Spooky Ballpoint Illustration: How to Draw a Skull & Crow

Skull and crow illustration

By: Bonnie Wong

Hello everyone! I’m Bonnie from @super.bonnie and I’m going to show you how to illustrate something spooky just in time for Halloween! October is my favorite time of the year and Halloween conjures up so much joy and I simply love it! I’ll be creating a black and white drawing of a crow on a skull using my favorite ballpoint pen—the STEEL F-301 Retractable Ballpoint Pen and a few of my other go-to Zebra Pen products. Let’s gather our supplies and get started!

 

STEEL F-301 Ballpoint Pen and Drafix Technical Drawing Pencils

Supplies:

 

Pencil sketch of skull and crow

Step 1: Sketch

Start by lightly sketching out a skull and crow roughly onto a piece of drawing paper or bristol paper using the Zensations Drafix Technical Pencil. This pencil is excellent for sketching out all of your creative ideas and I love how they’re available in 4 different point sizes: 0.3mm, 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 0.9mm. I ended up referencing some crow images and an anatomical skull model for better accuracy.

 

Pencil sketch of a skull and a crow

Step 2: Outline in Ballpoint

Next, outline the sketch lightly with the STEEL F-301 Ballpoint Retractable Pen. This is my favorite ballpoint pen to draw with because the ink flows well and it allows me to gradually build up my values with each stroke. It also has a sleek metal body that fits comfortably in my hand when illustrating for long periods. When outlining with pen, I like to use light strokes and finish with darker strokes at the very end since ballpoint pen is not very forgiving and cannot be erased.

 

Cross-hatching ballpoint technique on skull and crowCloseup of cross-hatching in ballpoint

Step 3: Add Cross-hatching

Time for the fun stuff! Now, we’ll begin to fill in the details. I’ll be cross-hatching the darker values to give it more texture with the STEEL F-301. You can practice different shading techniques on a separate piece of paper prior to inking. To enhance some of the darker values, the Zensations Technical Drawing Pen works well since the ink is quick drying and is also archival. Archival inks are ideal when creating art as the ink is resistant to weathering and fading when kept in controlled conditions.

 

Ballpoint illustration of a skull and a crow

Step 4: Erase Pencil Marks

After all of the details have been made and the ink is dry, erase any remaining pencil marks with a white eraser. The ink from the STEEL F-301 Ballpoint Retractable Pen and Zensations Technical Drawing Pen dries quickly so it won’t smudge while you’re erasing. That’s a plus for me since I’m left-handed. In the end, I decided not to use the Zensations Technical Drawing Pen for this piece after all because I wanted to maintain the purity of the ballpoint pen ink. It’s okay to change your mind with materials when creating your art and to just have fun with it. Feel free to use the Zensations Technical Drawing Pen or keep it simple with ballpoint, like mine.

And, we’re done! I hope you feel inspired to draw something spooktacular this Halloween season! To see more of my work, make sure to follow me on Instagram at @super.bonnie.