Jade

I’m still a complete novice at ballpoint pen drawing but I love doing it and I’m improving very slowly. I love the richness of colour in really good ballpoint pen portraits and I’m a huge fan of great ballpoint artists like Robin Hilthouse and Nicolas Sanchez. And I know the only way to develop those kind of skills is to practice, practice, practice. So right now I’ve learned the basics and now I’m trying to find a drawing and hatching style that works for me. I feel like I’m getting a little closer in this portrait of Jade (in cosplay as Coraline).

I drew this in my tiny Moleskine with a range of multicolour ballpoints from the British brand Paperchase and the Dutch brand Hema.

Loke

I’ve made a big decision about my portrait drawing over the weekend. I feel like I’ve hit a kind of plateau and perhaps even gone backwards, because I’m struggling to find enough time to really experiment in the way I need to in order to push my work forward. So I’ve decided that after three and a half years of more or less daily portrait drawing I’m not going to push myself to post a portrait every day any more. I’m going to continue to draw portraits as often as I can and will probably be working on a portrait most days, but I may work on a single portrait over several days to give me the time to experiment more and to allow me the time to work on other projects. So keep visiting because I’ll be posting, just perhaps not every day.

I drew Loke’s portrait with a variety of ballpoint pens in a Moleskine sketchbook.

Laura

Still working on my ballpoint pen skills after that great Sktchy Art School course on Portraits in Pen. I think I’m improving slowly, but it is a very slow improvement. I still haven’t got the lightness of touch I’d like to achieve but I’ll keep at it and hopefully get there eventually.

I drew this in an A5 Moleskine with a variety of ballpoint pens.

Scout

This is a little ballpoint pen practice in my pocket Moleskine. It’s also an entry into this week’s Old School Sktchy wax challenge for Halloween. And, of course, it’s a portrait of the very lovely Scout Penelope, the absolute best child muse on Sktchy.

Emma

I bought a small pocket Moleskine sketchbook so I can practice with ballpoint pens without having to spend 5 or 6 hours on a portrait. This is my first portrait in the book. I also bought a set of Kum ballpoints – there is a great yellow, much less fluorescent than most ballpoint yellows, but the pens are a bit dribbley. I was also struggling to get light marks with them but I’m reasonably happy with what I produced in less than 2 hours.

Laura’s husband

I’ve been taking a class on drawing with ballpoint pen in the Sktchy Art School taught by Robin Hilthouse. It’s a great course and the key technique is smooth transitions between colours. I’ve enjoyed it enormously and learned a great deal. However, I know don’t have the patience to work in exactly the same way that Robin does, so by the time I was halfway through this, my final practice portrait for the course, I was starting to adapt and move more towards the kind of hatching I do with coloured pencil. I simply don’t have the patience to create the kind of gentle invisible hatching that Robin creates, and I’m not a realistic artist anyway, so I think I’ll be taking what I’ve learned and using it for a more textured hatching, more like that which I use with coloured pencil, which conveys a sense of the person without creating a realistic portrait. I’ll be practicing more in the coming weeks and I’ll have to see where it takes me.

This was drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of Bic and Staedtler ballpoint pens. It took about 5 hours to complete.

Klara

I love watching artists draw and watching Robin Hilthouse draw in his Sktchy Portraits in Pen course is such a pleasure. I’m also learning so much. He takes around 8 to 10 hours for a full face portrait; I haven’t got either the patience or the skill yet for an 8 hour drawing but this unfinished portrait of Sktchy muse Klara took around 2-3 hours and by the end I was definitely making lighter better strokes than at the start.  So I definitely made progress over the time it took me to draw it!

I drew this in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of Bic and Staedtler ballpoint pens.