Ahmed

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.

Jezori

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.

Jana

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.

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.

Michael

I was intending to draw Michael with coloured pencil. But when I finished drawing an initial sketch with an HB pencil I moved without thinking into inking out a portrait with a fineliner, as I do when I’m making either a Copic or watercolour portrait. When I realised what I’d done it was too late – I’d inked out half his face! So I decided to make use of my error and try something different.

I knew that coloured pencil hatching alone wouldn’t be strong enough to match the ink lines. So I used my Derwent Inktense pencils, which I’ve hardly ever used in a portrait (not sure if I’ve ever used them if I’m honest), to create my basic colour layers and then finished off the portrait with some hatching with Prismacolor coloured pencils on top. I still think the ink lines are too strong for the pencil portrait but I can live with it, as an experiment. And I do like the combination of Inktense and regular coloured pencil, so I may use that again.

The portrait is drawn in my Hannehmühle Nostalgie sketchbook.

Iliriana

I’m beginning to feel comfortable drawing with coloured pencils. I feel like I’ve found a process that suits me now and preserves my style so that the portraits I produce are still recognisably mine. I probably still need to build enough confidence with this style to add more layers of colour but I do at least feel like I’m going in the right direction now.

I drew Iliriana’s portrait in my Hannehmühle Nostalgie sketchbook with Prismacolor coloured pencils.