Mark making allows you to put down your unique imprint to achieve the effect you want. It’s simply the act of making a mark on your paper, canvas, or other surface of your choice. As you can guess, mark making can apply to almost anything from using a pencil to draw, a pen to doodle, or a brush to paint. More specifically though, there are some techniques that we think of most when we talk about mark making. These techniques give unique effects that help build texture, dimension and interest in your artworks. Use your traditional art materials in surprising new ways, and play with found objects to get expressive marks with everyday objects like credit cards, sticks and even your hands!


Hatching involves drawing parallel lines (usually not very long lines) that are drawn close together to create texture and shading. By varying the distance and thickness of the lines, artists can suggest different levels of light and shadow. This technique is great for creating a sense of depth and volume in a drawing. It works well with various mediums: fineliners like Sakura Pigma Microns or Unipins are excellent for creating precise, clean lines, while a range of graphite pencils in various grades (HB, 2B, 4B, etc) allows for different line thicknesses and shades.


Cross-hatching builds on the hatching technique by adding a second layer of parallel lines that goes across the first layer at an angle. This creates a denser, more textured area of shading, perfect for indicating darker shadows or more complex textures. Cross-hatching can add rich detail and dimension to drawings, making it a versatile tool in an artist’s repertoire.

Fineliners provide consistent line quality ideal for cross-hatching. Charcoal pencils can create rich, dark lines that work well for intense shading.


In stippling, the artist uses small dots to build up areas of light and shadow, and create the illusion of solid forms. The closer the dots are to each other, the darker the area appears. This technique requires patience and precision but can produce incredibly detailed and realistic results.

Stippling is especially effective in pen and ink drawings, where the contrast between the dots and the paper can create striking images. Technical pens and fineliners offer fine, consistent dots. Bullet-nib paint markers can be used for larger stippling projects and more prominent dots.


Blending smooths out marks to create gradients and seamless transitions between colours and shades. Artists use tools like blending stumps, fingers, sponges, or brushes to merge lines and colours softly. This technique is essential for realistic rendering, allowing for the depiction of subtle changes in light and texture. Blending stumps are perfect for smoothing out graphite or charcoal, and soft brushes can blend pastels and coloured pencils smoothly.

Great supplies to get you started:

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