Working with ballpoint pens

Ballpoint drawing of Alan

I threw myself in the deep end. A couple of weeks ago I decided to draw using a ballpoint instead of pencil. And I loved the experience. I picked a photograph of my husband to draw mainly because I liked the texture of his leather jacket and thought the ballpoint would bring this to life.

Well, it was a steep learning curve and made lots of mistakes but so glad that I tried it. I learned a few valuable lesson/tips for anyone sampling ballpoint drawing for the first time:

  • Gather a selection of ballpoints as the nibs can be different sizes.
  • Use paper that doesn’t absorb ink easily for example, Bristol Board or card. I found cartridge paper absorbed the ink and left the ballpoint marks dull and lifeless.
  • Work with a tissue under your hand. Ballpoint ink takes a while to dry and smudges really easily – and is virtually impossible to erase.
  • Use a correction fluid pen (Tippex) to add highlights.