I do like doing simple ballpoint pen hatching. There’s something so meditative about drawing all those lines going in one direction. This is so simple to do if you feel like having a go – just draw a simple outline of your main shapes and then fill them in building up the colour layer by layer. It’s easiest if you focus on your lightest and darkest areas first – I usually map them first with blue and then add other colours on top.

Kristina’s dog

I haven’t drawn a dog for a while and this one is very handsome. Not sure of the breed, a bull terrier maybe? Anyway Kristina posted the photo on Sktchy and I couldn’t resist drawing it with my Bics.


This is Goldipants from Sktchy and she has such a fabulous face to draw. Sometimes I make the wrong choice of medium for a portrait but this time I think I made the perfect choice – I love how this portrait turned out with ballpoint pens. I don’t think I could have done a better job with any other medium.


Ballpoint pen sketching is by far the most meditative for me – I think it’s the repetitive hatching in one direction that makes it feel so relaxing. And I have another big week on my hospital neuromodulation course this week so I needed a calming day today so I decided to use ballpoint pens for this portrait of Juan from Sktchy.


I love it when people upload photos of themselves pulling faces onto Sktchy. It’s so much more interesting to draw unusual facial expressions than the regular “straight to camera” smile.

If you’re a Sktchy muse reading this and wondering what kind of photos you need to post to get drawn, this is something Sktchy artists are always talking about off-site. Personally I like clear crisp photos with great eyes, interesting skin tones, good shadows, freckles, lots of reflected light, hands… no photo will have everything I want but those are things that catch my eye. Photos I avoid are ones that are too blurry, anything that has been touched up to create clear smooth skin (it might look great in beauty photos but it’s totally uninteresting to paint), and lots of teeth (teeth are most artists’ nightmare and I struggle to make them look good), and ones with Snapchat filters of any kind.

But at the end of the day everyone has their own personal preference and what I don’t like might well appeal to someone else – so don’t be put off from posting your favourite photos. Most importantly, as with all social media, interact with people and comment on their work. I always check out the photos of everyone who comments on my work to see if they have photos I might want to draw.


This is a portrait of Nob from Sktchy. The portrait was an experiment to see if the coloured pencil chiaroscuro method I learned last week would work with ballpoint pens. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.


Still working through this mini crisis of confidence, which is showing up in my lines at the moment I think. But I know that if I persevere sooner or later I’ll find my way through. In the meantime you can enjoy (or not) seeing how it shows up in my work 😂. This is Gen from Sktchy drawn in Bic ballpoint pen.