Conversations with the Collection | Making a Mark

Open daily, 10am–5pm

Admission free


Part of Conversations with the Collection


Drawing is a form of visual storytelling: a means of interrogating and understanding the world around us. It creates space to look closely at things, as artist Kate Davis shows us in this display.

With drawing, we can take risks and push forward new ideas. Making a Mark brings together a wide range of works of art on paper from our national collection. By enabling unexpected conversations between these works, this display explores drawing as a means of communication. We invite you to consider the range of possibilities for drawing and other forms of mark making, like the prints we see on display by Paul Klee and Edvard Munch.  

Many of us will make drawings throughout our lives – from early childhood scribbles, through drawing at school, and for a wide range of professions. It is a way of thinking through making, whether it takes a matter of minutes or many hours of careful study. You can make a drawing anywhere, with minimal material costs and easy portability. It is always part of a network of ideas, influences, and inspirations.  

Many of the materials and approaches to drawing that were in use 500 years ago are still chosen by artists today, like the charcoal, graphite, and ink in these selected works. We need the past to understand the present, and drawing demonstrates that continuum in action. 

Event accessibility

Display accessibility

  • Wheelchair access


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Gallery facilities

Detailed information on accessibility at the National Galleries of Scotland

Parking for visitors is available at both Modern One and Modern Two. A donation is requested of £5 for up to 4 hours and £9 for 4-8 hours. Our payment meters have contactless capability. There is free accessible parking for blue badge holders.

  • Information desk
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair access
  • Accessible toilets
  • Changing places toilet
  • Wheelchairs available
  • Public toilets
  • Disabled parking
  • Lockers (£1/£2)
  • Baby changing facilities
  • Buggy park
  • Seating throughout
  • Bike rack
  • Parking
  • Café
Getting here

Getting here

The Modern is located 15 minutes’ walk from Princes Street. It includes two buildings, Modern One and Modern Two, set in a beautiful sculpture park.

Venue map
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
  • Open daily, 10am–5pm
73 & 75 Belford Road, Edinburgh, EH4 3DR

Conversations with the Collection

Conversations with the Collection

This is display is part of Conversations with the Collection, a changing programme of displays that offers visitors a brand new way to experience the national collection. 

A celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art, the thematic displays place creativity and conversation at their core by considering how dialogue and exchange shape and reshape artistic process.

Conversations with the Collection displays

Conversations with the Collection displays

Explore the other displays in Conversations with the Collection.

Audio tours

Audio tours

Welcome Audio Tour

For this tour, our curators introduce the themes of the display room by room and explain how they have drawn from the collection of modern and contemporary art to unearth evocative stories and create bold comparisons between the artists, ideas and ways of making. 

A conversation piece

For this tour audio tour of the Conversations with the Collection display at Modern One we have invited guests to share their thoughts on a selection of artworks from the display. Not knowing in advance which artworks they would be discussing, these responses are honest, real and unscripted. 

Audio Described Tour

Enjoy a selection of audio descriptions of artworks at from Conversations with the Collection. Taking over the top level of Modern One, this display is a celebration of Scottish and international modern and contemporary art.

Families | Art chat

Families | Art chat

Designed for families aged 6+ our art chat guide helps you explore the different artworks in this exhibition and encourages you to make your own. Available to pick up in gallery or download.

Friends go free

Friends go free

Become a Friend to enjoy unique access to the nation’s art collection with unlimited free entry to exhibitions, Friends-only exhibition previews and a 10% discount in our gallery shops & cafés.

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