Oct 3 2009Needs More Cowbell: Geekologie Reader's Christopher Walken Ballpoint Portrait


This is a ballpoint pen portrait of everyone's favorite half-zombie Christopher Walken by loyal Geekologie Reader and comic book artist Jesse Starr. It was created in approximately 30 hours with no errors using nothing but black Bic ballpoint pens. Good lookin', Jesse -- I sure as hell could never do that. You see, I'm too prone to making mistakes. I'm looking at you, son. Kidding! But call your sisters in here so I can look at them.

UPDATE: Portrait is available for sale ($2K) on eBay HERE.

Hit the jump for two more shots of the impressiveness.



Jesse's DeviantART

Thanks Jesse, now how about one of me riding a dinosaur battling a volcano?

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Reader Comments


oh yeah. fristrstre!!121!1first123uh.

impressive, but i've seen better ballpoint portraits of christopher walken

dude i have been telling everyone about these pens specifically, they are so rad for drawing. I prefer the flow of the blue one, personally, but they are far and above any other pen for drawing, which is crazy, because they're like, $2 for 20 of them or something ridiculous like that.

lets see him do this portrait with a Bic LIGHTER!!!

I must have this.

Your Mum.
Very Cool
Your mum!


that is good!

a-mazing. i'd buy that.


This is a complete photoshopjob. You can tell its a fake because the shadow's are all wrong.

This is exactly like that scene in the movie NEver BAck Down where MAx was getting tortured by a mobster and told him about sicilian history, and explained why the sicilains have such dark skin.

I would to like purchase said drawing.....for one hundred million dollars

it really makes me sad that people actually ARE telented...
momma you lied to me..

Wow, my drawing would like a stick figure with baggy eyes...

It's hard to believe you the subtle shades of gray were done with a ballpoint pen.

The best part is the hair and the eyes.

holy crap
tahts freakin amazing...

This is not a very big drawing, which makes me think that the photo would be just as nice. I just don't see the point. I think 2k is really to high a price for a glorified manual photo copy.

When life gives you Zombies... Drawing amazing life like portraits of the flesh eaters while they devour you might not be such a good idea.

Thanks a lot everyone, even the haters... lol. It's funny how a drawn portrait is awesome to come ppl until it gets too real, then all of a sudden they think it was a waste of time... lol. I'll draw the next one with my left hand just for you guys. Thanks again everyone.

did you use a grid?

Damn now that's some love and appreciation of artwork even if its Walken. Still some exceptional work trully that is insanely impressive and difficult I know I tried and FAILED!!! Well not really it was a BILLION TIMES HIS LIKE UM..... TAKIN UP A WALL SO GREAT!!!! That's right I am the guy who did the Chapel!!! WHAHAHAHAHA Okay I am done now.

I've seen this baby in real life and believe you me, it's not a fake and it's freakin' amazing. The amount of talent that this man possesses is completely unfathomable and worth every bit of 2 grand and more. Rock on Jesse!

Ehhhh.... I'm going to go ahead and call shenanigans. It'd be nice to have seen a couple "work in progress" shots to verify that this was indeed done with ballpoint pens... as opposed to the "I'm holding a ballpoint pen to a finished product", the "I am resting a ballpoint pen on top of the picture", and the "Hey! It's a picture!" photos.

Ultimately, I'm just saddened that you faked out GW just for some publicity.

Smarten up. It's a copy of a photograph. It's not like it's art, he copied a photo, and in black and white. Big deal. People in art school make these every semester with bigger paper and they make them more realistic.

Nobody is going to pay two thousand dollars photo realistic drawing. What a huge douche bag.

Serious talent.

For a mere two grand you can examine it's authenticity for yourself. ;)

holy freaking awesome batman
dear jesse starr, you are made of win

Captivating. I like his eyes.

wow you guys who "call shenanigans" and say its photoshopped are idiots. I am an artist along side of Jesse in shows and his best friend. Trust me. It's real. Stop craving to point out that someone's fake and just develop your own talent.

K, so earlier on when i was talking about the awesomeness of these ballpoint pens, it still takes someone with creative talent to wield them. anyone who has any drawing talent knows you can shade with a pen, but it doesn't mean you'll be any good at it, haha. you definitely have skill, Mr. Starr, and the trolling trolls are trolling, so ignore their ridiculousness.

He's a god among gods, drawing gods.

Very cool. I agree some work in progress shots would have been cool but I don't doubt the authenticity of the work.

I am absolutely terrible at drawing - very jealous I can't make something like this.

Good work Jesse!


Relax. The photoshop thing... well read other comments on other topics... you'll get it!

