How Mark Making Can Help Anxiety & Stress

Mark Making

“Mark Making” describes the different lines, dots, marks, patterns, and textures we create in an artwork. It can be loose and gestural or controlled and neat. The minute you put your hand, brush our tool of choice to your surface of choice you are in fact “Mark Making”.

Mark Making first starts when we are children. I like to think back to the time my very young mother who could barely feed and clothes us was gifted a brand new white bedspread that I “Mark Maked” red nail polish all over. Truly, I am happy that I am still alive today. The wonderful thing about hearing this story as an adult is understanding that as a 3-year-old, I was making big, bold, and brave marks in the world intuitively.

Marking marks as children is innate. We have not only been making marks since youth, we have also as a society been marking marks for centuries. The older known mark was found in the Blombos Cave in South Africa, and it is said to be around 73,000 years old. The mark was left in red, a .5-inch-long piece of stone, discovered by a team of researchers led by Christopher Henshilwood from the University of Bergen. Read more about it HERE.

Biologists say mark-making is inborn, an evolved propensity that has been essential to the survival of our species. Sure in modern times, Mark Making can be attributed to artists and creators aspiring to be the next Picasso, however, there are still modern Mark Makers that create for catharsis, survival, and connection with no interest in fame or fortune.

Marking our mark in the world is very important. Leaving a legacy behind, a story to tell, or something to show others who we are, what life means to us, and how we express ourselves calls us. However, as we get older some of us get quiet, hide ourselves, and feel insignificant. This is often attributed to others and adverse experiences.

It is not until we are told to stop, sit down, be quiet that we start hiding ourselves, our bold lines, and brave marks in the world. It often takes years to reconnect with that part of ourselves. In this project, we will be doing just that.

Remember making marks is human, it is not a skill. It is free and anyone can do it, it is not some technique to learn in master. Mark Making is anything, everything, and all the things you want to be and more. And it does not come with the judgment of yourself to others. It just is.

Mark Making Tools

Pens, Pencils, Markers, Crayons, etc.
Foil, Cling Film
Feathers, Leaves, Sticks (Anything Outside)
Pipe Cleaners
Cotton Wool
Spatulas, Spoons, Forks, Whisks
Carrots, Cucumber, Potatoes


We hope that you were able to try out mark making as tool to help with anxiety & stress. How did the experience feel to you? Would you like to try another one with different tools and colors? Feel free to try this technique of creativity anytime you feel there is a need for calm and meditative moments. Thank you for sharing in this project of creating your marks in the world!

If you enjoyed this project, feel free to leave a comment below as well as share an image of your project in the Create For Healing Facebook Group. We’d love to see what you did with the project.

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