Fine Print Art NYC: Andrey Poletaev

In the current era of printing and paperless data, the humble ballpoint pen has become an increasingly antiquated relic. Once an instrument of great literature and works of art, today's pens are most often relegated for tedious minutia - sticky notes and shopping lists, a shadow of their former glory. That is until Andrey Poletaev gets a hold of one to create one of his astonishing masterpieces. The Ukraine native has been drawing with pens since childhood, cultivating a simple hobby with great discipline into a distinguished career where few could match his extraordinary skill. The black ballpoint illustrations are instantly taken for granted as photos due to the precision of shading, form and detail. 

Madison Ave - ballpoint pen on whatman

Madison Ave - ballpoint pen on whatman

But something magical happens when Andrey switches to blue ink - suddenly the rudimentary nature of his instruments are revealed and the medium itself becomes a protagonist, provoking doubt, disbelief, and finally awe and curiosity at what he's accomplished. 

Magnificent Mile - ballpoint pen on whatman

Magnificent Mile - ballpoint pen on whatman

What could possibly motivate anyone to go to such extravagant lengths with such unsophisticated tools? This wide gap of source vs result is a testament to his work ethic and drive for overall excellence. In his own words: 

Ingrid Bergman - ballpoint pen on whatman

Ingrid Bergman - ballpoint pen on whatman

"Why spend weeks and even months creating just one work of art? I demand the best quality possible from myself. I never stop learning and always look for new techniques or other ways to sharpen my skills. I believe in the saying "If you haven't done your best, your haven't done anything at all" and live by this motto!" 

Fine Print Art NYC

Flight of Whimsy


I planned to create a series of works that resemble steampunk for quite some time. There were always these bits and pieces floating in my head. For years I jotted down the ideas in my notepad along with some sketches and drafts for possible future works. Sometimes these were complete drawings, other times just incomplete parts of something yet to be thought out.

Shortly after my exhibition in Chicago, I came down with flu.  I was sick and exhausted, sleeping in late, but one day I felt better, clearly the cold was going away, and I was excited to get back to work. As I reached for my notepad on the top shelf, I knocked down a coffee pot I set out on the table earlier.  I lost my balance and there went my notepad flying off the shelf, several of my drafts falling down like leaves, landing squarely in the middle of the spilled puddle. For a moment I felt cranky, not so much for the damaged drafts, but because I had to make a new pot of coffee and more importantly clean this mess up. I sat back down for a moment, looking at the chaos. I leaned in and there was this fish, another mechanical piece and some other drafts, all stuck together. Coffee saturated the drafts like concrete, binding them together into a unified perfect piece.  Normally I would`ve jumped to get the paper towels and cleanup, but some strange force kept me motionless, allowing this process to sink in. And there it was. What if I blended the whimsical with the steampunk? I scooped up another notepad, grabbed a pencil and started drafting this piece out while it was fresh in my head. I liked it, it seemed neat, whimsical and tale-like, very imaginative, “Flight of Whimsy” was born. There was just one problem, somebody still had to cleanup this mess and I was out of coffee…

Entertainment Vine: A Modern Master of Ballpoint Pen Art

While the ballpoint pen itself is almost a hundred and thirty years old, only recently we started noticing some excitement and movement of this new independent direction. Before we knew it, simple ballpoint pen drawings turned into true works of art, captured the hearts of many around the world and the Ballpoint Pen Art direction was born. We all played a part in growth of this movement by doodling around with a simple pen and paper without even realizing our contribution to the overall success of this genre, allowing those who are truly skilled to shine and share their vision with us.

Sunny Day, 2016

Sunny Day, 2016

A modern direction of Ballpoint Pen Art has truly taken internet by storm and just as any other direction in the competitive arena of art, it thrives and evolves claiming its rightful place as a worthy contender. Andrey Poletaev, is one of the founders and a visionary in the Ballpoint Pen Art. His love for cityscapes quickly set the tone in the area of Urban Landscapes. Unparalleled excellence and attention to detail, quality over quantity, this as the artist himself defines “is the definition and a stamp of exclusivity”. Rapidly, Poletaev Art has undoubtedly became its own brand in the direction of Ballpoint Pen Art, one glance at his work and you will immediately know that’s a “Poletaev”!

