The Art of Ballpoint: New Book That’s More Than it Seems

The Art of Ballpoint by Matt Rota

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of The Art of Ballpoint by artist and illustrator Matt Rota. After a careful read, here is what I found.

I was immediately struck by the accessibility and depth of the book. You can read it either as a tool and resource for technique, a history book, or a deep cross-section of stylistic choices for the use of this oft-overlooked medium. Equal parts instruction and inspiration the book foiled my attempts to skim and I found myself drinking in every word and image.

I found myself inspired. I don’t use ballpoint, and I may not still, but the words and work in the book left me with inspiration and excitement to bring to my own work. Matt’s particular lense into the history of this art form, brings knowledge well beyond the medium of focus.

Just look at the samples of styles below, and the step by step for drawing hands which is one of many easy-to-follow tutorials in the book. You’ll be surprised at what you find.

Matt Rota is as clear a writer as he is an artist and educator. Read this book and you can’t help but fall in love not only with ballpoint but with art itself.

You can find it here on Amazon.

The Art of Ballpoint by Matt RotaThe Art of Ballpoint by Matt RotaThe Art of Ballpoint by Matt RotaThe Art of Ballpoint by Matt Rota

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Books

Author:Marc Scheff

Marc Scheff is an illustrator whose work has appeared in publications including Spectrum, ImagineFX, and more. Marc teaches illustration at the Academy of Art University, podcasts with the good people at Drawn Today, and recently co-founded Awesome Horse Studios, the free livestream demo/crit channel. See and learn more at:

Don't miss a thing!

Subscribe to our RSS feed and social profiles to receive updates.

4 Comments on “The Art of Ballpoint: New Book That’s More Than it Seems”

  1. plexius
    December 9, 2015 at 6:48 am #


  2. December 16, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    I know for a fact that I have this book coming to me for Christmas and I am super pumped about it.

  3. Aya's Cave
    December 27, 2015 at 3:02 am #


  4. Jitani
    January 10, 2016 at 7:08 am #

    Who is Matt Rota and what makes him such an authority of ballpoint pen art? He’s completely wrong in the sampled page describing “volume with crosshatching”. All ink mediums require some form of crosshatching to convey volume. Ballpoint pens are very capable of creating lines of varying weight. In fact, this is one aspect which separates ballpoints from other pens; press hard and you get a solid line, press lightly and you get halftone lines. And the promotional blurbs state “featuring several leading contemporary ballpoint artists”, butwhat constitutes “leading”? With the exception of Shane MacAdams I’ve never heard of other credited artists, and none of the others seem to be doing anything groundbreaking except that its done in ballpoint and they’re trying to commandeer some ballpoint wow-factor for themselves. Seems more like Mr. Rotas pushing the work of his friends, students, or fellow alumni. Where’s Il Lee? Where’s Rebecca Yanovskaya? Where’s Lennie mace? Where’s Shohei?


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.