It’s true. Jonathan Bréchignac has spent the last 15 months drawing a carpet (to scale!) using a black Bic pen.

From Doodlers Anonymous’ post on Jonathan’s feat: “He explored different patterns and drew inspiration from all types of art (French roman, traditional Japanese, native American, Mexican) and also military camouflage and animal patterns, to create an almost seamless mix of different civilizations and religions.

Johan Jeanson explains, “Despite working on it for hundreds of hours Jonathan has still only been able to use up one pen and is now working on emptying a second one.”

You can read the full article here.

  1. Alice says:

    That’s pretty amazing! I want one, but I bet it’s way too expensive.

  2. Evie Garone says:

    Very NICE!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  3. Love it. A Bic goes a long way!

  4. Isobel says:

    WOW!! Beautiful handwork. Gorgeous art. Hope you don’t mind but I need to share this post on my blog. 🙂 Thanks for bringing it to our attention!

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      I’m hoping Jonathan will write more about the designs he used and their influences. There’s a lot going on in this drawing.

  5. kianys says:

    I love this – Talk about patience and persistence – Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      You said it! It’s interesting how he pointed out that he didn’t really know what he was doing at first, but figured things out as he went. It seems so daunting to us, because we’re at the other end (the finished drawing!) and can’t imagine how to start 😛

  6. conniewalden says:

    Beautiful workmanship. It takes a lot of patience. Thanks for sharing. Connie

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks, Connie! You and kianys have convinced me to make some posts about patience and sacrifice. It’s all for beauty and I think the qualities are important to understand in their relationship to creation. Thanks 🙂

  7. incredible and beautiful

  8. zenlifefrugal says:

    Wow! Looks like it’s very detailed

  9. Dounia says:

    Wow, that’s impressive! The diligence and patience (not to mention talent) it must take to do that astounds me. Congrats on freshly pressed!

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks! I had to look up freshly pressed and now I’m all kinds of excited 🙂 Your comment makes me think of James Whistler’s statement that “An artist is not paid for his labour but for his vision.” In all reality, any fleet of draftsmen could have drawn this carpet, but it was Jonathan that came up with the idea and executed it and that’s part of what makes it so astounding. I think of all the people who talk about music, saying “it’s just three or four chords. Anyone could do that.” And they’re right—anyone could, but it’s more than just technique—it’s vision!

      • Dounia says:

        Definitely agree with you! Thanks for sharing that quote, I hadn’t heard it before, and I really like it 🙂

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        You got it. I used to share that with my drawing and design classes, hoping to encourage the students to focus on content and the best way to treat it.

  10. Oh wow! That is unbelievable!!

  11. wow, what intricate work, it’s amazing!

  12. beyondanomie says:

    That is an astonishing amount of effort and dedication. I wonder how it compares in man-hours to a top-notch hand-woven carpet?

  13. anotherdaysucks says:

    I do black ink drawings sometimes. I love this technique. You did a great job

  14. Oh my. The level of continuous concentration is something else! Quite amazing – thanks for sharing this

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      I love looking at it and getting a sense for the thought that has been put into it. It makes me think of what I’m putting into my own work, and whether it is thoughtful or important enough. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  15. inidna says:

    That is so incredible! I wish I were as artistically talented 😛 Thanks for sharing the awesomeness!

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      It goes right along with the posts I’ve been leaving on Craig Thompson’s ‘Habibi’—a graphic novel 6 years in the making!

  16. Jacqueline says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this!

  17. Oh wow this is so cool 😀

  18. zookyshirts says:

    Wow! That’s some serious patience and attention to detail. Let’s hope people wipe their shoes before stepping on this rug… no mud, please.

