Thursday, June 15, 2023

King Charles III

6/10/23 Bic ballpoint in Field Notes Streetscapes sketchbook
(unattributed reference photo found on Wikipedia)

 As mentioned when I sketched Queen Elizabeth upon her death, I’m not particularly interested in the British Royal Family. But even without being a Royal-phile or collector of King Charles III’s coronation memorabilia, I certainly coveted a coronation commemorative Bic 4-Color ballpoint pen. A sweet friend across the pond knew that I would and sent me one, along with a pencil, stickers and bookmark. Since I received the gifts shortly before June 10, which is National Ballpoint Pen Day, I knew that would be the day to initiate the special 4-Color with a sketch.

It was easy to choose the subject, but I hadn’t thought about the pressure of making this portrait until I opened my sketchbook. Although I’ve been practicing portraiture of random, unknown people since last October (165 so far), this particular face is familiar around the world. Likeness was suddenly more important than usual. Other than his mother, His Majesty is probably the only famous person I have ever attempted to draw. Whew! I needed a lie-down after I was done!

One of three designs available at CultPens

Despite feeling that pressure, I want to acknowledge that if it hadn’t been for France Van Stone's online crosshatching course last fall, I never would have had the courage or confidence to attempt this royal portrait. France’s approach, jumping into Inktober with ballpoint portraiture, and the regular practice I’ve done since then all got me over whatever barrier of resistance and fear I had about portraiture before then. It’s never easy, but I no longer hesitate -- even when it’s the King of England.

By the way, in case you’re unaware, collecting Bic 4-Colors is a thing. The 4-Color is my favorite Bic form factor, and I do have a few, but I don’t collect them the way some do, like a fellow member of a Facebook group devoted to Bic ballpoints (of course there is such a group). He occasionally shows images of his vast collection, which includes limited editions, commemorative pieces and editions available only in Europe. I’m sure he already has all the variations, but I couldn’t resist running to the group and showing off my coronation 4-Color immediately.


  1. Great score on the commemorative pen and pencil. Nice sketch too.

    1. Thanks! I'm tickled to have these commemorative pieces!

  2. I love the idea that you used the commemorative 4-color pen for the portrait of the King. It came out really well.


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