Artwork=Amazing! I want to own because my psychic visions tell me someday this will be worth it's weight in clean air!!!!!

This is really kick @$$! I would love to have even a SCAN of this! WONDERFUL job! I am VERY impressed!

That is skill

Must See!!!



I'm pretty sure the very first photograph even before the jump is a pic of the work in progress. Open your goddamn eyes.

This is totally fake!

Its slavishly traced from a photo, so it involves no artistic skill at all! There are robots in most offices that can do this...they eat toner!

I think this looks good, but I need to nitpick that the hand is not in scale with the face. Which, actually (along with the hair being shaded strangely) shows that there are errors, meaning it is a legit drawing, and was not traced exactly from a photograph.

Excellent work Jesse, but you forgot to sign it!

I like this portrait as much as I love Daisy comment BUT 2k$????

And Mr Starr I really hope you didn't write the item's description on eBay:
"It was skillfully created with the use of black Bic Ball Point Pens only. When viewed in person, this breathtaking portrait depicts an unparalleled quality of craftsmanship. It is impossible to appreciate the stunning mastery of the drawing through a photograph, but it is guaranteed as a piece to be cherished by art collectors of all degrees."

Yeah I didn't write or set up the ebay page. I would never have written that. Also, I literally took the main pic right after I finished it and I didn't have a pen handy that would write on black so I had to wait to sign it. It is signed now and at a frame shop getting professionally framed and photographed.

As far as the price goes, I have been lucky enough to be involved in something that has allowed me to meet and become acquaintances with world famous artists. Many have been shown my work and the consensus is that it should sell for $5k at the very least. Most agree that it is worth much more. It's a lot different when you see it up close and in person. I have only recently discovered this talent and because of that I am being modest up front with what I am charging (it's hard for me to attach a price to my art, as is the case with most artists). Two years ago I was homeless and was drunk and at times suicidal. I was the lowest of the low. Since then I have learned a lot and now I own a business and am on the brink of becoming a famous comic book artist. The pen art was something I figured out accidentally and happen to be exceptionally good at and it's something I can be proud of. I know now that you can do whatever you hold in mind and if you genuinely believe it will happen then it already has, you just have to get there.

I can't thank you all enough for your comments, it really feels great. I appreciate every one.


I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!!

The photo is on page one of a google image search. Its the same! (hand not in scale because it was closer to the camera when the photo was taken) Hair simplified to avoid RSI. I imagine any general distortion would be due to an error in setting the projector that was shining at the paper....or did he use a light-box?

Sorry if I sound corny, but Jesse, you should be proud of yourself, you're a very talented person!!! It's amazing someone could do that with just a ballpoint pen! And I'm telling you this from the country where the ballpoint pen was invented, Argentina ;-)


Light-box or projector?

(I'd have used a photo copier)

I use an opaque projector to make points at various locations on the image. Corners of the eyes, the corners and top and bottom of the mouth, fingertips, chin, etc. I only do this as a time saving technique, many artists do (I am confident in my ability to reproduce anything to scale without any projection/ tracing). Another thing is that you can't lay down too much pencil under the ink or it will not work properly, so I can only do the main points and then work from that. This is why it's not perfect, but as close as possible. The hard parts (i.e. the skin topology, wrinkles, textures, lighting, etc.) could never be traced or projected, it's just not possible. Thanks again!

Nice drawing.

Who took the source photo, and did you get permission to do derivitive works and sell them?

My question is what kind of paper do you use?

The paper is Strathmore Bristol 300 Series with Vellum finish. Not sure if there is a better paper out there for this or not but what I use now is great. As far as the paper goes I can tell you that it's best to work so that you don't lean or put any pressure on the parts of the sheet you have yet to draw on. The pressure changes the surface of the paper very slightly but when you are working on something like this it makes a huge difference. Basically the paper has a slight texture to it, though it feels relatively smooth. The texture is created by the individual fibers that the paper is made of. The pen has to brush these fibers very gently in order to be able to shade smoothly. Any pressure will cause the fibers to flatten a little and it makes it much harder to get a consistent gradient. It's almost microscopic but it is noticeable when you are working at this minute of a scale. Thanks for asking and thanks for the comment!

Nice technical skill, but not much for creativity since its copied from a photo. Do you do any original works?

Now lets see some SciFy or Fantasy pics.......I meant right now!

I don't believe this for a second....WHAT A CROCK OF SH!T!!!!

I also happen to illustrate a sci-fi comic book so here are a few shots.



