From The Sketchbook: Ball Point Pen Doodling (7/18)

For some reason last week I decided to grab a Bic ballpoint pen from the “pen cup” on top of our refrigerator and fill a sketchbook page with ball point pen doodles. I hadn’t drawn with ballpoint pen in a while, and I’d forgotten what an interesting drawing tool it is. It’s sort of halfway between a pencil and a fountain pen: it’s permanent and non-erasable like a pen, but it can be applied lightly or heavily depending on applied pressure, as with a pencil.

I always tell my students that there are three types of drawing that you should be doing in your sketchbook: goal-directed drawing (character designs, thumbnails, etc. for projects), drawing from life, and drawing from imagination. Back in my high school and college days, drawing from imagination was what I did almost entirely to the exclusion of the other two. As I’ve gotten older, though, things seem to have flip-flopped: my sketchbook is pretty much entirely goal-directed things like working on hands or drapery from photo reference, the occasional life drawing, or drawings for my own comics or things like AlphaBooks. I really need to up the amount of drawing from imagination I do. This ballpoint pen exercise was a fun way to do that.

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