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Japanese Artist Draws 29,249 Smiley Faces To Demonstrate How Much Ink Is In A Ballpoint Pen

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Editor of Original Content at LittleThings. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for sites like BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Unwritten. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law and Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

There’s nothing more beautiful than a handwritten letter — like this one that a new mom wrote to her husband.

But have you ever started writing a letter with a pen and had it immediately stop working?

Every time that happens to me, I get insanely frustrated, and then I start wondering, “Well, how much ink is actually in a pen?”

Sure, we can look at the ink tube inside the pen and see the quantitative amount of ink, but what does that look like on paper?

One Japanese artist had the same question, so she decided to find out for herself — and for everyone else who has ever wondered about the amount of ink in a ballpoint pen.

Instead of just scribbling until the pen ran out, or writing with it over a long period of time, Asuka Sato decided to be very precise during her experiment. Read below to find out how she measured the ballpoint pen’s ink!

[H/T: BuzzFeed]

ballpoint pen smiley

Japanese artist Asuka Sato was curious about how much ink was in a Hi-Tec-C ballpoint pen, so she decided to test it out.

In order to measure, she decided to see how many smiley faces she could draw before the ink ran out.

smiley faces

She began by drawing as many smiley faces as possible on a postcard — in total, she fit 600 smiles.

Now that she knew how many smiley faces fit on a single postcard, she just had to keep filling postcards until the pen ran out.

pen smiley faces

The next day, Asuka spent ten hours drawing smiley faces.

She kept going — drawing one smiley face after the next — for the next six days.

drawing ballpoint pen

Six days, and 49 postcards later, the pen finally ran out of ink.

At that point, Asuka added up the total number of smilies: the total was 29,249.

finished smiley faces

The photo above shows what the final product looks like. Everyone who’s seen it loves how satisfying it is.

One woman commented on the photos Asuka posted, writing, “Apparently it takes 29,249 and the unfathomable patience of this person to empty a ballpoint pen. Wow. — I find it rather beautiful.”

ballpoint pen drawing

Another person wrote, “Amazing! Beautiful smile… thank you.”

Plenty of other people wrote back to Asuka, thanking her for her hard work and expressing how impressed they were.

smiley face pen

What do you think of all these smiley faces?

Would you have guessed a pen could draw almost 30,000 smiley faces before running out?

more smiley faces

If you’re amazed by all these smiley faces, please SHARE this article with your friends!