Back to Ballpoint Pen

This week at life drawing in Danville, I decided to use ballpoint pen again. There is something about the way it feels somewhere between using an ink pen and using a pencil that keeps bringing me back to it. When I want to concentrate on really “drawing” the figure and not being preoccupied with color, it seems to be my medium of choice. It looks and feels like an ink drawing but the ballpoint and its oily ink allows for a much greater variety of tones than a nib pen or a drafting type of pen (micron). It all has to do with the amount of pressure I use (lighter pressure, lighter tone). I was using a standard ballpoint pen, in this case a giveaway pen from Manoir Hovey (a wonderful Inn in Quebec) but any ballpoint seems to work well as long as it doesn’t leak and leave splotches.

Five minute poses;


Twenty-five minute poses;


Author: Jeff Gold

I'm a retired musician (oboist) now living in Vermont and exploring various avenues of art, urban sketching, life drawing, block printing and digital abstractions.

2 thoughts on “Back to Ballpoint Pen”

    1. Thanks for writing Donna. I like drawing with other pens too but since trying ballpoint pens, I find them easier to get the results I’m looking for than with a traditional ink pen. The thing about drawing with pen and ink is that it is permanent. With pencil, you can erase if need be. The ballpoint pen allows me to gradually work up from a softer tone to a heavier, darker tone almost like working with a pencil. It’s not erasable but I can approach the drawing more gradually than with the boldness of a fountain pen.


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