Intricate artwork by Mark Powell on display in Cheltenham

PUBLISHED: 16:34 21 May 2015 | UPDATED: 16:34 21 May 2015

A biro portrait by Mark Powell

A biro portrait by Mark Powell


A collection of intricate biro pen drawings by artist Mark Powell will be on display at a Cheltenham gallery in early June.

A biro portrait by Mark PowellA biro portrait by Mark Powell

Using the humble Bic biro pen, Powell draws detailed animals and evocative portraits of elderly people on his unusual canvasses; antique manuscripts, old maps and vintage newspapers - all sourced from his travels around the world – some of which date as far back as the 18th century.

Pinpointing his inspiration down to a relic of WWI, Powell talks of obtaining an envelope on which a soldier had written to his loved ones before going over the top of the trenches. Imagining what the serviceman would have looked like as an old man, if he had survived the war, Powell drew his face full of wrinkles – and thus his fascination with aged and furrowed faces began. His portfolio now predominantly boasts men and women of advanced years, all illustrated in black ink.

A biro portrait by Mark PowellA biro portrait by Mark Powell

Jonny Stokes, Castle Fine Art, Cheltenham’s Gallery Manager, said: “We are immensely excited at having the opportunity to display Mark Powell’s recent works.

“It’s remarkable what he has achieved with just a simple ballpoint pen. His style is extremely striking, emotive, and his portraits are full of feeling – you can really get a sense of the people he depicts. We know the collection is going to be really popular.”

Mark Powell says: “My art shows what you can actually do with the simplest things, and the biro was the most basic thing I could find. It’s the challenge as well - if you make a mistake you destroy two things: the drawing and the document. I like that pressure to get it right.

A biro portrait by Mark PowellA biro portrait by Mark Powell

“I do all my drawings free hand, working with a basic outline before concentrating on doing one particular area. Once I have built up that section I will move onto another. It’s pretty intense because I can’t afford to make any mistakes.

“I combine old people with the vintage documents because they connect well - they both have a history and great sense of journey.”

The exhibition of Mark Powell’s art is free of charge to view at Castle Fine Art in Cheltenham from June 6 to 21.

For further information visit the gallery at 82a The Promenade, call 01242 806807 or go to

For more about Mark’s art, visit his website.

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