Monday, 30 November 2015

What makes a good coloured pencils project?

When my students start working with coloured pencils they often ask, "what is a good subject to draw/paint?".

My answer is whatever you want BUT! For a beginning coloured pencils artist it can be overwhelming, so I have listed below some pointers which I hope will be useful to anyone thinking of using our wonderful and versatile medium:

- Join the UKCPS, the benefits are too numerous to list here!

- Choose subjects which you are familiar with

- Start simple and build up to more complex subjects,patterns, and shading etc.

- Keep the work down to manageable size to begin with, e.g A5 instead of A4

- Experiment with different papers and surfaces until you find the right one for

- There is no one brand or type of pencils which will do everything you want!
  Again, experiment until you find the brand/type which you are happy with their

- Invest in a good pencil sharpener

- Book yourself with one of the UKCPS artists who also teach

- Look at existing works done with coloured pencils, what do you find attracts
  you to them, how was the subject handled, what is the focus of the work

- Practice shading with your chosen pencils, this will help you also to get to
  know your pencils

- Practice laying down light/thin layers

 I am sure there are many other hints and tips, but the most important tip of all
 is to practice and practice, there are no short cuts!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Does it really matter?

I was discussing with my students the other day classical drawing techniques and we were looking at drawings by Rubens, Raphael and others. Not surprisingly, we found they have all used different techniques to compose and layout their drawings and paintings. 

This led me to think about what we have today in terms of drawing aids and tools. take for example the Grid Technique. It has been used by Rubens, as evidenced in his drawings.

Scale Finder using the grid technique
But it doesn't stop there, Gray Value finder and the Proportional Dividers blow are just some of the tools

Proportional Dividers

All of the above tools help us with our drawing and painting. But these tools are not new, we are talking hundreds of years.

The romantic notion that true artists just sit there in a kind of trance and deliver outstanding drawing and paintings is just not true. Ask an artist! This perception by the general public makes many new comers and seasoned artists think that they are "cheating" if they use any kind of tool to help them with their artwork.

Creating art is not about the tools, but about what the artist is trying to communicate, their joy with the colours or form of a subject, texture etc.  If the tools exist which could help the artist in the process of their artwork, there should be no reason why they cannot be employed.

Don't be put off by what people might think about how you created you artwork. If you enjoyed creating it then the creation process has achieved its aim.

Enjoy your art however you do it because it doesn't matter how you create it!

Monday, 19 October 2015

Posting your artwork

We all at one time or another have to post, transport, or ship our artwork. Be it for competitions, buyers, friends and family, the artwork must arrive in perfect condition. In pursuit of guidance on this subject I came across these websites and thought I would share it with you.!.aspx

Let us know how you ship your artwork and any hints and tips. I will collate all replies.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Look after you paper!

Autumn is a lovely time of the year, full of colours and moods. BUT! This time of the year the humidity will rise markedly compared to summer. As we know, paper absorbs moisture readily, as a result the paper surface will be quite soft to what you were normally used to. Try to store your paper in a dry place but away from heat as you don't want to dry it totally which will result in brittle paper!

So be careful with those sharp points on your pencils!

Happy Painting :)

Friday, 2 October 2015

The Big Draw Competition Call For Entries

Entries are now called for the Big Draw Competition deadline is the 23 November 2015. The theme for this is year is Recording Britian: Society. Winners and shortlisted entries will be included in the high profile exhibition at the New Gallery, Walsall.

In the words of the Big Draw competition headline:

         "This year we invite emerging and established artists to respond to the theme: Recording Britain Now: Society, to re-assess their practice and focus on the prevalent social issues of 2015/16. In the same way that Recording Britain sought to map familiar townscapes and countryside under threat, this will be an invitation to engage with a society in rapid transition."

Judging from the above, the expectation is that to focus on social issues, for example homelessness. Obviously the interpretation is down to the artist. As usual please make sure you familiarise yourself with the rules and submission deadlines and requirements.


Friday, 25 September 2015

UART Coloured Pencils Competition 2015

UART are running an online coloured pencils competitionn ( Link to website ). UART is an American company which is branching into the art world by producing speciality paper for pastel painting. The company is known for the sandpaper it produces for DIY and industrial uses. The company has created a sanded paper specially for pastel painting.

The competition is sponsored by a number of sponsors including Prismacolour and Coloured Pencil Magazines. There are a number of substantial prizes for winning works. Submissions are now being accepted and the closing date is Midnight 13 November 2015. Members wishing to enter the competition need to read the competition rules carefully in order to have their work considered. Members please note that there are non-refundable fees for any work submitted for consideration. The competition is judged by one person, by Deborah Friedman CPSA.

It would be helpful if any members submitting work for consideration could let us know how they get on.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Colouring-in Books - A Fad?

Colouring-in books a fad?

What do you think of the recent surge in colouring books for adults. You might have tried them, I haven't. To me coloured pencils are just as good as any other painting medium. But is the use of colouring books a good thing or bad for coloured pencils?

Some coloured pencils users might think this is undermining our wonderful medium and hobby. It might be argued that colouring in someone else's design is not necessarily art in the sense creativity. There is no creativity if it is just a case of filling in the gaps. No thinking , planning, composition, working out lights and darks etc.

Think of it this way: those people who are using coloured pencils with colouring books are in fact spreading the word about coloured pencils, they could become fully fledged artists, they could become people who will appreciate art made with coloured pencils, and may even buy coloured pencil art. So its not a bad thing, coloured pencils as medium will benefit from the publicity. I just wish the media stop calling them crayons!

The only reservation I have is that the colouring books are a fad or craze, how long it will last your guess is as good as mine. What will happen when the fad has gone stale? Will people start to think of coloured pencils as an old fashioned medium? Or worse still as a beginners medium which should not be taken seriously? Or even the public might think coloured pencils are not a serious medium if people use it to colour-in books!

What do you, coloured pencils practitioners, think?

Guest blog post by Mo Awkati


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