This is Cilia from Sktchy for day 18 of Inktober. I feel like my ballpoint pen portraits are most successful when I succeed in getting a real lightness of touch with my pen strokes and can build up some colour through very light layers like I’ve managed to do here. This portrait tells me that I’m beginning to make some progress now and I’m happy that I stuck with ballpoints for this inktober.



This is Yuko from Sktchy for day 14 of Inktober – at least it’s meant to be her but I totally lost her likeness! So I uploaded the portrait to my iPad and played with it to try to improve it, which it did, but it still doesn’t look like her 😂


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.


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.


Over the last 6 months or so, since I took the Sktchy’s Portraits in Pen course, I have gradually fallen in love with ballpoint pen drawing. After a lot of experimentation I’ve found my own style and I find ballpoint pen drawing so beautifully meditative. It’s what I turn to when I’m feeling most stressed because I know it will calm me down and chill me out.

Today was quite full on so I picked up my Bics and drew the beautiful Stephanie from Sktchy in my Life Noble Note Plain.


I’ve abandoned the Emilio Braga notebook that I was using for my ballpoint pen drawings. After just five drawings it started to fall apart and there was no way it was going to cope with many more of these sketches. To be fair, it’s a notebook, not a sketchbook, and ballpoint pen drawing requires a lot of moving a lot of the page around and some layering of pen work so it does need a book that will take some rough treatment. The Emilio Braga notebook is a beautiful notebook, it’s just not made for this kind of work.

So for this portrait of Nadia from Sktchy I started a new sketchbook that I bought recently, a Life Noble Notebook with plain paper. This is another Japanese notebook that I saw in an online shop that was relatively inexpensive and irresistible to a Japanese paper addict like me. And the paper is beautiful for ballpoints! It’s a dream for drawing and would be great for writing or calligraphy too.

I used my usual Bic Cristal and Bic 4-way multicolour ballpoints for this portrait in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.


I feel like I’m beginning to develop a distinctive style in my ballpoint pen drawing. It’s not quite the same as my drawing style with other media, I don’t find it as easy to keep the likeness because I’m still concentrating more on my pen work, but I do like where it’s going. This portrait of Sktchy muse Teri is definitely my favourite so far.

I drew this portrait with Bic Cristal pens in an A5 Moleskine sketchbook.