Warming Up Exercises

0.1 Drawing Small >< Drawing Big

Small: Fill an A5 sheet with 0’s, left to right

  • use different pens
  • use different papers
  • alternate strong and weak hand betw. sheets
  • Evaluate

photo 2.JPG

1. Waterman fountainpen, ink on printerpaper

The writing tools instantly put my body in writing mode: posture, grip, movements, even the taping of the paper to the table at a slight slant to the left followed the six years rigorous writing lessons I got in school.

Movement: for the form out of the wrist, for the movement along the line out of the shoulder in small steps

Rhythm: very prominent, in three parts rythmically repeating 3 distinct sounds: ‘pen to paper’ – downstroke (strong) – upstroke (weak)

Overall: Tidious. Had to concentrate to not do it sloppily

2. Rothring Artpen 2.3, ink on printerpaper

Movements felt much less excercised. First three rows from right to left – until I noticed. Shapes larger – due to writing tool and left hand.

Movement: For the first ovals the hand learned and wrote with only the fingers. Further down it got more confident and the movement also came from wrist and shoulder. The downstroke was quite good, the upstroke kept wobling.

Rhythm: Slower, less prominent

Overall: Not tidious at all. I felt very concious of writing, was exploring and learning.

3 Promarker twin-tip, pointy end on newspaper

Did not feel like writing. Very easy flow. Larger shapes due to thickness of pen (both to hold and with regard to its mark)

Movement: from wrist and shoulder, very sure

Rhythm: as in 1 but less prominent in its sound

Overall: The print on the paper distracted from my shapes, felt like blind drawing at times

4 6B pencil on masking paper

Again, my left hand wanted to start in the upper right cornerm, I noticed and changed. After three rows I also noticed that I do the shapes the other way round. I tried to change that, too, but the new ones got very wobbly and I felt very strongly that I am working against my hand. So I changed back.

The wobblyness of the upstroke showes more with the pencil.The masking paper has a nice grip.

Movement and Rhythm as in 2


Big: Fill an A1 sheet with 0’s in columns

  • use a coal stick in your fist
  • alternate right and left hand after each column


  • I stood over the table for this exercise.
  • It took me some 0’s to find a grip that neither smudges nor makes the coal stick shriek.
  • differences between right and left hand were insubstantial. Only the direction of the 0’s changes
  • With the fist grip my hand gets in the way for my eyes -> hard to position the 0’s

0.2 Drawing in short and long bursts

Short bursts: Fill an A1 sheet with short bursts

  • paper on the wall
  • small, short zigzaging lines
  • alternate hands on the count of 5
  • step back and look


  • Difference between right and left felt insubstantial.
  • I felt I wanted to make the zigzags larger. The energy felt very contained.


  • I had made very few overlapping lines
  • Some of the marks were very energetic and living. They have a different quality at the onset and at the finish and the up- and downstrokes are different. The coal reacts to the pressure I put to it by making broader/narower and darker/lighter marks. These fade into each other and produce a feeling of 3-dimensionality.

Long bursts: Fill the whole sheet with long marks

  • take your time, what marks will you make?
  • work for at least 15 min

I wanted to make long and sweeping marks from bottom to top and from top to bottom.


  • The first, planned, marks I made with the arm only.
  • When I made more complex marks with a rhythm the whole body joined in like in a dance. This felt great! I developped that from onehanded to twohanded and grew it over the edge of the paper.
  • My hands like to work together:
  • When the coal drawn on its side runs thin the fingertips make lighter marks in the coal on the paper and dark marks on fresh paper. I explore that.
  • Crushed coal against the paper to make the last white patches black

By the end all was quite uniformly grey. So I decided to finish off with some really dark strong marks with a thick coal stick:

0.3 Using your fingers, wrist, elbow and shoulder

1 Let the pen dangle

  • A5 paper
  • black pen (I used a Pitt F, a fountainpen with blue ink and a Japanese Brush Pen)
  • only work with your wrist (and fingers?)


I liked this: The marks get erratic and very hard to control from the back of the pen.

It is hard to only work the wrist without the fingers. The two are linked and work together I feel.


I like the marks the brush pen makes when it paints with its side and the transition from fine to broad mark.

2 At Arm’s Length

  • Use the whole of your arm
  • Make straight downward and upward strokes on a A1 sheet on a wall
  • Alternate between left and right and between up and down


The downstrokes were easy, the upstrokes needed som getting used to. When I changed my hand so that I drag the coal in the upstroke, too, it got easier.

3 Using your shoulder

  • A1 or bigger on the wall
  • Work from your shoulders
  • Make a circle with your right arm, then one with your left. Go round the circle several times, until it is thick and black


Before I started I had watched a film with Tom Marioni making a perfect circle, using a straight arm, only moving in the shoulder. I was impressed. But I found it was not all that difficult (although mine are not nearly as perfect as his), provided I kept very still and really only move my shoulder. Then the arm works a bit like a compasses.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s