Naturalist Illustration with Ballpoint Pen

A course by Ricardo Macía Lalinde
Graphic Designer and Illustrator. Medellín, Colombia.
Joined January 2016
, Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Explore ink techniques using a ballpoint pen and learn to master line work to create eye-catching shadow, light and texture

  • Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 97% positive reviews (211)
  • 4291 students

Explore ink techniques using a ballpoint pen and learn to master line work to create eye-catching shadow, light and texture

Spanish with subtitles in English
  • 97% positive reviews (211)
  • 4291 students
  • 19 lessons (2h 53m)
  • 17 additional resources (11 files)
  • Online and at your own pace
  • Available on the app
  • Audio: Spanish
  • Spanish, English, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Polish, Dutch
  • Level: Beginner
  • Unlimited access forever

Can you imagine creating highly detailed illustrations full of textures with just a ballpoint pen? Graphic designer and illustrator Ricardo Macía has mastered ink techniques to the point where, by simply changing the amount of pressure, he can create different patterns that transform into light and shadow and produce incredibly realistic results.

In this course, learn basic ballpoint pen drawing techniques applied to naturalist illustration. Work through a series of exercises and practice creating gradients, volume, and contrasts by controlling the force you apply in your line work. Then, create a composition with elements of flora and fauna and combine the realistic texture of ink with digital color in Photoshop to produce an original illustration.

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

  • U1
    U1. Introduction
  • U2
    U2. Knowing the pen
  • U3
    U3. Starting to ink
  • U4
    U4. Digitization
  • FP
    FP Final project
View details

Begin by getting to know Ricardo Macía and how he got started in the world of illustration. He tells you about his favorite projects and the graphic influences that inspire him to create.

Go over some of the basic concepts of naturalist illustration and get a feel for the ballpoint pen. Train your hand with a set of exercises and learn how to create gradients and volume by controlling line pressure before tackling other concepts like fluid lines, repetition, spacing, layers, and line direction. Compile references and ideas into a mood board for your project and draw a collection of thumbnails to experiment with value and the rules of composition.

Now that you've learned the basic techniques for illustrating in ink, it's time to work on your project. Design a digital sketch in Photoshop and transfer it to paper in simplified shapes. Then, grab your pen and ink your illustration: work downwards from the head of your bird to the body and the surrounding floral details adding textures and chiaroscuro with practiced, controlled lines. Finish off your piece by retouching certain areas and emphasizing specific details to give it a realistic look.

As a final step, digitize and edit your illustration and add color in Photoshop to bring out its full potential. Ricardo rounds out the course by giving you some tips on how to export your art to share it digitally or prepare it for printing.

What is this course's project?

Use ink techniques and ballpoint pen to create an illustrated composition that includes elements of flora and fauna and enhance it by adding color digitally.

Projects by course students

Who is this online course for?

Illustrators, designers, nature lovers, and anyone interested in drawing.

Requirements and materials

Basic notions of drawing will be helpful, but not necessary.

As for materials, you need a ballpoint pen, paper, 2H or 4H pencils, and a computer with Photoshop.


4291 Students
211 Reviews
97% Positive ratings
  • More reviews

Ricardo Macía Lalinde

Teacher Plus
Graphic Designer and Illustrator

Born in Medellín, Colombia, Ricardo Macía is a graphic designer who recently made a professional detour to devote himself to the art of illustration. Throughout his career he has worked with brands like [i]Editorial Norma[i], the University of Antioquia, and the newspaper [i]El Colombiano[i]. His favorite tool is the ballpoint pen because it enables him to recreate virtually any texture and enrich his illustrations with realism.

In recent years, he's been working on a personal project where he creates dreamlike worlds that question society and individual identity. Animals and organic shapes can be found in most of his work as symbols of protest against mankind's destruction of nature and threat to the very existence of the human race.


  • U1


    • Presentation
    • What will we do in the course?
    • Influences
  • U2

    Knowing the pen

    • Composition, thumbnails and visual weight
    • Search and collection of references
    • Gradients and volume
    • Release hand
    • Materials
  • U3

    Starting to ink

    • Digital sketch and transfer to paper 2
    • Final details
    • The environment
    • The body of the bird
    • The face of the bird
    • How to simplify the form
    • Digital sketch and transfer to paper 1
  • U4


    • How to export the file
    • Digital colorization 2
    • Digital colorization 1
    • Scan and edit
  • FP

    Final project

    • Naturalistic ink illustration

What to expect from a Domestika course

  • Learn at your own pace

    Enjoy learning from home without a set schedule and with an easy-to-follow method. You set your own pace.

  • Learn from the best professionals

    Learn valuable methods and techniques explained by top experts in the creative sector.

  • Meet expert teachers

    Each expert teaches what they do best, with clear guidelines, true passion, and professional insight in every lesson.

  • Certificates

    If you're a Plus or PRO member, get a custom certificate signed by your teacher for every course. Share it on your portfolio, social media, or wherever you like.

  • Get front-row seats

    Videos of the highest quality, so you don't miss a single detail. With unlimited access, you can watch them as many times as you need to perfect your technique.

  • Share knowledge and ideas

    Ask questions, request feedback, or offer solutions. Share your learning experience with other students in the community who are as passionate about creativity as you are.

  • Connect with a global creative community

    The community is home to millions of people from around the world who are curious and passionate about exploring and expressing their creativity.

  • Watch professionally produced courses

    Domestika curates its teacher roster and produces every course in-house to ensure a high-quality online learning experience.


Domestika's courses are online classes that provide you with the tools and skills you need to complete a specific project. Every step of the project combines video lessons with complementary instructional material, so you can learn by doing. Domestika's courses also allow you to share your own projects with the teacher and with other students, creating a dynamic course community.

All courses are 100% online, so once they're published, courses start and finish whenever you want. You set the pace of the class. You can go back to review what interests you most and skip what you already know, ask questions, answer questions, share your projects, and more.

The courses are divided into different units. Each one includes lessons, informational text, tasks, and practice exercises to help you carry out your project step by step, with additional complementary resources and downloads. You'll also have access to an exclusive forum where you can interact with the teacher and with other students, as well as share your work and your course project, creating a community around the course.

You can redeem the course you received by accessing the redeeming page and entering your gift code.

If you're a Plus or PRO member, when you complete a course you'll instantly get your personalized certificate. You can see all your certificates in the Certificates section of your profile. You can download your certificates as PDFs and share the link online. Learn more about certificates
Naturalist Illustration with Ballpoint Pen . Illustration course by Ricardo Macía Lalinde

Naturalist Illustration with Ballpoint Pen

A course by Ricardo Macía Lalinde
Graphic Designer and Illustrator. Medellín, Colombia.
Joined January 2016
  • 97% positive reviews (211)
  • 4291 students