I’ve run out of time to finish this and I’d rather post a half-finished portrait than start falling behind on Day 2 of Inktober! So this is what my ballpoint portraits look like at around the halfway point.

This is Sydney from Sktchy drawn with Bic 4-colour ballpoint pens in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


I’m planning on trying to keep up with Inktober 2020 and drawing a portrait a day with ballpoint pens. I’m not following the prompts – I’ve done that in the past but I just don’t have the time this year to spend hours looking for inspirations to fit the prompts. So I’m just going to draw portraits that appeal to me. So for Day 1 I’ve drawn Sktchy muse Chad.


I’m finding that the only way to keep drawing when I’m really busy with work, as I am right now, is to draw in snatched pockets of time wherever I can find them. It’s hard with ballpoint pen drawings especially to keep a sense of continuity in drawings made this way – looking at this portrait of Ilkim from Sktchy I can see clearly where I stooped and restarted. But perhaps that isn’t so obvious to you? And coming back to a drawing a day later certainly has some advantages; I see values much better when I’ve stepped away from a portrait for several hours.

I drew Ilkim with Bic 4-colour ballpoint pens in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


My daughter has just landed herself a great job, starting Monday, in a different part of the country. It’s fabulous news, especially for someone just starting out in a creative industry right now (she works in film) but trying to find somewhere for her to live with four days notice (two of which are the weekend), get her packed up and moved with partial regional lockdowns spreading (plus it’s her birthday tomorrow) is no joke. So drawing is being done in fits and starts when I have time in between the 101 other tasks… This portrait of Taha from Sktchy is what I’ve managed in the past 2 days.

I drew this with Bic ballpoint pens in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


I decided while drawing this portrait of Hugo from Sktchy that ballpoint pens are now my favourite drawing medium. My skills have been improving gradually since I took Robin Hilthouse’s Sktchy course many months ago and I now feel very comfortable drawing with them. I’ve developed a style that I’m happy with and I love the meditative quality of just hatching slowly away, interpreting the planes of a face through the limited palette of my small collection of Bics.

I drew this portrait with 4-way multicolour Bics plus a couple of Bic Cristal pens in brown and Neon orange in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


This is the lovely Ayshin from Sktchy. I totally messed up the headscarf in the portrait so I had to change the colour from a creamy yellow to purple to disguise my disaster which works OK, but isn’t quite what I had planned. I wish I had left the scarf alone as a line drawing and hadn’t attempted to add colour to it at all. There’s a lesson there for me in putting a little more thought into when to stop drawing.

I drew Ayshin in my Life Noble Note Plain with Bic 4-way multicolour ballpoint pens.


There is always something very satisfying about drawing with that most humble of drawing materials, the Bic ballpoint pen. This is Henry from Sktchy, drawn in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook with Bic Cristal and Bic 4-way multicolour ballpoint pens.