Warm-up – temporary drawings

Exercise 1 Warm-up – temporary drawings Try some of these unusual drawing activities. If you can, ask someone to photograph or film you working. You can then look back, see yourself drawing and jot down your thoughts after the temporary drawing has gone.

• Squeeze and drip washing up liquid into the sink.
• Drag a stick in the sand.

• Pull a bicycle through a puddle and create marks with the wet tyres.
• Go outside at night with a small torch or sparkler and wave it around.

These are just a few ideas to get you used to the idea of drawing as something fleeting, expressive and playful. You may want to find other ways. Remember to document your activities and reflect on what you’ve done in your learning log.


Temporary drawing – washing-up liquid: 1 kitchen sink and several kinds of fluid for drip drawing – from watery to thick – thick, viscous stuff is best.

Washing-up liquid drawing video cliphttps://vimeo.com/126687547

Temporary drawing – sand drawing: I set up a temporary small sand pit in my studio for this and filled it with fish smoker dust to act as sand. Levelled out, I drew first on dry ‘sand’ then on wet. Wet is best.

Video marks in the sand video cliphttps://vimeo.com/126676164

Temporary drawing – engine oil: 1 sheet white A3 paper + 1 oil can with old engine oil – recycling or what! This was the best fun – I really like that old red oil can.

Drawing in oil video cliphttps://vimeo.com/126686980

Temporary drawing – night torches: 3 x torches with yellow, orange and red filters fitted over the lenses using white tack to secure. A wee bit of spectral dancing here – silence, wind noise and colours moving. A bit tricky managing 3 torches at once!

Torches for drawing   Night torches video clip   https://vimeo.com/126723657 

Warm-up temporary drawings pdf file


I was a bit apprehensive starting this warm-up exercise as I had never done anything like it before. But it turned out to be quite a lot of fun experimenting with different materials as drawing tools – sticks, liquids, oil, torches – and different surfaces – sand, paper, night sky.

I have been reading Margaret Davidson’s “Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques” and am intrigued by her observation regarding the relationship of the surface to the mark:

“However, in both modern (1900-1950) and contemporary (1950 to present) drawing, thanks to Seurat, artists have a choice between making a drawing that is based on or about the image, or making a drawing that is based on or about the surface/mark relationship.” Davidson, M. (2011) Contemporary drawing: key concepts and techniques. [pdf] New York: Watson-Guptill Publications. Location 324.

I think all of these warm-up drawings definitely illustrate the latter aspect of making a drawing. There are no ‘images’ as such is any of these drawings, at least nothing that is particularly meaningful or obvious. What you see here are marks placed on various types of surface ‘canvas’ – eating into the sand, or sliding around the paper, or moving in the darkness – all of a temporary nature and more about the surface/mark relationship than about trying to capture or create a distinct image.

Stuart Brownlee – 512319
4th May 2015