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.


I’m having a difficult drawing week. Nothing is going right. I’ve made a conscious decision to take more time over my portraits, not rush them, try to work a little differently, and right now it’s a bit of a struggle. None of my drawings are working well. Perhaps this is inevitable when you change things and step outside your familiar work patterns. It wasn’t helped today by a crushing migraine.

Anyway, Avril ended up up with a slightly deformed body – I over exaggerated the foreshortening (not deliberately!) and really messed up that front leg and foot. But never mind. It’s all learning.

I drew Avril’s portrait in my Moleskine sketchbook with a Copic multiliner and Copic markers.


This portrait of Oriana reflects my new slower and more thoughtful approach to drawing faces. I focused less on capturing her likeness and more on representing something about her that felt true and honest to me. So while I can see that her face shape is not quite right in the portrait, I nevertheless think that I’ve captured the spirit of her in a beautiful way that makes me very happy.

I drew Oriana in my A4 Moleskine sketchbook with Copic markers.


Back once again in my Copic comfort zone, Thiago has a little bit of everything I love. Beautiful skin tones, soulful eyes, a knitted hat, strong facial features, a few freckles and some stubble but no beard. Drawing heaven for me – his photo allowed me to have the simplest of line drawings and let my colour do the work, especially with the eyes and shadow, which are always the most important part for me. If you’re reading this Thiago, you’re the perfect male muse. Upload more Sktchy photos for me ASAP.

I drew Thiago in my A4 Moleskine sketchbook with a Copic multiliner and Copic markers.


I’ve made a big decision about my portrait drawing over the weekend. I feel like I’ve hit a kind of plateau and perhaps even gone backwards, because I’m struggling to find enough time to really experiment in the way I need to in order to push my work forward. So I’ve decided that after three and a half years of more or less daily portrait drawing I’m not going to push myself to post a portrait every day any more. I’m going to continue to draw portraits as often as I can and will probably be working on a portrait most days, but I may work on a single portrait over several days to give me the time to experiment more and to allow me the time to work on other projects. So keep visiting because I’ll be posting, just perhaps not every day.

I drew Loke’s portrait with a variety of ballpoint pens in a Moleskine sketchbook.


Still working on my ballpoint pen skills after that great Sktchy Art School course on Portraits in Pen. I think I’m improving slowly, but it is a very slow improvement. I still haven’t got the lightness of touch I’d like to achieve but I’ll keep at it and hopefully get there eventually.

I drew this in an A5 Moleskine with a variety of ballpoint pens.


This was such a hard draw. It’s so hard to draw a face when the usual markers, features and shadows aren’t clearly identifiable but are hidden by lots of face paint and make up. I struggle to get any sense of dimension and this face looks horribly flat. But it’s the Day of the Dead and I just had to draw a sugar skull portrait!

I drew this in my Moleskine sketchbook with Copic markers.


This is what I think of as a classic comfort zone portrait for me. A great face with wonderful eyes, minimal hair and an interesting pose. It’s also the kind of portrait that begs to be drawn with Copic markers – good yellow, peach and lilac tones in the skin that suit my kind of Copic layering. Fun to draw.

I drew Jeandor in my A4 Moleskine sketchbook with Copic markers.


This is a little ballpoint pen practice in my pocket Moleskine. It’s also an entry into this week’s Old School Sktchy wax challenge for Halloween. And, of course, it’s a portrait of the very lovely Scout Penelope, the absolute best child muse on Sktchy.