Since 2014

Original content © The Ballpointer / Mahozawari Unlimited

Andrey Poletaev   Lugansk, Ukraine

illustration by Susan May for The Ballpointer

Shirish Deshpande   Belgaum, India

Peter Ross   Hong Kong

Pepe Lozano   Cordoba, Spain

Lennie Mace   Tokyo, Japan


Gareth Edwards   Stourbridge, England

Guy Woodard   New York, New York

  EDITORIAL  by R. Bell  originally posted October 27, 2014

Missing the Ball Point

Dimes-to-donuts there's a ballpoint pen within reach of you right now. Reliable friends, always there when you need them; on standby to scratch a Hitler mustache onto The President or blacken the teeth of the covergirl dujour. Your grade-school composition books were probably filled with more stream-of-conscious creative filler than actual studies. But this proletarian tool is no longer just for signing checks, writing postcards or doodling sweet nothings.
   The origins of ballpoint artwork echo the humble origins of art itself. Caveman roots; the universal, instinctive urge to create. For some, an irresistible force; to express oneself, to leave one's mark, to teach, using whatever tools are available. All that's necessary is the will to do so, pressed by a bit of creative curiosity, aided by ingenuity. ''Let's see what happens when I do this.'' Galleries, museums and art critics enter the equation much later. 
   There you sit, a dozen-thousand years later, surfing through the daily barrage of viral news. A headline grabs you: Starving Artist Illustrates The Bible on his Bedroom Wall Using Ballpoint Pens. Well, ''starving artist '' doesn't mean much anymore; with the amount of aspiring artists art schools churn out every year its a miracle anyone goes onto a career. ''Illustrating the Bible ''? Hasn't that already been accomplished in any number of formats  any number of times in any number of languages ? ''On his bedroom wall ''? Children cover walls with masterpieces daily, to their parent's dismay, worldwide. And ''using ballpoint pen''? Now there's a story, right Well
   News outlets worldwide still report about artwork created using ballpoint pens as if, in the half-century since its invention, the pens have never been given any artistic consideration. Prior to the advent of the internet and social media, their ignorance could be forgiven. Nowadays ballpointers are everywhere, in every corner of the world, and the so-called ballpoint Wow Factor in and of itself carries less weight. The internet and social media are these days awash with ballpoint art blogs of every stripe, although with varying content. Ballpoint art classes may already be part of a curriculum somewhere. But the birth of the internet didn't mark the beginnings of ballpoint innovation; if anything, it merely serves as proof of how commonplace it has become, or how it has been  all along 

Holly Cappello   Portland, Oregon

A Year in The Pen  The Ballpointer  Nov 2014 - Nov 2015   PICKS  of the Litter 2015

​​​    PICK PIECES   The Ballpointer staff choose the artwork and let the artist explain it in their own words   Vol 4 No 5  originally posted Aug 15, 2017

Nicolas V. SanchezNew York, NY

Sketchbook  Multiple, between 2015~2017 ・ 3.5 x 5.5'' (8.89 x 13.97cm) ・ ballpoint pen in Moleskine sketchbook.

Lennie Mace, 1984   New York, New York

​​​​​​RECAP   originally posted in installments throughout 2015

Andy Warhol @ Christie's  online auction series, 2015 

Read archived coverage of Warhol ballpoints put up for sale

''When drawing in my sketchbook during my commute, I'm not really thinking of anything very specific. My mind drifts in and out of being present with my current surroundings when I'm drawing. It's like when you're listening to music and it transports you to another memory/place — your mind drifts. Then all it takes is a new passenger to settle in next to you on the train, or the flight attendant offering you something to drink, to bring you back into a different focus. 

My drawing conditions when I commute vary each time. I draw while on almost every mode of transportation; train, bus, plane, ferry, car, cab. Sometimes I'm sitting next to a stranger who is staring over my shoulder while I draw or by someone who is doing their own thing and has no idea I'm drawing. 

Drawing on the train has generated a variety of responses. One time as I sat down and began to draw on the train, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I looked up tentatively, and as I faced the person sitting across from me, they held their phone to my face and said, 'IS THIS YOU?!' Their phone was opened to my Instagram account. They said they have been following me for years and that they recognized me from my hat after I started drawing. It was a very funny surreal moment.

There are other times when I see people record me with their phones right before getting off the train. They quick zoom in on my face and then my sketchbook page before they get off at their stop. Other times, people just say 'hey, good job.' or 'did you draw that with just that pen?' or 'nice. I like to draw too.' 

My sketches on the train don't always finish in one ride. I also don't draw every single time I'm on the train. Depending on the complexity or sensitivity of the sketch and how realized I feel like making it, I can finish a sketch in one to four 30-40 minute train rides''  

For more art, information & contact: 

Nicolas V. Sanchez is featured in the  Summer 2017  edition of  DRAWING  magazine, which spotlights several ballpoint pen artists. 

He and his work will also be the subject of a  PENNAME  feature in an upcoming edition of  The Ballpointer. 

Artwork © Nicolas V. Sanchez

M.I. Shaikh   Mumbai, India

Matt Rota   Brooklyn, New York

Over the past several years artist  Nicolas V. Sanchez  has been sharing his on-the-go ballpoint sketches via a steady stream of social media posts and  The Ballpointer  has been eager to learn more the whole time. Recently, selections of the sketches started appearing in various art publications and websites.  The Ballpointer  had also been  PICKing from his posts and running them within the  DE FACED slideshow here on the  PICKS  page, but  Sanchez  also finally responded to inquiries and shared a little bit more about them than his normal  ''Drawn on the way to Amsterdam''  blurbs.

Here are some of the artist's own thoughts (bottom) accompanied by a selection of sketches compiled into a special  PICKS  slideshow...  

2015  PICKS  page archive MENU

FEB2015~NOV2015click the BALLPOINTER graphic (left) to access the full 2015 menu

MalOjo   Basque Country

Shane McAdams   Wisconsin / Brooklyn

Pepe Lozano   Cordoba, Spain

PICKS PAGE ARCHIVES2016:  Read about these artworks in the artists' own words in The Ballpointer PICKPIECE archives. Click on the artwork to see their PICKPIECES.

James Mylne, 1999   London, England

Eric Seaholm   Tokyo, Japan

Andrey Poletaev   Lugansk, Ukraine

Dave Warshaw   San Diego, California

Chen Zhen   Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Ler Huang   Kaohsiung, Taiwan