When a cheap ballpoint pen meets a talented artist

There is a certain charm to pen and ink illustrations. In a world filled with brash and garish digital illustrations, the humble pen and ink harks back to a simpler age. Once abundant in magazines, owing to their ability to reproduce well in print, this stark and exacting illustration style is fading in the Photoshop era.

It is easy to assume illustrators prefer digital tools simply because they are easier to manage and more efficient. Mistakes can be easily undone and you can layer a correction in minutes as opposed to days – although, there may be more to it than that.

Drawing with a pen, directly onto a fresh white sheet of paper can be a nerve-racking task. The artist has to commit to every stroke, weaving and cross hatching subtle tone while simultaneously maintaining a vision of the  overall final piece – not an easy task.

This lovely piece by Amit Mazumder is a beautiful example of what a talented artist can achieve with a simple ballpoint pen.

Open WIndow
Open Window by Amit Mazumder

The subject is a hauntingly familiar window of a colonial era house, the kind that can be found tucked away in small streets across the country. What makes the subject even more appealing is the vignette he employs in the design of the composition.


Amit achieves a wonderful variety of tone using a simple Reynolds ballpoint pen, using hatching techniques, made famous by past masters like Durer, and used extensively during the early days of print publishing. A closer look at his work demonstrates how he builds volume into the drawing using hundreds of little strokes – skilfully differentiating between the texture of the ancient crumbling  wall and the exposed brickwork.


You can view more artwork by Amit here:

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