Drawing With Ballpoints

Since the first version of this site went up (Aug/2006) many people have asked to know how to use a ballpoint to create fine drawings. Others have mentioned a tutorial video in order to help explain, but even sometimes to help them 'believe'. Further down the page is explained how to do it (roughly) in words, but the best way maybe to see it in action.
Recently over the course of a ballpoint drawing commission I documented it's construction through photos, narration, and close up video capture in normal time and sped up time. I've shown how to do the main technique I use and a few tips sprinkled in. Hope my voice isn't distracting. My illocution needs drastic improvement.

Tips for Ballpoint Drawing

biro drawing

My Ballpoint Drawing Technique

Personally I have never felt the need to use any other kind of ballpoint than the standard Bic Biro medium. It's fine enough for sharp detail and loose enough to realease ink at a constant rate for filling areas.
I have been often asked what technique I use when drawing with ballpoint. Firstly, I have developed my current technique from the rather simple but common method of cross hatching over eleven years. Now I gently stroke the surface of the paper with the end of the nib in a quick repetitive action. Skimming the surface lightly leaves a light line. Each line or stroke is as close to the former as possible, creating what appears like a smooth gradient. (Someone asked me how I could see the individual lines). When I draw my head is a little too close to the paper, so I can see it. Unfortunately my long vision is beginning to suffer, and my bad posture has helped cause repetitive stress syndrome in my arms and hands. It is important to remain relaxed and allow the motion of the hands gripping the pen to do all the work. Don't "tighten up" or become concerned. On each pen stroke you can adjust the pressure of the nib in a certain area very slightly to create a gradient along each line, so as long as you place the pressure in the correct areas, after a time of drawing a surface is created that represents shading. I also make each stroke follow what would be the contours of the object I am drawing as it exists in 3D space. For instance in the image above if you look at the 250% image, you can see that the lines are flowing in the direction the fabric is lying on the man's chest. This obviously, can help the photo-realist effect.

kate moss eye, three stages, biro drawing