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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > FREE Sample Issue > Mark making

Mark making

Soraya French urges you to push the boundaries and find your inner child as you rediscover the joy of mark-making to paint a mixed-media landscape full of energy and colour

Every painting is just a collection of marks; it is the quality of these marks that determines the success of the work. As young children, long before we learn to write we engage easily and spontaneously in the joyful sensation of mark-making with whatever tool comes to hand, whether it be pencil, chalk, crayon or even food items such as chocolate. Unfortunately, this natural and uninhibited ability diminishes as we become adults and strive for perfection.

This exercise challenges you to find the child within yourself and set aside the urge to create a recognisable image – just use the collection of materials in an intuitive and creative way personal to you to practise and improve your mark-making ability. Take advantage of the tactile nature of your drawing media to really engage with your chosen support, which could be canvas or any type of paper. Use unconventional tools, cards, rollers or fingers without the pressure of producing a finished image – you should feel liberated to engage with your materials directly, getting to know them intimately and to discover how far you can push the boundaries of each one. Combine wet and dry media and change the sequence of application of one over the other to explore the difference. This project should help you find ways of creating random marks that make the painting process look effortless and spontaneous.

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About The Artist

Paint lively watercolour landscapes using the hard and soft edge technique, learn how to capture the movement of water in your watercolours, become a wedding sketchographer, depict the figure in pastels, improve your compositional know-how, develop your colour-mixing skills - all this and much more in this month's issue! Hazel Soan encourages you to you paint informal portraits, BBC1's The Big Painting Challenge winner Suman Kaur shares her top ten tips learnt during the series and David Gould explains how he combines digital and traditional techniques to create contemporary artworks. Soraya French is back to invite you to discover the joy of mark making and create a mixed-media landscape, whilst Jake Winkle reveals the importance of interpreting your subject for more creative results. Charles Williams talks about the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, Ian Sidaway tests the new Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour Paper range, Glyn Macey shows how Andy Warhol's work can inspire new approaches, and Adebanji Alade offers his regular motivational tips to keep you painting with energy and confidence. Enjoy!