawing with. So I really do like these. And, and the most important thing is that they are waterproof and fade proof, waterproof so that you can then paint on top of them with the world. So cause and fade proof so that they're not going to fade over time and that you're going to lose your drawing. So those are two things to look out for when you're buying them. And it doesn't really matter on the browns or whatever, as long as you look for those to these particular ones are uni PIN, which I do rather like. Okay, so we'll put those to one side because you're not going to be using those today. Well, this whole thing is about making some different marks and having a try with some different things. 5. Dip pens: The first thing we're going to take a look at is a dip pen. Now, mine as you can see, is that an awful lot of use. It's cracking down here. I've had it for a long time. I've got different nibs are keep changing the nibs. But you can buy obviously all sorts of different sizes of nibs and different shapes of nibs. And quite often you can get those secondhand somewhere like eBay or something. I think I've got mine was somebody had been having a clear out and I've got a big box of all sorts of different nibs. So the ink that I'm going to be using today is the tail around it. Acrylic ink. You can use whatever you like, whatever dip ink you've got available to you. But this is a nice acrylic ink and it's a black one. I've got all sorts of different colors, but for today we'll just be using the black. Now when you work in with ink, it's a good idea to have some water around and it's a good idea to have some tissue around because we can make mistakes and we can't have some spills. So I'll pop that stopper to one side. And we'll fill our pen now because I've not used this pen for awhile, will be dry. You want to just make sure that it's fully loaded before you start making your marks. So you can have a nice thin even line in the same whether you've got an IV in line with these. Or you can really vary the pressure and the line making there. So you can go really thin to really thick. So that's where you're going to get a lot more interest in your drawing. Unlike say, you can do that because you can get lots of different thicknesses in pens as well. Now, I just wash this off in water once I've finished with my drawing. So don't go out and buy a pen, especially if you've not got one. There are other things that you can use, but like say they are sometimes easy to find on things like eBay. 6. Twigs: Now although the dip pen was a little bit more interesting than the line appends. You still get an uneven line and it's still quite predictable and controllable. You can't make splatters and spots with it if you're not careful, but it's much more controllable than these. So these are some tweaks. Now. You could just use them by using the content and just dip into, into the ink. Or you could shake the ends. Now these are some old ones I've had hanging around for a while and they've gone very dry and quite brittle. These are some new ones that I've just made this morning. So all I do is get my craft knife. And I just make a shape at the end similar to a pen nib. And that way you can make lots of different sizes as well. And when they're nice and soft, light and fresh. And this is sort of dump. It draws up being much better because you've got the soft center here then these ones, well, but you can still make some nice marks with your old ones. So I'll just try these out because it's completely new and I've not used it before. I have no idea what kind of mountainous is going to make. And this makes things quite interesting. So plenty of ink the and as it runs out, you can make more interest in lines and you can see it's really not. So you've got these broken lines as well. And it will run out because it's new. And you need to keep dipping it in and let in its so-called. So you can see that already we're getting much more interesting marks than we did with the pen there. Let's have a look at the thinner one. It's quite a nice shape that one. So you use them on the sides. Look at that lovely Matlab's made that little gap. So that's going to be quite interesting in a picture. Okay? So very unpredictable. So those of you that like control may not enjoy this quite as much. And these are quite dry, so they're not going to hold a lot of ink. But you can still use them. You can still use them or look at that on its side. Track the ink around. There's all sorts of things you can do with those. Okay. So I'll put those to one side. And I have loads of days because all you need to do is just pop outside into the garden with the second tears and you consume, gets some more. 7. Feathers: And there are lots more natural objects that you could use. You could use the end of some grass. You could use some leaves, all sorts of things just to drag across the paper with some ink. So I've actually found some nice little feathers. And you could use those just by dipping the Min. Again if you wanted to, you could cook some of these off the end, but that's going to make a really nice, interesting shape and line using that. So see how we get a much more expressive now as we go on with these different objects. So there's all sorts that you could do with those feathers. Much less control, but much more interesting and dynamic. 