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.
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’ve been taking a class on drawing with ballpoint pen in the Sktchy Art School taught by Robin Hilthouse. It’s a great course and the key technique is smooth transitions between colours. I’ve enjoyed it enormously and learned a great deal. However, I know don’t have the patience to work in exactly the same way that Robin does, so by the time I was halfway through this, my final practice portrait for the course, I was starting to adapt and move more towards the kind of hatching I do with coloured pencil. I simply don’t have the patience to create the kind of gentle invisible hatching that Robin creates, and I’m not a realistic artist anyway, so I think I’ll be taking what I’ve learned and using it for a more textured hatching, more like that which I use with coloured pencil, which conveys a sense of the person without creating a realistic portrait. I’ll be practicing more in the coming weeks and I’ll have to see where it takes me.
This was drawn in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of Bic and Staedtler ballpoint pens. It took about 5 hours to complete.
I love watching artists draw and watching Robin Hilthouse draw in his Sktchy Portraits in Pen course is such a pleasure. I’m also learning so much. He takes around 8 to 10 hours for a full face portrait; I haven’t got either the patience or the skill yet for an 8 hour drawing but this unfinished portrait of Sktchy muse Klara took around 2-3 hours and by the end I was definitely making lighter better strokes than at the start. So I definitely made progress over the time it took me to draw it!
I drew this in a Moleskine sketchbook with a variety of Bic and Staedtler ballpoint pens.