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February 17, 2008

Drawing with a Ballpoint Pen

I love to draw with inexpensive Bic ballpoint pens.  I believe there's nothing wrong with using ordinary ballpoint pens and other easy-to-find, low-priced materials when drawing.

I love these pens because they cost so little. I imagine other kinds of inexpensive ballpoint pens would work, but these are available everywhere and I know they'll do what I want them to do so why try something else? Besides, they're often on sale and cost even less than they usually do.

Believe it or not, just within the last week I've received (as a hand-delivered gift - no postage involved) six packs of ten of them (bought at three packs for a U.S. dollar on sale), and I already had two new packs that were bought for more (but still at a bargain price). This means I now have EIGHTY Bic "Cristal" (see-through) black-ink pens, and so I'm getting ready to really enjoy myself drawing with ink again.

I do realize that there are things you can do with good drawing pens and a large variety of bottled inks that you cannot do with ordinary ballpoint pens and the one-tone-no-choice ink inside them. However, there are also many, many things you can do with a ballpoint pen. The other things can come later. To me the most important thing is not the kind of pen or the color or tone of ink, but the person who's using the pen. What can I do with a simple ballpoint pen, using my own talent, skill, sensitivity and vision, I ask myself, and I want to find out. It's a great challenge. I like a challenge, not a "sure thing" (ensured by having fancy, expensive equipment that makes me look like I'm better than I really am - Let's find out what I can do without that extra help, I tell myself).

It's not that I mind hard work or taking the time to learn something new - I am a very steady, hard worker and nobody could ever say that I don't follow through and finish things that I believe are worthwhile no matter how long it takes. In fact that's exactly why I'm continuing to use these pens; I have hardly begun to learn what I can do with them.

Some might think that the time spent drawing with a ballpoint pen is time wasted because you are never going to produce anything that is of "lasting quality" or that can be sold, or etc., no matter how much time or effort you put into it.  I don't think it's time wasted at all.

If you're afraid to use an ink pen because whatever you do cannot be erased -- and you're certain to make mistakes (as I do) -- you can lose most of that fear if you have a zillion backup pens on hand, or can easily buy them most anywhere and for very little money. Because I realize that it doesn't matter nearly as much if I do make a mistake (the worst that can happen is that I may have to start over and I have endless pens ready to use, so I don't panic and make things even worse trying to "correct" my mistake), I'm able to relax, work with more confidence, try new approaches, and make better drawings (at least in general - I do have duds, too). And it's a lot more fun this way.

Below are some examples of my Bic ballpoint pen drawings. These drawings are all on my website, along with other ink drawings (plus Conte crayon and pencil drawings).

Gnarled old tree
Gnarled old tree - Bic ballpoint pen and Sharpie marker

Cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit - Bic ballpoint pen

Wrecked 1957 Oldsmobile
Wrecked 1957 Oldsmobile - Bic ballpoint pen

Angel statue in Central Park
Angel statue in Central Park - Pencil and Bic ballpoint pen

Ground squirrel - Bic ballpoint pen and Sharpie marker

Links to Other People's Web Pages with Ballpoint Pen Drawings:

Drawing Gallery
Shed in Bic Pen - Artist: Vincent D. Whitehead

There is another Bic pen drawing which you can see if you click on the blue, underlined words: other gallery page.

Bic Pen Art by Juan Francisco Casas
These are big, photorealistic drawings made with a blue-ink ballpoint pen.

Speeded up VIDEO showing drawing as the artist is working on it, from beginning to end. This was done mostly with a black-ink Bic pen, and also a black marking pen. Time: 3 MINUTES, 20 SECONDS

The music is very loud and if you think it might annoy you (as it did me) you might want to turn the volume way down. No one says anything, so you won't miss anything important.

The following site is confusing to me - There's so much on there, so many pictures - But it's a site that has many artworks produced by someone who uses Bic pens, or I think they're Bics. At least they're black ink ballpoint pens (he has added some color to a few of the pictures). Biro Art Gallery - Biro Doodles with a ball point pen by "NobbyNobody." Click on the small pictures to see them in a larger size.

Apparently "Biro" is the generic word for ballpoint pens in the U.K.

The Ball Point Pen Art of Dave Archanbault.
Some are more "photo realistic" than others, but these are nicer to me than most I've found on the web.
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Jean Vincent said...

Thank you for your comments! I very much appreciate them. - Jean

Anonymous said...

Lovely line or pen and ink artworks, Jerry Stith

Jean Vincent said...

:-) Thank you, Jerry Stith. - Jean

Chlöe said...

You make me feel better, thank you! I thought I was the only one who loved working in ballpoint pen, but no! Don't you just love the way you can shade, unlike other inks and pens? Sorry to be so obsessive, I'm just excited :-)

Jean Vincent said...

Chlöe, Thanks for your comment! It IS fun drawing with a ballpoint pen. :-) I did find out that there are other inexpensive ballpoint pens that are not as good as the Bic, so I'm sticking with the Bic. - Jean

Zombie Ritual said...

Your art is awesome!

negro frankenstein said...

I'd like to offer these thoughts on ballpoint pen:

Sam said...

Well I found another who loves drawing with ordinary ball pen. I also love the same but we don't get bic here in India, so I use Cello.

Rose DragonWulf said...

Hi Jean-may I please have permission to use the lovely picture of the gnarled tree you have drawn, for a poem I have written. It will be published in a little local newsletter (approx 100 members) and full credit would be given for your picture of courseand would be happy to include a link to your site.

Jean Vincent said...

Hi, Rose. Please write to me at InSplendidSolitude@gmail.com and I'll write back to you! :-)

mike said...

In many ways a ballpoint is the easiest of pens to draw with,it can make a very feint mark,good for lack of confidence as you can arrive at the final out line & tones slowly, changing both outline & tone as the drawing develops.
Qn the negative side,the finished drawing lacks the power & character of a dip or fountain pen & it doesn't prepare an artist for using a proper pen with a hard, sharp black line.
In the final analysis ballpoint is a unique medium all by itself, neither a pencil or a pen but a little bit of both.

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desertdispatch said...

I don't have any problems with ball point pens as long as the ink is permanent.

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