Pen Drawings As Warm Up

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Pen Drawings - sketches of biceps, smiling girl, foes

I haven’t drawn in ages. Let me clarify. It’s not like I haven’t drawn anything recently, I draw doodles and thumbnails of things all the time. I’m a designer and a lot of my ideas come out in tiny visual sketches. But those are all documentary and explanatory drawings. I haven’t sat down and sketched anything purely for the sake of drawing in ages. Wanting to break the long famine of purely exploratory sketching, today I set out to do some pen drawings.

Most people don’t think of the standard ball point pen as a drawing instrument. I love it for drawing, and there are a few reasons for it. Firstly, it’s not a specialist artist’s tool. It’s office equipment, and the idea of using something so ubiquitous to produce beautiful imagery excites me. Secondly, I like the fact that I can’t erase my mistakes with a ball point pen. There is a certain freedom that comes from the permanence of the pen and ink on paper. You can just let go, put line down on paper, and simply live with your mistakes, incorporating them into the finished piece. It frees you up from over thinking the drawing process, and it also encourages a certain level of mental discipline to put down only those lines which you think are absolutely necessary.

Pen Drawings - sketches of platform shoes, fashion, ampersand

I set myself the task of finishing at least three A4 sheets of sketches today, which I did. I sat down with a bunch of magazines, opened them up and chose interesting images in sequence which I then proceeded to sketch quickly on the paper, directly with the pen. There was no plan or decided layout. An image was chosen, it was drawn on the sheet and then another was chosen and drawn until the sheet was filled to satisfaction. Obviously, there was some thought put into where to place the next piece of imagery, but since all the elements that were to go in were never pre-decided, the collages have a randomness to them which I like.

Pen Drawings - sketches of camel, Burj Dubai, worrying man

For a beginning after such a long hiatus, I am quite pleased with the results. Each of these took me about 30 minutes to complete. While the quality of the drawing is not quite up to even my mediocre standards when I was drawing more regularly, It’s nice to see I haven’t lost it completely. A bit of regular practice should bring me back up to speed soon enough. At least with the excuse of putting up sketches on this blog, I can push myself to do this more regularly. Any sketching and drawing fans out there.? What are your experiences with sketching and keeping in practice?


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  1. Samir, I never imagined how good you were, a good designer goes with the hand with a good illustrator, so you have both, I’m glad you made yourself draw, as this is only a warm up I would like to see more very soon.


    1. Thanks Magali. As I mentioned, I haven’t managed to draw for a long time. I’m hoping this will kick-start me back into the habit and I can do some sketches at more regular intervals. When I do, you will definitely see more here.

      Then, onward to water colours! šŸ˜‰


  2. I hope you were thinking of me when you drew that shoe… I WANT!!!!
    Now I’m craving shoes.. sigh 7 hrs more at work then I can hit the mall!!

    1. Obviously, Candy, it’s impossible for me to think of female footwear (or even male footwear, for that matter) without thinking of you. šŸ˜›

      I could take this craving of yours as a compliment, but then I’m guessing it doesnt take much to set you off. Happy shopping!


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