Rarely do visual artists work without using brush strokes to capture their muses on canvas. But for over two decades, artist Njoroge Kariuki aka Kaafiri, consistently creates artworks using a somewhat unique medium - the dancing pen.

His encounter with this pen began in late 1990s, soon after he joined a group of artists wherein, sharing their tools of trade was the norm. But one day, his sense of generosity turned sour after running out of paints and none of his colleagues wanted to assist him.

Having had accumulated a cache of paints and pieces of canvases, Kariuki never hesitated to bail out the other artists. "I was disappointed when I exhausted my materials no one reciprocated. I was left with just my sketchbooks and a drawing pencil," he recalls.

But rather than getting irritated or disillusioned, he opted to channel his frustrations into drawing sketches, hoping he would transform them into artworks for sale then raise cash to buy more paints. Several years later on, the pile of sketches was growing but still he had no access to paints.

"I learnt to capture ideas and creative inspiration by simply drawing on my sketch books. I was eager to use coloured paints on canvas," says the artist.

Initially, Kariuki used plastic ball-point biros to enhance the sketch outlines, but was not convinced the pieces could sell. But a chance encounter with a Japanese couple in 1999, turned into an eye opener. They were keen to acquire some of his sketches just as they were.

"They insisted that my multi-layered drawings were impressive and unique," he recounts. The couple advised him to develop sketching technique by using coloured pens - which cost KSh. 500. Although the amount was like a fortune, acquiring the Rotring pen did unwittingly spawn the dancing pen art technique.

Ideally, rotring pens are meant for use in architectural designs. But, Kariuki has converted them into a functional tool for his sought-after contemporary art drawings.

"The dancing pen technique offered me a lifeline - it is intricate and requires utmost concentration," he notes; "I use three fingers to control the speed and balance with which the pen glides or dances on paper or sketchpad".