Don’t Make Art, Make Marks

don't make art, make marks, art journaling ideas


Dear Wonderful, Creative You:

Happy March! I’ve been deep in content creation mode, and I cannot wait to spill the beans about my new class! It’s going to be such an adventurous and beautiful experience for so many of you, who will dive deeper than ever before into your art practices. Stay tuned for more information on that class.

In the meantime, last week we had a wonderful Facebook Live workshop: Simple Marks & Creative Sparks, where I shared tons of art journaling ideas and some inspiration: stop trying to make art, and focus on making marks. I wanted to inspire you to get beyond the need to always create a “product” and get into the mode of exploration, like a deep sea diver – let’s just see what’s down there, and what we can create. If you missed the workshop and want to take it, I’ll be offering a mini version of it soon, so be sure you are on my mailing list so you don’t miss out.


Art journaling ideas

Mark making, whether with a brush, your hands, or random objects, is the basis of most 2-D paintings. The more we understand about the marks and effects we can get with the tools at our disposal, the more fun we have and the more we can say with our art. I find it’s just a ton of fun to explore with repetition, variation, and pattern with mark making.


Art journaling ideas

You really don’t need to make anything prescribed in your journal, just explore and enjoy. That’s what your journal is for. See the sea foam green piece? That has some very subtle marks scratched into the paint, and then I glued one of my mini masterpieces on top. And the black and white pieces? I’d like to try that several different ways to see what happens. If this process of simple mark making and play is speaking you to you, I have a new, live format class that’s open to a limited number of people: Diving Deep: Intuitive Art Journaling. We will be learning to dance between artistic technique and using  impulse and imagination to create your own intuitive style. The class starts April 23rd.


Art journaling ideas


This piece has a lot of marks scratched into paint. I haven’t played with etching in years and it was such fun. I’m excited to do more.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t make art, make marks. #markmaking” username=”amymaricle”]

Don't Make Art - Make Marks, art journaling ideas

Sometimes a really simple page is so pleasing to the eye. It’s restful and rejuvenating. That’s how I feel about this one.


Curious about the supplies I used? Here’s a list with affiliate links:

Strathmore Watercolor Journal

Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook Large

Moleskine Art Plus Sketchbook, Pocket

Liquitex heavy body professional paint, black

Liquitex heavy body professional paint, white

And the small tubes with the super fun colors are from Dick Blick matte acrylic paints line. While I love the colors, I have to say I’m not a huge fan because when you use a larger amount they smell bad, even once they are dry. You can learn from me and take a pass on these, unless you want to use them on tiny areas. Sorry Blick! I’m a huge fan generally.

Tell me, where has mark making taken you? And if you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for my mailing list so you can join me on the next webinar, be inspired by the next post, and share your wonderful new work with the community.

Creatively Yours,




  1. Mary Lee Bensman

    I just wrote this down in my journal! Thanks! I needed this.


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