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How to Erase Ballpoint Pen

By The Arty Teacher - January 30, 2024

I don’t know about you, but I love ballpoint pen drawings. They can include precision, cross hatching and expressive qualities that many artists such as Andrea Joseph, Oscar Ukonu and Jonathan Brechignac have exploited to full effect. Ballpoint pen has the added bonus of being permanent and therefore waterproof, which is useful too.

But, and it’s a big one, ballpoint pen can be intimidating for our students because you can’t rub it out. I can think of many occasions when I have asks students to work in pen and their disapproval has been written on their faces. So here’s a solution:

1. Create a Painted Surface

Add some pale and white acrylic to a surface. This could be book paper like the example below, plain paper or cardboard. Use a dry, hog bristle brush so that you create texture.

How to Erase Ballpoint Pen

2. Sketch in Pencil

Sketch out the drawing in pencil. You could go straight into pen but most students prefer at least a few marks to help them get things in place.

How to Erase Ballpoint Pen

3. Draw in Ballpoint Ben

You can see that a student has made a fantastic start to a ballpoint pen drawing below. But on no! They have made a mistake! What can they do?

How to Erase Ballpoint Pen

4. Paint Over the Mistake

Simple: Cover the mistake in more paint.

How to Erase Ballpoint Pen

5. Continue Drawing

You can see from the drawing below that you would never know a mistake had been made. With a little planning before your students start a ballpoint pen drawing, they can draw with confidence knowing that a mistake won’t be the end of the world.

How to Erase Ballpoint Pen

There are many more blog posts on The Arty Teacher website that look at techniques and processes that are successful in the artroom.

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The Arty Teacher

Sarah Crowther is The Arty Teacher. She is a high school art teacher in the North West of England. She strives to share her enthusiasm for art by providing art teachers around the globe with high-quality resources and by sharing her expertise through this blog.

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