1.2 Making mistakes – working fast and cutting up work

Key words from the brief:

  • Remember anything goes in this exercise, you are aiming to make mistakes
  • ‘Draw’ what is in front of you – if the implement is unwieldy make an unwieldy ‘drawing’
  • ‘Draw’ what is behind

  • ‘Draw’ what is to the left of you

  • ‘Draw’ what is to the right of you

  • Spend a maximum of 5 minutes filling the whole page
  • Make a note in your chosen sketchbook about how you felt whilst doing this exercise
  • Create 4 small books from these drawings
  • Record your 4 mini books in your sketchbook in some way as we will be altering them in the final exercise
  • Show your work in progress

My approach

I selected four mark making tools and 4 x different media and various colours.

Mistakes 01

I decided to work at A2 size which would allow me to be more expressive and expansive. The four drawing approaches were:

  1. Sharpie and Posca marker pens
  2. Sponge and Indian ink
  3. Finger painting using Poster Paint
  4. Roller (used for printmaking), and Poster Paint

I decided to draw each of the four views, front, right, left and behind, with all four drawing methods. I would then have more options to choose from when making the booklets.

My everyday subject was the kitchen; this is the largest room in the house and has a tiled floor which is easy to clean.

I timed each sketch using the stopwatch on my iPhone – all were done in 5-minutes or less, with the sponge and roller prints completing in 3-minutes or less.

Front view

Right view

Behind view

Left view


In order to create the booklets I selected sketches that had good overall coverage across the page and the ones that had the most interesting (and often boldest) marks.

I made at least one booklet for each drawing approach.

Individual page scans – contact sheets

Each page of each booklet has been scanned at 200 dpi for future reference and possible use.

Contact sheets including file names below:


Can you work in it again with another mark-making implement or colour? Or, do you want to leave it as it is?

  • I found the cutting up really interesting because it generated a whole load of new material for future reuse by making me see things in a different way – I guess that was the whole point of the exercise.
  • The bold black and white marks work the best, and of those my favourites are the ones made with a roller and poster paint.
  • I didn’t want to work back into the booklets with more colour or different media, but I did see potential in working back on top of a couple of the 5-minute sketches using Posca acrylic pens for outlining. I like the results:


Are other ideas sparked from looking at each page? Are you reminded of something else?

  • Some of the black and white pages remind of abstract expressionist paintings and have the potential to be reused as the basis for future illustrations.

Which format do you prefer?

  • I was working at A2 size for the original rapid sketches and even then the pages of the booklets were all relatively small. I preferred the larger format booklets in either landscape or portrait. The double pages seemed to work the best.
  • I don’t really understand the purpose of the pocket booklet although I know this is the subject of the next exercise.

What can I take from this exercise?

  • I like the quick and carefree approach to generating surprising ideas quickly.
  • I’m interested in exploring how I might use the technique to create story/comic frames quickly. One the challenges for me to date when illustrating narrative sequences is that my drawing style is very time consuming. This technique might be a way to shorten that process whilst giving the illustration a distinctive feel. This is something I’ll probably explore further in Assignment 1.
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