Ballpoint pen, micron pen and Inktense pencils
on Polyester canvas
Recently I received an email from one of my friends with a photo of her son's HSC art assignment. I was fascinated to find that the majority of the self portrait had been done with biro, or ballpoint pen and this inspired me to do some research and experimentation in the use of ballpoint pen as a serious medium for use in art. There are quite a few artists now who used the ballpoint pen in their artwork, one of them most notably is Juan Francisco Casas who creates huge photorealistic artworks in blue bic pens. Another artist Allan Barbeau spent 96 hours doing an amazing reproduction of the Mona Lisa using only ballpoint pen.
Mostly I have tried to use ballpoint pens with an ISO 12757-2 rating because this ink is the most archival, but I also used bic pens for some of the finer work. Working with the ballpoint pen gave a mixed sense of satisfaction with the way lovely gradients of shading could be achieved from soft right through to deep and dark, but also some angst, as there really is no room for error, so in that way, it is quite an unforgiving medium. For now though, I am hooked and for my next artwork, am aiming to work on a bigger canvas, so will probably need to post progress shots.