Richly Layered Ballpoint Pen & Marker Portraits

1 toyin odutola

Although these striking portraits by Toyin Odutola appear to be digital, they are actually illustrations using markers and many layers of ballpoint pen. Through her work, the Nigerian-American artist shows the many layers and constant evolving of an individual, often using herself or her brothers as the subjects. To achieve the darkness in the hair, she uses up to five layers of pen, but the main focus of her work is meant to be the skin. Just as the ink of a ballpoint pen is not really black, her images redefine blackness. She has published an abridged version of her masters thesis from California College of the Arts in a book called Alphabet: A Selected Index of Anecdotes & Drawings where she explains how her life experiences have shaped her art.