Today at the supermarket I noticed a pack of ten colourful Staedtler Ball 432 pens for the equivalent of $2USD / £1.25GBP – pretty cheap! I’ve seen people colouring with ballpoints before and have wanted to try it for a while, so I snagged ’em.

They’re actually pretty fun to colour with! The colours are bright and vibrant and once you get through the initial first scratchy phase as the ink rolls out for the first time (I recommend scribbling on a scrap piece of paper until the ink starts flowing) they’re pretty soft and fluid to colour with and feel very nice on the paper.

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You can even accomplish some pretty decent blending with them (the blue looks a bit scratchy in the pic above, but the purple > pink is much smoother) – your colouring-fu needs to be pretty on the ball (haha, on the ball, pall-point, geddit? I’ll show myself out…) because you need to hold the pens very lightly to put down very soft layers of colour but if you can manage that, the colours overlap very well – colouring lightly like this also avoids the typical scratchy look of ballpoints and minimises the white space between pen strokes and little bits of leftover white areas.

This is the finished pattern (it’s from this book, by the way – Decorative Designs: the Gift of Coloring for Grown-Ups). I started in the middle and you can see my technique improving from the middle outwards as I got used to colouring with them – the outer petals have a less ‘scribbly’ look. Colouring with these feels like a happy medium between felt-tipped pens and pencils; nice bright colours with a little bit of texture and some blending capabilities. Stronger colours than what pencils can achieve (unless you can afford the high quality stuff) without the ‘flatness’ of felt pens. Because the tips are metal, though, if you do find yourself pressing down on the paper with any amount of force the pens will leave an impression in the paper and the paper will eventually warp, so I’d recommend using them on thicker leaves where the effect on the pattern on the other side will be minimal.

All in all, fun to colour with and they were so cheap it’s worth it just to give them a go and play around with something different. 🙂