  19. oh.my.god. this guy is amazing.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      It’s interesting to think on Indian Sand Paintings, where paintings are meticulously created in the sand over a period of hours or even days, and then blown away with the wind, and taken by the elements. Same with mandalas and Chinese water painting.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks! I really dig your blog. I spent some time reading through and might have a few things to share with you down the road. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  20. fireygoddess says:

    that’s crazy committment and inspiring to say the least

  21. Carlie Chew says:


  22. Wow! That takes a lot of dedication! Thanks for sharing!

  23. sirjhep says:

    Wow, amazing, how creative of him…


  24. Graham says:

    Thats great, I really think pencil and pen aren’t considered media in which real art is made – often people see it and they think it’s a draft (“are you going to paint that at some stage”). But making pen art on this scale and detail makes it clear that its a finished piece and to be appriciated in its own right – it’s unquestionable. I like that the different tones are made by the way he draws the different weaves – I’m sure the same kind of attention will go into the currently white space. Great vision, great follow through. Choice one.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks, Graham. That is probably one of the first reasons these pictures caught my eye—because they are epic pen drawings and nobody makes them. Pen and pencil drawings are definitely treated as a preliminary process, rather than an end in and of themselves and I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing. It makes the finished pieces (like Jonathan’s) stand out even more. I’m constantly making the argument to my students and other artists that we need to use the materials within our reach—pens, pencils, markers, whatever. If you can make an amazing picture with the same tools you use to take notes in class, you’ve created something very powerful, and that’s just what Jonathan has done. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts 🙂

  25. Stunning and intricate work. I love seeing how an artist’s mind works. I also enjoy seeing his path and journey within the design. There is a zen quality to his creation. I would be in such a peaceful state working on this project. Well…after someone else created the graph of designs to fill in~

    Excellent post. Keep ’em coming (still learning where to sign up, but I think I am following now….hope so b/c sincerely interested!)

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful reply. There’s a lot to be said about the zen within this project and I’m hoping the artist will share in a post about his mindset during the process. I was just thinking about all the things I hear about people when they go into a violent rage and their mind goes “numb” and they stop thinking and just act on their emotions. You’ve heard that before, right? It’s interesting to compare that with the mind of someone who is creating. I think there is a clarity that comes through the focus, rather than a numbness. Now you’ve got me thinking again…

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Oh! And I checked—you are subscribed to the blog. Hooray! Let me know if there’s anything you’d like to see 🙂

      • Thank you for checking (WP newbie). I like your point on being in a special state of consciousness. I believe in an artist’s flow. I love this space and the creating within the flow zone is amazing. He seems so disciplined – half the trek to the creating zen. Ask him…it would be interesting. Thanks for chat and thanks for post. …look forward to more…

      • Jess Smart Smiley says:

        “this space and the creating within the flow zone…” I like that; and thank you 🙂

  26. Amazing!
    That would be so fun when you done to see it all finished!

  27. I doodle when I talk on the phone too, but I never have a piece of paper that big. Maybe the back of a desk calendar, or something? All I can say is that must have been one long phone conversation. I haven’t talked that long since I was in high school.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Ha! Have you read Lynda Barry’s “What It Is” or “Picture This”? She’s all about phone-doodling and she spends pages and pages talking about how therapeutic, creative and important it is to doodle while on the phone. Nothing at this scale, but notebook and scrap paper doodling.

  28. Caitlin says:

    Fifteen months of mostly one pen. That must have been a sacred pen by the end.

    Goodbye Pen. I will miss you. (Sends into the water on a fiery boat)

  29. cpmondello says:

    what motivated him to take on this project?

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      All I can find is his statement that ”I never really knew what I wanted from the beginning. Finding inspiration and learning through trials was key to the project.”

  30. Usey11 says:

    That must take some serious skill

  31. beautiful. from the design to the skills, i would take my hat off! c:


  32. newsy1 says:

    Only used up one pen? I shocked, it must be like the bottomless cup of coffee. This is really a patient person. fantastic work.

  33. wow that’s awesome – wish I could create something like that!


  34. ineffablemuse says:

    Wow, extremely patient and determined.

  35. Nick says:

    Must be a very patient man. I’m impressed, very much so. Keep the talent flowing!

  36. uponatlas says:

    Wow, just wow. So freaking amazing…



  37. Aladdin would have been very impressed. Great work. Respect for the patience.

  38. Karen says:

    Very cool. Not a bad promo for BIC either!

  39. details..details…wonderfull!!!!!!

