Ballpoint pen portraits

I’ve wanted to draw something with a Bic biro for ages—that indigo blue kills me. Then I found that spraying a bit of isopropanol makes the ink run, and you get this great watery effect. (Though it seems to be only the magenta pigment that runs. The cyan doesn’t seem to run much).

Drawn on 300g brilliant white Clairalfa inkjet paper.

The Bob Mortimer (the bottom one) was the first I tried this way. It looks OK… but there are probably too many lines going on. Less is definitely more when you get it right. The drawings above Bob are more like it.

Bristol mugs

Portraits from police press releases. These 32 portraits are a follow-on to my ‘Somerset drug dealers‘ collection from 2017. What is it about these faces? They completely fascinate me. Some are defiant, some are defeated—but no one’s really posing. There’s something completely real about them. In the age of mugging for a profile picture, these have to be the polar opposite. (Drawn with Kyle brushes).


Cover art for ‘Oath’ by De’Jour Thomas.
The top picture is drawn in pencil, pen and ink, and the bottom one with Kyle brushes. For reference material, I asked De’Jour to make a video of his head, slowly panning round from one side to the other. You get a lot of mileage that way.
[Click the illustrations for a closer look].