The comic consists of two worlds, one is based in this reality and the other is in another reality that, in this case, has a more comic book art style to it. Thats why some of the pages on my DeviantArt look more real and these seem more fantasy.

The comic book is called Superhuman Experiment, you can learn more about it at www.superhumanexperiment.com if anyone's interested.


Very nice work.

But how did you get all the shades of gray?

Must have taken alot of time and effort, to make it so realistic.

Nice stuff, keep it coming Jesse.


Thanks, the shades of grey are extremely light pen strokes, thousands of them, overlapping and coming together to create the different shades. It's a lot like shading with a pencil but the level of sensitivity it requires is much, much greater.

Also, here's another in progress shot that I found.


Amazing, excellent job!.

RIP Gene Frenkle - we miss you.

Awesome work, Jesse! I have to admit that the shot that keeps drawing my eye back to it is the first pic of the work in progress. There's just something about the unfinished spaces mixed with the realism of their surroundings that I find both ironic and appealing. How long did it take to complete?

Good luck.

Opaque projector? aka Epidiascope?! Ha haaaa, mutha!!!!!!!!! I thought my uncle had all the opaque projectors in the world stashed away in a cupboard.

Wow Jesse.

I want to high five you so hard.

But not too hard... I'd mess up your hands... and you need them to keep doing this and being awesome.

Who are these ridiculous douchebags who would dare to challenge the amazing artistic skill required to pull this type of thing off?!?! As a guy who makes a living producing art myself I can tell you people have no appreciation for the effort a person puts into work like this.

That's what you get for making it look easy, Jessie... keep up the amazing work.

@64, in my experience, these people are Art School students, hahha. They are way too elite for us anyway. We wouldn't get it.


@64/65 and everyone else who gets it - Thanks. Much appreciated.

I never went to art school myself... in fact I literally failed all but one of my art classes in Jr/Sr high and I had them throughout. I would say I taught myself but I really didn't, I can just do it. This is the 3rd pen portrait I have done, this was the first http://starr2099.deviantart.com/art/Leighann-blue-ballpoint-118316285

As a photographer, I thought that it would be appropriate to tell you that this is a reproduction of a photograph, that was originally commisioned by Vanity Fair. Christopher Walken was photographed April 2003 by Mark Seliger. Copyright for this image is not being upheld if you don't ask permission! Be careful Jesse.

Seeing the work in progress shots have made me a believer.

As far as the "zomg it's photo realistic you no talent hack!" people go... IMHO, photorealism is the hardest style to master... which is fairly easy to prove, since myself and others didn't believe this could be done by hand, and thought it was just a copy of a photograph with some digitization.

Well done sir. And I apologize.

Thanks phoenix.

I've known Jesse since he was going through puberty, and believe me, this guy's for real. He can use a projector, grid method, or if he wants to take longer on it, he can eyeball any photograph and reproduce it with unnoticeable errors, if any. He also draws extremely well without looking at any references. If anyone should be making it big in the art world, it's this guy.

For all of the people with issues regarding photographic copyright, it's being decided right now with Mr. Shepard Fairey (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/arts/design/10fair.html), so we'll see how things turn out. In the meantime, keep it up, Jesse!



Oh my god, I am so f'ing impressed!!! BALL POINT PEN! All that shading, the mind boggles. (If I can't erase, I am screwed.)

Shepard Fairey took the photo? Oh dear. He isn't known for being the easiest person to deal with. Good luck!

Lol... No, Shepard Fairey didn't take the pic I used, he was referring to the case going on right now with Shepard and the Associated Press that took the photo of Obama he uses. Thanks btw!

congratulations on your pic selling, Jesse! I'm in full support of artists being able to live off their talents and skills, so it's always exciting for me when i see it happening. Rad, rad, rad.

i sorta know this makes me a jerk but... the hand is very difficult to master. not that i can, but ive tried and that looks like a balloon animal.

Please tell me how you went from being homeless drunk to hobnobbing with the world's elite artist. Was it cuz you started stickin your pinky out when you hit the forty? *Cheers* I've logged many hours of outdoors animal sleep and lizard brain autopilot, but have never come across a f*%&ing goldmine such as your own. Lemme know if you need an assistant or whatever, mofo cuz i'm playing a losing match of, "Fuck you, pay me," with the US GOVT

Most excellent artworks Jesse! By the way, I've published some of your ballpoint pen artworks at my site. Enjoy, Jerry Stith

Jesse, this looks great however, I would challenge you to do the same on any other work in front a moving camera/video and posting on youtube. I too am a character artist and I just don't see how this can be done so much so as to appear as a photo or even photocopy.
Let's see some extended proof of your talent.

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