In some of his works Poletaev concentrates all of his attention on personally invented techniques mastered over the years showcasing true artistry of cross hatching, density and angles of the ink. In others he skillfully conceals the technical aspects of the composition and allows impressions and emotions come forth, encouraging the viewer to step inside the scene. The blend of complexity and simplicity of each scene is what sets this artist apart from everyone else.
What was once a childhood hobby, has grown into a never ending passion and dedication to the Urban theme. Poletaev worked in many different areas including oil, pencil, sculpture and other mediums, but drawing with a ballpoint pen is something that artist cherishes and truly loves.

“In each drawing I refine techniques and embed new ones” Andrey Poletaev declared. “I try to achieve the maximum effect of optical illusion. I apply many different layers of ink; layers of very light and long strokes, applied densely to each other; layers applied at other angles of the hatch to create uniform grey surfaces; layers applied with higher pressure on the pen. Variable density of strokes and the length and angle at which they are applied, sharp and smudged, creates a perception of differently textured surfaces. Some areas of the drawing carry stronger or more defined contrast and contours, and multiple layers of ink create the perception of depth” adds Poletaev.

Original Article on Entertainment Vine

Impressions in Ballpoint Pen Art

In my painting Sunny Day, I’m introducing a beautiful architectural work, the Church of Cosmas and Damian.

Constructed in 1794 and located in Kaluga, it is different in style from the typical architectural structures of that time, like St. Petersburg classic construction of that era, which leads to the conclusion that the church is designed by one of the pupils of the famous architect V.V. Rastrelli.

Although I briefly touched on the subject in the past, in the artwork Sunny Day the emphasis falls on all the beauty of the Orthodox architecture highlighting it`s historical values.

In this atypical creation I attempt to focus the viewer’s attention first on the experience perceived from the painting, additional details will slowly come to light later. If the theater of light and shadows created in blue monochrome conveys the feeling of a sunny day, then several figures dressed in light jackets allow the viewer to feel the temperature of the air. Carelessly traced surrounding trees redirect the viewer’s attention to the church, allowing to fully enjoy the beauty and grandeur of this architectural monument.

Featured in The Ballpointer PICKS

Why Does The Ballpoint Pen Art Appeal To The Masses ?



Today I wanted to discuss the connection between the tools of the trade and the increasing popularity of the ballpoint pen art.

One reason ballpoint pen art is so close to my heart is because it`s accessibility to everyone.  In order to create a wonderful piece of art, one doesn’t need a very extensive workshop or spend a lot of money on the art supplies. With a basic ballpoint pen and a sheet of paper you can create a masterpiece.

Many still don’t accept ballpoint pen art as a serious art direction, however they are overlooking one important fact, it`s becoming increasingly popular at the incredibly fast rate. New artists are discovered every single day and their fan base grows by the minute. A drawing with a ballpoint pen is close to everyone because everyone held a pen in their hands at some point - be it at school, at work or on the plane, everyone used a pen to draw something on the paper.

This art direction is not for the select few as everyone can be a viewer and everyone can try their hand at becoming an artist.

I, as a professional artist, try to reveal the possibilities of the ballpoint pen art. I see it as an independent direction and not just the drawing technique. 


-Andrey Poletaev


Logic Behind Creation



During creation of the painting, artist transfers a volumetric image onto the two-dimensional plane and what we see on the canvas is an optical illusion. The more refined and diverse artist`s techniques, the more realistic optical deception becomes. To create volume and the sense of space, you are always in pursuit of tools to deceive the human eyesight. In every painting creator is looking for logical solutions as well as the most appropriate form that creates illusion.

I look for new ways, new tools and mechanisms to perfect my style. Unfortunately ballpoint pen stalls the process of search and experiment, however it allows the time to accept more thoughtful decisions. At the same time, keep in mind that absolute merger with the object can lead to inevitable rejection.

