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 drew Anastasia from Sktchy with Bic ballpoint pens in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook. I have to say that drawing with ballpoints is definitely the most therapeutic kind of drawing I’m doing right now – hatching in one direction is just so meditative.
I’m finding making these hatched ballpoint pen drawings very therapeutic. It’s something about gradually building a face out of parallel lines, well not entirely parallel but the best that my painful hands can make! This is Kelmy from Sktchy and I drew him with Bic Cristal and Bic 4-way multicolour pens in a Life Noble Note Plain notebook.
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 spent a lot of time on this portrait of Monika but eventually ran out of steam and really didn’t want to work on it any more. This is my problem with both ballpoint pen and coloured pencil drawings – they take a lot of work to finish well. Sometimes they look good at a half done stage but you really have judge well when to stop. I worked on this one too long, past that stage so it really needs a lot more work to look much more finished to look good again. But that is a useful lesson for me in itself.
I drew this in an Emilio Braga notebook with Bic 4-way multicolour ballpoint pens.
I drew Sassa in my small Emilio Braga notebook with Bic ballpoint pens. It’s always a little strange seeing a scan of a small portrait write larger on my iPad or laptop screen – my pen strokes look so much larger and every error is magnified. Sassa’s ear, which isn’t right in my small drawing, is so much more obviously wrong here. But I remind myself that it doesn’t really matter – sharing is simply what keeps me accountable, what makes me keep drawing. It’s the process that really matters, not the outcome.
This is just the fourth drawing in my Emilio Braga notebook and already the notebook is starting to come apart at the seams. I love the paper – it’s a great surface for drawing on with ballpoints. But the notebooks are just that, notebooks designed for writing in, not drawing in. They are clearly not designed for the fairly heavy handling of my ballpoint pen drawing. It seems to be way that I keep turning the book when I’m hatching that is pulling on the stitching. I’m quite frustrated anyway that it doesn’t seem to be up to the job and I might have to abandon it.
Such a great name and such a great face – when I saw his photo on Sktchy Noppadol was an irresistible draw. Some I can browse Sktchy for hour’s trying to find a face I want to draw and other times one jumps right out and grabs me immediately and Noppadol’s was the grabbing kind – and I’m glad it’s a smiley face. It’s been a while since I’ve drawn a great smile so I’m guessing it’s a good sign that I wanted to draw one today.
I drew this in my Emilio Braga notebook with Bic Cristal and Bic 4-way multicolour pens.
I’m still not feeling great – so much so that I haven’t managed to get out of bed today. So I drew Paul on my iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and the Procreate app. I love the strength I see in his expression here.