James Mylne

James Mylne is a British artist renowned for his exceptional biro drawings. He creates his artwork using a range of biro pens, which allows him to produce an array of tones and textures. Mylne has developed a unique Pop Art style that captures the essence of his subjects with incredible realism, detail and precision.

James Mylne biro drawing Donald Trump

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James Mylne biro portrait Boris Johnson clown

James Mylne is a British artist, born in 1981. Mylne’s artwork often features pop culture icons and well-known historical figures. He has an eye for detail and focuses on capturing the essence of his subjects through intricate lines and shading.

Mylne’s artwork is not only visually stunning but also thought-provoking. He often incorporates social commentary into his pieces, creating a deeper meaning behind his work. How has Mylne used colour to make the drawing of Donald Trump more dramatic?

James Mylne - Girl You'll Be A Woman Soon 2 - biro artist
James Mylne - SKY Larking - biro pen artist

Top 10 Facts about biro artist James Mylne:

  • James Mylne is a British artist who was born on 5 May, 1981
  • He has two degrees; a BA degree in Drawing and MA degree from the Camberwell College of Arts, London
  • Each drawing can take between 120 – 250 hours to complete
  • His longest ever drawing was from 2021 that took exactly 495 hours!
  • Mylne’s first solo exhibition was at The Conningsby Gallery, London in 2008
  • Mylne sold his first work of art when he was nineteen years old
  • He worked with Microsoft to promote the company’s Surface Pro 3 tablet and digital pen
  • In college, his teachers were not too keen on his biro drawings
  • He has exhibited work all over the world, including London, Los Angeles, Milan, Paris and Ibiza
  • Mylne says that working in pen ‘demands serious focus and careful control’

Mylne’s artwork has a timeless quality to it, with each piece appearing as though it has been created using an old master’s technique. His work is not only visually stunning, but it also demonstrates a mastery of the biro pen medium. Mylne’s biro drawings have been compared to hyper-realistic photography because of their level of detail and accuracy.

Mylne often adds other elements to his drawings, such as pops of colour, logos, symbols or graffiti – helping to ground his work in a Pop Art style, despite also being hyperrealistic.

Why do you think James Mylne sometimes chooses to draw directly onto famous brand bags such as Chanel?

James Mylne - Chanel Bag - Wednesday biro drawing

James Mylne often draws instantly recognisable people in his work. His portraits are highly detailed, with each strand of hair and wrinkle in the skin rendered with incredible precision. To achieve such high levels of accuracy, Mylne often masks the shape of the portrait, and sketches the most challenging parts first, such as the eyes.

Mylne sometimes uses paint or marker pens to fill large areas of black, and add pops of colour with spray paints at the end. Mylne will also draw directly onto unconventional backgrounds such as famous brand bags like Chanel and Prada, cementing the ‘celebrity’ themes that run through his work.

James Mylne - biro drawing - Prada bag
James Mylne - Biggie Smalls - biro pen portrait
James Mylne - famous biro pen portraits

Looking at his works in progress, we can see how Mylne has lightly drawn out all of the shapes, including parts where the light changes from dark to light. We can also start to see how Mylne uses a hatching technique (lines drawn in the same direction, very close to each other) to achieve a range of tones. The more closely the lines are drawn, the darker the tone.

The use of black biro gives the drawings a timeless quality, looking almost as if they have been photocopied rather than drawn by hand. Making use of white is also important to Mylne; the white of the paper against the black of the pen increases the amount of contrast in his work, making fine details such as hair and skin look more realistic.

James Mylne has a number of popular videos on his YouTube channel, showing him working and discussing his artworks. On his Instagram he currently has over 17,000 followers!

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What do you think of James Mylne’s artwork? How could you describe it? Which is your favourite piece? Let me know in the comments!


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