Master the art of ballpoint

Most people associate ballpoint pens with writing rather than drawing, especially when it comes to ‘serious’ art. But this 162-page book highlights just what incredible work can be created with this humble tool.

Artist Matt Rota begins with a look back at the history of ballpoint drawing, then introduces some of today’s best ballpoint artists.

Some are part of the long tradition of Western European classic drawing, using techniques of illusionism, lines and cross-hatching. But there are also new ways of sketching (opens in new tab) that stem from the unique qualities of the pen. There are also artists who use the medium for commercial work, from advertising campaigns to comic books.

The book explores the various ways ballpoint illustrations can represent the world

The book explores the various ways ballpoint illustrations can represent the world

We also meet some artists of contemporary realism, who are exploring a variety of ways of observing and representing the real world by utilising, and even inventing, new ways of looking.

For readers who want to have a go themselves, each chapter also includes exercises to help you develop your own technique, from line drawing to photo realism to mixed media. Buy the book here (opens in new tab).

This article was originally published in Paint & Draw (opens in new tab) magazine issue 5. Buy it here. (opens in new tab)

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Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.