Sometimes drawings just don’t turn out as well as you hope. This portrait of Maria actually looked fine at the halfway stage. I should have stopped there. I started drawing it on a train a week ago. And then it has been completed in bits and pieces over a very frustrating day when I started out with no broadband and had to wait for it be restored, I’ve been working on and off in online meetings and drawing in between. The end result is an overworked portrait where I really haven’t taken the time to stop and think properly about what I’ve been doing. I thought it was OK when I finished it (and it does look better in the sketchbook than in the photo) but now I can see the many things that are wrong with it. Maybe I’ll come back to it and work on it some more another day – or will that just be overworking it more?
I drew Maria’s portrait in my tiny Moleskine sketchbook with Bic and Paperchase multicolour ballpoint pens.
This was a good inspiration photo to use for ballpoint pen practice. I got to use a good range of colours and to work on lights and darks, and there wasn’t too much to worry about in terms of actually drawing Ahmed’s face because the circle provided a frame and I just had to situate a few features. What I love about this ballpoint pen practice is that I do feel like I’m making progress with each drawing. It’s tiny steps forward, but it’s all in the right direction. I love that experience of learning something new!
I drew Ahmed’s portrait in my tiny pocket Moleskine with a range of Bic multicolour ballpoint pens.
I’m still practicing with those ballpoint pens when I get the chance. I drew Jezori’s portrait in my tiny Moleskine sketchbook with a 4-colour Bic ballpoint.
I’ve been practicing with ballpoint pens again. I drew this portrait of Jana D in my tiny pocket Moleskine using two Hema 6-colour ballpoint pens and a Paperchase 8-colour ballpoint pen. The pens aren’t great quality- they ‘re quite leaky and they also dry up frequently (hence all the scribbles on the opposite page to get them going again) but they have nice fine nibs which are great for such a tiny Moleskine.
I’ve been working on this slowly for a few days and it was going so well and then I messed up the nose. And with ballpoint there’s no way of undoing the mess. So I just have to live with it and learn from it, and hopefully not make that mistake again.
I drew Ylenia in my tiny Moleskine sketchbook with Hema and Paperchase multicolour ballpoint pens.
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.
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.