Who knew the lowly ballpoint could be such a versatile drawing instrument? Obviously, Gabi Campanario did. This was Urban Sketcher Seattle’s last 10×10 Workshop for the year, “Urban Sketching wtih a Ballpoint Pen”.
Gabi started with some history and observations about ballpoints.
While the ballpoint is not archival nor lightfast, it can still be a useful tool for daily sketches in a pocket sketchbook. To that end, Gabi gave us all Stillman and Birn Episilon books (heavyweight 150 gm, white, smooth paper suitable for pen & ink, dry media and light wash).
Using a ballpoint slows down the drawing process but increases accuracy. He demonstrated how pressure creates a variety of line widths and values. Also, how its held changes the line quality.
We did two exercises. First we created a value scale and shaded objects. Next we created textures with slow, fast, light and dark lines.
He followed this with a demonstration of his technique with a long drawing session. While he was drawing, I drew him.
As his drawing progress, we started our own sketches. I used the Stillman and Birn pocket Beta. I also chose a more simplified section of the gas works. I hadn’t shaded the tank(s) and Gabi suggested I do as their value was darker than the sky. I also went back in to add additional shading to the grass in lower left, which I later thought was too much. So we learn!
No matter how slow I try to go, I seem to finish before others. So I did a second sketch.
This was an excellent workshop. I recommend any of Gabi’s offerings as he’s an excellent teacher.
I intend to continue to use a ball point pen. I’m thinking of doing “Inktober” with just the ball point.
BTW, I finished a record three notebooks today:
1. The Stillman and Birn pocket Beta I used for the workshop, started March 2019. I didn’t open the one we were given for the workshop but now I will start that one.
2. The Field Notes Signature Sketchbook. It took a year to fill (I have other sketchbooks).
3. The Field Notes Mercury edition, my every day carry (EDC) for writing and notes. Started in Oct 2018.