8. Bottle stopper: And the last example I'm going to give you today, the one that I use quite often because again, it's really handy. You've got this bottle here that comes with this little stopper. And when you press that, it soaks up the Apache soaks up link. So you can fill that with ink. And then slowly, not let myself much room here, but slowly for a little bit of pressure on the stopper and use it to draw with. And you can get some splatters and you get all sorts of shapes and very little control, to be honest with you. But look how nice size, just by changing the pressure on the stopper and dragging it along. Sometimes you're not even putting pressure on the stopper, your chills dragging around. So that's another great way. Now, if you can you see how that's really splurged out, then there's an awful lot of ink with the acrylic things. If you leave them to dry like that, the contents to dry a little bit shiny. So just get the corner of a tissue and lift that soap before it dries. So that's why you need your tissue handy, engineered water handy just in case anything goes completely wrong and you I do spilling ink everywhere. Okay. Now we'll go on to talking about the project that you're going to be doing yourself. 9. Project: Your project on this course is going to split into, firstly, you need a sheet of paper, preferably a watercolor paper or mixed media paper. Not just an ordinary cartridge paper. And JOS shaped of experiments and examples of different mark-making so that you can do with some ink. Now, if you haven't gotten a dipping, don't worry, you can have a go at this using some water color paints. So mix a nice thick watercolor paint job and used up fig making him ops for doing this bit of an experiment. If you don't have any ink and you can use things like coffee actually as well. So whatever you can find, like I found the feathers and the twigs, you might want to go out and find some leaves and bits of Stakes. I'm trying to think of anything else, the macro objects around the house. You could chop some pieces of cardboard loop. You could use Azure know all tools, all sorts of things that you've perhaps got lying around. Plastics, quite good, good way of recycling plastic to you. You get those Chinese containers made out of plastic and their craft flash sheet and you could cause me shapes out to them and use those to drag across your paper all sorts of different ideas that you could use and you could actually use all paint brushes as well. So the first part of your project is to get that she'd get the things that you've got to hand, DO grounds and buying things, especially things that you've got to hand that you could recycle, use to make some marks with our ink or paint on that sheet and just have a really good practice and don't worry about what it looks like too much. Secondly, once you've done that and once you've seen which things you might use in the most, choose those few things that you like the most for making your marks with and then do a nice drawing of some flowers or some leaves. Something natural effect would lend itself to these lines. So I'll leave that with you. That's entirely up to you. I will pop a few photographs in the reference section here of things. I think you might like to have a go at painting and drawing. But of course you can also just go outside and find a single leaf might be quite nice to do. You've got all the veins in the leaf that you could make them out to do those. Ij, It's a wild flowers that they do these very quickly. Just make sure that your inks dry before you put your watercolors on afterwards. But really this course is more about withdrawing than the painting. Okay, so I look forward to seeing those. And once you've done those two things, you can then upload them for me to have a look and give you a critique back if you would like that. 10. Conclusion: To conclude, I just wanted to say that this isn't something that we always have to be doing when we start a painting or drawing. Think about the subject that you're drawing on, the size of your canvas, the size of your paper, what materials are going to lend themselves to that thing that you're drawing. These techniques would probably lend themselves to suit them that you want to go to movement into and out of character into. Imagine a cap Jumpin also use a lot that you might want to get the extra energy in there by using these different lines. So stop and think before you begin as to what you want to convey in that painting really and what your subject is. So, like I said before, some suggests will still lend themselves to using your fine liner. So it's not a case of always using these techniques is a case of using them when you feel you need to and it's a handy tool to have and to have when you play in a phone. Because when we're actually experimenting and playing with different techniques, that's when we find our own style. And that's what we found, what we enjoy and what things work. That sheet that I made before much show you up here somewhere when I was just messing about showing you the different lines and things. Afterwards, I tipped it, open it all around and they actually look like a good free to face into that piece of paper. So once that's dry, I'm going to try and paint on top of it and perhaps put a face into that shape. So you find things like that that you wouldn't have found normally if you'd have just been very, sort of fast in your drawing and very methodical with it. So to free yourself of just B, a little bit more experimental. And for those of you that are painting regularly and watch do this as a career. If you've got a day where you're not feeling like you want to paint, you're not, you don't know what you want to paint. Just get all your materials out, get some cheap paper out, and have a bit of a play and make some marks. And that way you'll find your own style and find what you enjoy doing and you get back into it. Okay, So thank you for joining on this Skillshare course. I hope you found it useful. I'll be back against him with another because in the meantime, I hope you enjoy your painting and drawing. Bye Bye for now.