  40. Cassie says:

    This is really nice! 🙂

  41. I think this Post is very good; O.K.; Great!

    Now, the Book promotion; What is it with the christianism Hatred? Is it really a good idea to promote archaic Bias and Lies. Why the underlying need to scare little children, even in this day and age, and spread viscious Lies, in order to control their young minds, through Bias, Hatred and Lies.

    Love the Post; wondering about the person behind it; and the need to, once again, feed little children Bias and Hate.

    Shining Wolf

  42. ditchthebun says:

    Simply amazing, his dedication is astounding! What an intricate process, massive kudos to him, it is certainly due. Can’t wait to see the final product!

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      I’m going to keep an eye on the carpet, and I’ll be sure to post again once it’s finished. I’m on the edge of my seat, just waiting…

  43. Fiona.q says:

    a very dedicated artist!

  44. weldedgrass says:

    dude that’s pretty intense stuff! i love it

  45. tanyouyi says:

    wow.. this is really really cool!!! There’s so much detailings!!! The 15 months are definitely not wasted 🙂

  46. neelthemuse says:

    Patience still exists! Thanks for sharing…..

  47. alastor993 says:

    Wow, that’s just way cool!

  48. very lovely! i am awed by his patience and talent! 10 fingers up for this job!

  49. eblite12 says:

    Wow that so awesome on so many levels

  50. k3nny666 says:

    do you have allot of time on your hands?
    It’s very nice.

  51. Pedro Salma says:

    Wow, really beuatiful arts.

  52. Whoa. That’s amazing. An entire carpet drawn by hand? He must have incredible love and patience to have devoted 15 months to it. It’s super impressive!

  53. navgill says:

    Absolutely amazing!!!

  54. Erica V. says:

    That’s beautiful! Imagine having that in your home 😉

  55. Hafsa K says:

    Wow..This is pretty amazing! I am so impressed!
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  56. gaycarboys says:

    I don’t know why but it never occurred to me that the carpets were drawn out first. Thanks so much

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      I wonder how they plan out traditional carpet designs. I’m sure the mass-production companies do it all on computer, but I wonder how it’s done in tribes and smaller cultures. My guess is that it’s pretty intuitive.

  57. Mendaxxx says:

    He has a lot of time. I find such stuff absolutely useless. What will his art do for him? How will it help him after he dies?

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Mendaxxx. To be honest with you, I thought of deleting your comment because it seems pretty negative and this is a very positive and upbeat blog. I’m not one to argue with people I don’t know and leave discouraging messages on their sites, so it’s not something I like to practice. However, you make a great point and I think it’s important to address it. It would be hard to argue with everyone who has ‘liked’ this post, or re-shared it on their blog, or left a comment, because the carpet drawing has inspired them. It’s just as important to know what doesn’t inspire us and to move on, and it’s great that you recognize that for yourself.

      I don’t know enough about you to know whether or not you draw in any capacity, but I can tell you that the benefits reaped from engaging in the act of drawing are innumerable and have little to do with their function after the work is created, or even after the artist has passed on (even though, I believe, there is a lasting impact on the artist from whatever they have created).

      I like that you brought up the function of the artwork, and that’s certainly a question for Jonathan to answer. If its function is to act as a prayer carpet with added personal meaning and connection, then I think he’s done just that. If the function was to inspire others to create and spend time with something they love, it seems that goal has been reached.

  58. Hans Klaverdijk says:

    Great !

  59. amazing work, but I guess we won’t be able to use it in a home filled with cats and dogs lol

  60. Beautiful and such incredible detail! Now someone should make a rug based on his drawing of a rug!

  61. tlf says:

    using PEN???? wow. I’m a pencil gal myself

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      The first photo I saw looked like pencil and I wondered how he kept it protected while working on it. Now I can see the underdrawing is in pencil and then rendered in pen.

  62. 300hikes says:

    I love this. I love this. I LOVE this.

    • Jess Smart Smiley says:

      Are you kidding me? I LOVE your journey. I checked out your blog and am fascinated with your journey. Safe travels, my friend!

  63. guffus says:

    what a briliiant idea 🙂

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