Unlike Ellie I favour a Bic fine point and for many years this was my preferred medium. When I was a child one of the best things you could get to draw on was a shirt card, (the stiff packaging that used to be in new shirts), but it was too shiny to take pencil satisfactorily, so biros, readily available but frowned upon for writing, were the perfect answer. The medium is not as unsympathetic as it might first seem. With changes in pressure, crosshatching and the like it is possible to achieve a terrific range of tones including a very rich black.
At college I was a bit shy of using colour, so I carried on using biro, together with water-soluble fibre tip pens, on heavy watercolour paper. And these were large pieces, imperial or A1, so I spent a long time honing the technique. From college I began working for magazines. The biro work really suited the dark editorial subjects that I tended to be given. At this time, still working on watercolour paper, I didn’t do roughs so would often make holes in the paper by repeated erasure and redrawing; a technique that went out of the window with the introduction of laser scanners, which didn’t know what to make of holes. I was, strangely perhaps, given my first children’s book through a designer who saw one of my large college pieces in an exhibition. Storm, was, as Shirley Hughes put it, my “first essay into colour, at this point elegantly restrained”. I had to scale things down a bit from the college work but, essentially I worked in the same way. The very restrained colour came by way of a drop of watercolour wash and the (I thought brave) addition of red and green biros in the cross-hatching. Alan's Website Follow us on Facebook