Life Drawings / April 3

I haven’t used ballpoint pen for life drawing since last December so I thought it was about time to have another go at it. It’s a good idea to switch between several mediums to keep things fresh. I’ve been doing a lot of digital drawing lately on the iPad and have gotten back to using pastels for life drawing as well. Since each medium both dictates style and offers varied ways of capturing the subject, it can be useful to switch between them periodically.

As I said, every medium has its own properties and dictates the end results to some extent. When I feel like doing a more “graphic” kind of drawing of the figure, I like what ballpoint pens have to offer. The ballpoint can be very bold and precise and yet still offer a sense of varied tone (values -light & dark). Compared to nib or fountain pens which can be very bold, the ballpoint can be quite soft and close to graphite if handled lightly on the right paper. The sketchbook that these drawings were done in has paper with a good amount of “tooth”. That refers to the surface texture of the paper. More tooth is a rougher surface. Less tooth is a flatter, harder surface. I like using the rougher surface because the ink from the ballpoint pen “picks up” more softly and in a more diffused way than on smooth paper allowing for grayer lines along with those that are solid black. This helps to soften shadows and give a subtlety to the forms of the figure.

Short poses (5 minutes)

Click on the small images below to see at full size

Longer poses 20 – 25 minutes

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.

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