Exploring Sound & Drawing

What is the connection between sound and mark making, and how can we use one to enable an exploration in the other?

At it’s most essential, drawing is the result of our bodies moving while we hold some kind of drawing tool. How we move while we draw (how fast, how slow, how carefully, how chaotically) is not something we often consider – we are usually too busy looking at our drawing on the page.

The sounds around us mark and describe the passing of time: birdsong, traffic, machinery, speech, music. Each sound reverberates through our body, and we react, at some level, to everything we hear.
Sound is energy, and our bodies respond with movement – sometimes on a micro scale (a tap of a finger) sometimes through the whole body (we dance).

How can sound become a gesture on the page? The exercises and resources below explore how we can use sound to create energy, rhythm and movement which transform through our body and through the drawing material into mark making on the page.

Find the recording of the Zoom session exploring sound and movement below.


Although not made in response to sound, the work of Japanese artist Tomoko Kawao shows how drawing relies on movement of the body in response to a stimulus. Even when we draw from the wrist with a fine drawing material, the movements we make, the pressure we apply, and our empathy with the material, dictates the marks we make.

mark making and sound

Painting the storm

Drawing to a metronome

Drawing in the dark

Inspired by Miro

a cheerful orchestra

Sketchbooks and Performance