Aly

You can’t beat a couple of hours of meditative ballpoint pen drawing for finding your zen on the weekend. This portrait of Aly was such a relaxing draw!

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Wendy

When you draw muses from the Museum by Sktchy app for a long time you inevitably develop favourites. Wendy is an absolute favourite of mine. I love drawing her. She has the best eyes and such an expressive face, and all her photos are well-lit and interesting. They are everything I look for when I’m looking for a great image to draw from.

Fary

I love how portraits go through an ugly phase before resolving themselves. There’s always a point when I’m drawing when I wonder if the portrait is going to be a complete disaster or if it is going to work out OK and I have no idea what the answer will be. All I can do is keep working and hope that I will find a way to make it work. Ninety per cent of the time I do, but to be honest it doesn’t really matter. Obviously it’s great to have a portrait I like at the end of the process, but it’s the process that matters, working on my drawing to try to get past the ugly stage to make it less ugly, to resolve it and make something that feels at least partly complete.

This portrait of Fary was especially difficult and was very ugly about half way through. I left it and came back to it a couple of days later, worked on it for another hour and resolved it. It doesn’t have much of a likeness but it’s not ugly any more and I’m very happy with it.

Neshama

This is Neshama from the Museum by Sktchy app. I decided to stop drawing her T this point because I really like the expression I’ve caught on her face and I have a tendency to overwork ballpoint pen drawings. I didn’t want to overwork this one.

Alina

It’s taken me more than a week to finish this portrait. I got stuck on the hair for some reason and now it feels either over or under done. I suppose I mean that I think I should have either left it alone sooner or I think I need to work on it more, but I don’t have the time or motivation so I’m leaving it here and moving on.

The face is the Alina from Museum by Sktchy, who I’ve drawn before, and I used my usual Bic 4 colour ballpoint pens.

Vazha

As time passes ballpoint pens are increasingly becoming my comfort zone but, if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you’ll have noticed that I’m gradually adopting a “less is more” approach. I like my ballpoint pen portraits best when they are simple and not too heavily worked.

I always work my first layer in blue and the hardest decision is always whether to add any more colour once I’ve done that initial blue layer. I loved how this looked with just a single layer of blue and I honestly can’t say if it’s better or worse with more colour added but I’m pretty happy with how it’s turned out.

I used 3 different Bic 4 colour ballpoint pens in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook and the muse is Vazha from the Museum by Sktchy app.

Alexander

I picked up a new 4-colour ballpoint pen from the Japan Centre in London when I was in the city a couple of weeks ago for a hospital appointment. I obviously had to try it out on a portrait, so I drew Alexander from the Museum by Sktchy app.

The pen is a Tombow and has the usual 4 colours – black, blue, red and green. It has a lovely line – its lighter in tone and thinner than a Bic so it’s easier to create a gentle build up of colour. Having said that, the ink does blob much more than Bics do, so I had to clean the nib much more than I have to when using Bics and I still found blobs crept into my sketch, as you can see. So there’s not much to choose between the two brands for me – though Bics would still be my go to because of the wider range of colours.