Over here at TAE, what makes you different makes you special, as is the case for artist Mark Powell. He uses nothing but a normal ballpoint pen to create astoundingly detailed vintage-looking images of people. He draws portraits of the elderly on archaic documents dating to as far back as 1763, which is a unique and easily identifiable style.

When asked what triggered him to do this, he responds, “I was given an envelope that was sent from the WWI front line. Just before the soldier went over the trenches, he scribbled a note to his loved ones. Because he went over the top it’s unlikely that he came back, and almost a hundred years later I end up with this envelope. I decided to draw him as an old man – and then it snowballed.”

Formerly a painter, he switched to the Bic Biro ballpoint pen easily because he used the same tool to sketch his paintings. He loves using that particular pen for two reasons: 1) It’s a simple item from which he can show amazing results, and 2) It’s a challenge to create something without destroying both the drawing and the antique document. “I like that pressure to get it right,” he says.

Eventually, the London-based artist switched things up with his style, drawing on maps and newspapers, and he has also started sketching birds in addition to faces. Here are some of his works to showcase what he can do with simple items:

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To know more about Mark Powell, visit his website. Thanks for reading!