Power of the Pen

The pen is one of the most recognised tools in the world. We’ve used it to jot down things like To Do lists, shopping lists and diary entries since the dawn of time (3000 BC to be exact) – but as devices like phones and tablets increase in popularity, the humble pen is evolving.

To celebrate the launch of the Surface Pro 3 and its innovative pen, we’ve taken a moment to appreciate some of the greatness that has been achieved using the power of the pen.

World-renowned ball point pen artist James Mylne, who has recreated portraits of celebrities using only a ballpoint pen and paper, was invited by Microsoft to digitally recreate three famous works from the National Portrait Gallery – using the new Surface Pro 3, its innovative pen and the Fresh Paint app.

The Bronte Sisters recreated by James Mylne on the Surface Pro 3 using a pen
The Bronte Sisters recreated by James Mylne on the Surface Pro 3

August 27, 2014


The chosen paintings were the Bronte Sisters, Dame Christabel Pankhurst and William Shakespeare – all of them Great Brits who helped change the world in great ways with a pen in hand. And using Fresh Paint’s wide selection of canvas, pencil and brush types and the smooth, precise lines made possible by the Surface Pen, James was able to bring these paintings into the modern, digital world.

James Mylne working on a Bronte Sisters piece with a pen
James Mylne working on a Bronte Sisters piece

August 27, 2014

James found the transition from pen and paper to pen and tablet an interesting one, explaining:

“Tools like the zoom and undo functions make the drawing process a little easier whereas things like shadowing and fan functionalities add a different look to the artwork. I don’t usually have the pleasure of any of these when using pen and paper. Being able to lean over the device and rest my hand on the screen while I was drawing is also a luxury I wouldn’t expect with a digital device.

“The aluminium pen rests easily in hand meaning it’s easy to pick up and draw wherever you are.

“I’ve enjoyed using it so much so that I‘m now finding myself trying to hit the undo button when drawing on paper.

The full artworks, which each took 12 hours to complete, are masterpieces in themselves – and are available to view on the Surface UK Facebook page.