Oriental brushes are traditional brushes used in Chinese and Japanese drawing and calligraphy. The brush was traditionally used by holding it vertically to the paper and making the marks with free rhythmical strokes. The control in the mark, and the varied weight of mark, are achieved by varying the pressure on the brush. The amount of ink the brush is holding will also have an effect on the nature of the mark. As you can see some brush strokes are strong in definition and some are more textured -others are tonally lighter and more sensitive. In the example shown on page 176, notice the artist's signature - there is i#M # * * # .
the same tension in the calligraphic mark. Although a history of mark making is evident in this brush work, the drawings themselves appear to be expressive, and have a sense of movement and natural rhythm. They are dynamic drawings governed by a strict tradition of mark making. However, you should not be restricted by the traditional approach. Hold the brush in a way that is comfortable for you and make the brush strokes without any preconception of what might occur. You will learn most by taking this approach.
In the following series of examples you will see that there are different degrees of freedom in the kinds of marks made. 1/ In the first example, the mark is loose and free-flowing mark with some control. The marks that imply leaves or grass are where the body of the brush is placed onto the surface of paper and gradually pulled in an arched direction whilst gradually lifting the body of the brush away from the paper. Other marks to create natural forms such as grass can be made by putting the point of the brush onto the paper and dragging it across the surface for a short distance in a series of slightly differing directions.
You can create a series of dots by placing the end of the brush onto the paper. Rows of vertical and horizontal marks can imply texture, perhaps a weave or a basket, or could be used to suggest windows in a building. 2 & 3/ Here the marks are made slightly quicker and imply more rhythm and freedom, although there is still an element of control in them.
4 & 5 (overleaf) The control of the brush in these examples is very limited. The accidental spillages add to the dynamics of the calligraphic effect (the free and rhythmical treatment of a drawing).
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