Assignment 1 – Flowing and playing

The purpose of this assignment was “to test how you can work spontaneously with little or no forethought, and to allow the elements of image-making like form, shape and line emerge from unconscious experimentation” so that this insight could be further explored/used to develop my own practice.

Key words from the brief:

  • Take a blank piece of paper, ideally A2 size
  • Make marks in the top left-hand corner
  • Work across the paper and begin to fill it with these gestural marks
  • Fill the whole sheet of paper with marks, lines, and shapes
  • Don’t try to fill the sheet of paper in one go
  • The intention of this exercise is to reach the point where you are not thinking about the next mark
  • Take two ‘L’ shaped pieces of card and frame five sections of the paper, about 12-15cm square.
  • Think about the variation of marks, density and visual content of each of the five selected squares.
  • Take photographs of them and give them one-word titles


I worked on a A1 sheet of heavy cartridge paper using Posca Pens and coloured Sharpies of different sizes.


The work was completed in two sessions on seperate days and took 3-hours to complete.

I started with one pen in one corner and almost immediately lost myself in the shapes and lines I was creating. The drawing progressed by me picking a new coloured pen to make marks of a particular type, before moving on to the next colour.


I listened to music for the whole time. This is something I tend to do when I want to ‘get into the zone’.

I turned the paper as I was working, there was no thought of the image having a particular orientation.

All of the marks, shapes and patterns were abstract until the very last layer that had an organic feel of foliage. At that point the image felt finished and had a landscape orientation.

Selected images

The overall image:

Assignment 1 Flow and play image INSTAGRAM
Playful doodle – Posca pens and coloured Sharpies, A1 sized

How I selected the cropped images

The process of selecting the cropped images was done digitally by creating a smaller image size and panning the full-sized image behind this ‘window’ until I spotted an interesting composition. I could have pushed this further by varying scale and orientation.

I was looking for colour combinations, pattern, line and interesting composition.

One word titles

Assignment 1 Flow and play image_06 INSTAGRAM
Selection 01 – Cascade
Assignment 1 Flow and play image_05 INSTAGRAM
Selection 02 – Undergrowth
Assignment 1 Flow and play image_04 INSTAGRAM
Selection 03 – Stellar
Assignment 1 Flow and play image_03 INSTAGRAM
Selection 04 – Frequency
Assignment 1 Flow and play image_02 INSTAGRAM
Selection 05 – Brutalist


  • I found it easy to lose myself in the process of making. It usually takes more time for me to reach that point, but maybe because I had no expectations and didn’t care what the final image looked like I more easily just enjoyed the making.
  • Working with brightly coloured marker pens worked well and gave another dimension to the evolving image.
  • Working at A1 was important – I feel I can express myself more easily working at that scale. The page is big enough to become visually consuming.
  • The free flowing experimental process reminded me somewhat of my experience making 2.2 Investigating a process from Illustration sketchbooks.
  • The cutting up was similar to 1.2 Making mistakes, working fast and cutting up from Illustration sketchbooks. My reflection of doing these exercises at the time was: “I like the quick and carefree approach to generating surprising ideas quickly” AND “I’m interested in exploring how I might use the technique”. Even though I saw value in the process I don’t remember using it.
  • Question: How do I take this learning into practice? What is preventing me from experimenting with this type of technique? This has been added to my list of key questions for research.
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