gallery by The Editors

The New York artist shares his portfolio of lifelike ballpoint pen drawings

reading time 7 minutes

Nicolas V. Sanchez draws with photographic precision and a great painter’s eye for color and detail. The New York-based artist has developed a thriving practice with his lifelike ballpoint pen drawings and paintings, earning him international exhibitions, residencies, and a rung of celebrity clients commissioning his work. His practice is mobile. Sanchez draws wherever in the world his art happens to take him, in city squares, cafes, planes, and subways. On his wildly popular instagram, he holds up his latest drawings against the backdrop of his current city. Today, he shares his portfolio of ballpoint pen drawings and sketches with Fold, and explains his trademark technique.

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I went to the New York Academy of Art and my train commute from my apartment to school was about 40 minutes. What to do with that time? I could have played video games, but instead I just started sketching in my notebook, doodling and drawing whatever came to mind with my pen. And that’s how it started to develop. Eventually I integrated it into my studio practice.

I’ve always been drawing. My dad always had a ballpoint pen in his pocket and he taught me to draw at a very young age. I always loved ink. It’s under-utilized by artists. In fact, I’m soon going to bring out my own ballpoint pen.

I photograph my sketches on location while I travel and commute. That has become a part of my daily life. I share them like that on my Instagram to show that it’s a work in progress. It’s a replacement for a selfie, I guess.

It’s also a way of separating them from my “books,” which are more final pieces that I’ve consciously curated and designed with a specific idea in mind. My work explores the theme of inheritance, whether it’s cultural or artistic. That’s why I called my book series, “Herencia.” It captures my background in the midwest, rural animals, the landscape, latino culture, and my family.

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