When drawing, I attempt to simplify certain elements of work while achieving the maximum results. Combining sophisticated methods with simplicity creates an illusion of a complex drawing. Certain techniques that I may find simple, could be difficult or impossible for someone else to achieve.

The more elegant and uncommon I work while still implementing the maximum quality, the more refined the results will be. With time and experiment I form various techniques, variety of elements that are implemented in my own style.


Why the ballpoint pen?



Today I will explain why I enjoy using a ballpoint pen and what attracts me to the cityscape. I can say with confidence that ballpoint pen art is accessible to everyone within the art movement. 

At the same time, ballpoint pen artistry can be difficult in execution and very unforgiving. 
Artist must concentrate on the object in the picture to get a better, deeper insight. 
But as we know the ultimate merger with the object can lead to its inevitable rejection. 
The drawing is the result of these contradictions where a startling contrast can be achieved using a ballpoint pen.

I enjoy drawing in modern cityscape because I see artistic as well as historical value in this style. Every city offers its own unique rhythm of life and I attempt to capture it. Images in my drawings have place in time and space. They are nothing more than an attempt to seize the moment; to preserve on a paper what we see around us on the daily basis.

- Andrey Poletaev


Cityscape In Ballpoint Pen

Cityscape In Ballpoint Pen



Today I will explain why I enjoy using a ballpoint pen and what attracts me to the cityscape. I can say with confidence that ballpoint pen is accessible to absolutely everyone.  This art direction is not for the select few, everyone can try their hand at drawing and everyone can be a viewer.

At the same time, ballpoint pen artistry can be difficult in execution and very unforgiving, one wrongful stroke and you may have to start all over. Artist must concentrate on the object in the picture to get a better, deeper insight. The drawing is the result of these contradictions where a startling contrast can be achieved using a ballpoint pen.

I enjoy drawing in modern cityscape because I see artistic as well as historical value in this style. Like the very old photograph of an old street displays it`s meaning, you look at it and you immediately know that nothing else needs to be added to the picture to tell the story.

The city itself is the true hero in my drawings, it offers its own unique rhythm of life, I only attempt to capture and preserve it. These images have their rightful place in time and space. They are nothing more than an attempt to seize the moment, to preserve on a paper the everlasting beauty surrounding us.

-Andrey Poletaev


The World At His Fingertips - By Ronald Bell


Essentially confined to his homeland of Eastern Ukraine, no thanks to powers-that-be battling powers-that-wish-to-be, Andrey Poletaev can luckily travel vast distances without ever having to leave his home. Ballpoint pen in hand he can set off in any direction, as he pleases. No passport. No security checkpoints. No borders. Call it the luck of The Draw. The ability to use art as an escape to lands known-or-unknown proves how drawing skills and "vision" are a magic combination. No formal art education or diploma necessary. Imagination plays a part for many artists, but Poletaev's travels are decidedly more terrestrial. He could be logging frequent flyer mileage. And if his visual documentations thus far don't merit a "diploma", he can simply draw one. 

View original article by Ronald Bell on The Ballpointer


Whimsical Mechanism

Whimsical Mechanism


Art Mechanica is one of my latest drawings as well as the beginning of the new series featuring imaginative work that will be created in parallel to the Urban Cityscapes. Drawing with a ballpoint pen in the area of  Cityscapes  is incredibly time and energy consuming. When I finish one complex piece I like to unwind and temporarily switch to something new to set my imagination free.

I wanted to create a piece featuring mechanics and at the same time I wanted it to be unique. The entire train didn't interest me, but certain components of the train such as the wheels did. The wheels by themselves would be boring and uninteresting. A body was created followed by other components to logically tie this  train-humanoid  into a mechanically capable machine. As a result Art Mechanica was born.

Each artist's work carries a certain sense, but everyone sees it in their own way. Some may find a whimsical mechanism that could be started by giving it a kick in the rear, others may look for something more profound. I don’t attempt to embed deeper meaning and prefer that you, the viewer, find it for yourself.