Sketching with Ballpoint Pens (video workshop)

On a recent trip to Rwanda, I realized that I would fill my sketchbook long before returning home. I usually sketch with soft pencil and leave the opposite page blank so that facing pages will not smear each other. To conserve paper, I gave up the pencil and started sketching with a ballpoint pen. Within a week I was in love with this new tool and experimenting with ways to get the most out of it. In this workshop I share what I learned.

  • Discover the versatility of ballpoint pens.
  • Explore advanced crosshatching techniques.
  • Learn what to do when things go wrong with pen. Discover an approach to correcting mistakes or living with the result and moving on.
  • What do you do when the pen starts to blob and skip?
  • Experiment to find the pens that work the best.

One thought on “Sketching with Ballpoint Pens (video workshop)

  1. Lucille says:

    Re: the lesson on sketching with ballpoint pens. John, in conversation, agreed with me that the ink is not archival but, since he uses them in his sketchbooks, the pictures aren’t exposed to light and are therefore not in danger of fading. Doesnt’ matter anyways, since my sketchbooks will not reach anybody, so why was I even asking about this? Well, I have been trying for the last few months not to think of my sketchbook as a precious object; rather, it’s become a study and experimental tool. However, even though I’ve been using other mediums, the very last cognitive hurtle I had to jump was to try the ballpoint thing because… well… it seemed so ‘common’. However, it turns out, that it is the perfect tool for rendering and John is right. It can make a multitude of marks in a multitude of shades; it’s cheap and handy; AND, it comes in colors. I urge all readers to try this; it’s fantastic!

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