Monday, 14 August 2017

The UKCPS Blog is taking a slight change in direction and for the next few months we will be sharing hints and tips for using colour pencils provided by long standing users of the medium. It may be that some advice gets repeated, but that will just show how important it is. The aim is to provide support for newcomers to the medium, but I am sure we can all learn something new and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what people have to say.


The first person to share their expertise is Malcolm Cudmore. Malcolm's first advice is to buy fewer pencils but better paper. I think we are all junkies when it comes to colour pencils, forever finding room for just another set! Well, we all need to know which pencils suit us best, but buying a few loose stock to test would probably save us a fortune, which we can then invest in quality paper, which is Malcolm's next  advice. The paper we use can make all the difference  to colour pencil, and different pencils and techniques require different papers, so there is no easy answer to which paper to use. Follow your favourite colour pencil artists. Most colour pencil sites on social media require artists to list both pencils and paper used, so this can give you an idea of which papers to try. It is trial and error though to find the best one for you. Although good paper isn't cheap, it is a good investment.

Malcolm also advises that light value is more important than colour. Try half closing your eyes to identify tonal contrasts. Remember also to keep shadows consistent over patterned areas.

Another piece of advice is to work in muliple, light layers. The further from the point you hold your pencil, the lighter the layers will be. For me, mixing layer on layer of colours to achieve the colour I want is one of the joys of colour pencil.

When working from a photograph, don't stress over replicating the surface of the photo, concentrate on the appearance of the subject depicted in it. At the end of the day, people will see your drawing, not the photograph.

Finally, Malcolm advises drawing from life whenever possible.  Useful advice for a medium that often leads to artists being reliant on reference photos. Regular drawing from life improves your ability to see and understand the world around you. For those new to drawing, don't worry, it needn't be an ordeal. Start small, a twist of paper,a  half tied ribbon, a few grapes. Start with line drawings of the same object from different angles. Fill a page with studies so each drawing is less precious. Don't worry about creating great art but try to understand the object in front of you. As your confidence grows you can become more ambitious with your subject matter.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Winner of the Derwent Art Prize

Derwent Art Prize 2016

The UK Coloured Pencil Society was proud to again award a prize for Excellence at the 3rd Derwent Art Prize held at the Mall Gallery, London. This year our worthy winner, selected by Morryce Maddams, was ‘Poor Old Kitty has had her Day’ by Angharad Pelling.

Angharad received a cheque for £250 plus a free year’s membership and we look forward to welcoming her to the society.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Book Review: 12 Coloured Pencils Techniques By Cindy Wider

Title: 12 Coloured Pencils Techniques
Author: Cindy Wider
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Published: 2016
ISBN:  9781533635853 
Pages: 142pp
Price: £24.08
Where to buy: Amazon 

Who for:  beginners, artists, art tutors, art students, reference

There are books, there are good books, and there are excellent books. Cindy Wider's book is excellent.

Whether you are a beginner just picked up a bundle of coloured pencils and want to create art work, or you are a seasoned artist thinking of exploring coloured pencils this book is a must have.

Wider covers all the essentials to creating art with coloured pencils. She guides the reader right from the first steps of what equipment is needed right through to understanding colour mixing and controlling colour tones.

The book is set out as a Seven Week course in coloured pencils. For example, The first week explores the key techniques: Sharp and dull pencil points, gradations, blending and so on. The following sections delve deeper in the methods of using coloured pencils.

The book explores the most important techniques a coloured pencils artist must know

The book stands out in many ways, I don't want to spoil the enjoyment for you! But in particular I do like Wider's tips and advice on organising yourself, getting materials around you, and very importantly keeping motivated and focussed.

The book is very well illustrated which is extremely important in a how-to book.
The techniques are explained in detail and supported with excellent illustrations and are relevant to the beginning artist.
Wider covers the essentials for making your coloured pencils journey not only a pleasure but a success too.

Coloured pencils techniques are well illustrated and explained

I highly recommend Cindy Wider's book; Wider genuinely shares her knowledge and expertise with her readers, the tutorials are well planned and geared for beginning coloured pencils users.

Cindy Wider at work

You might be interested in other books by Cindy Wider on using pencils:

12 Charcoal Techniques: A complete five week course

6 Pencils Techniques: A complete two week course

both can be obtained from Amazon.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Book Review: Drawing and Painting Flowers with Coloured Pencils - Trudy Friend

Book Title: Drawing and Painting Flowers with Coloured Pencils
Author: Trudy Friend
Publisher: The Search Press
ISBN: 978-1-84448-942-8
Published: 2014, Reprinted 2015
Pages: 144, Colour illustrations
RRP: £15.99

Who For: Intermediate amateur and professional artists wishing to try coloured pencils.

In Drawing and Painting Flowers with Coloured Pencils, Trudy Friend demonstrates the versatility and flexibility of coloured pencils. The book guides the reader from starting out with pencils and materials to tackling complicated compositional pieces.

In the first section, Friend introduces her choice of pencils: the Derwent range. She guides the newcomer through the various types and describes their characteristics and possible methods of application. Coloured pencils are not what they used to be many years ago, these days they are a medium for professional work of the highest quality. This is very evident in Friend's many demonstrations which the book is packed with.

The other sections take the reader through a logical and well organised topics. This makes it possible to dip into the sections rather than reading the book cover to cover. Having said this, for the newcomer to coloured pencils, I would advise a good look through the book so that the various techniques are covered. 

There are two key aspects of the book which I really like. First is Friend's approach to using the full range of pencils, water and non-water soluble, in a multimedia technique. Thus making full use of the potential of the medium and achieving impressive results. Beginning artists may find the approach particularly helpful, especially if watercolour is a medium they are familiar with.

Using coloured pencils in a multi-media approach

The second, is the way Friend uses objects to give the flower paintings and drawings substance and context. For example, she uses objects such as a water pump, a pair of old boots, and even a bicycle! The compositions are effective and the various elements support each other. This is particularly useful for artists who may find painting flowers in a 'botanical' style not easy or not what they want. These compositions can also be found in most gardens

Including objects to give context to paintings

Coloured pencils are the medium of the future. More and more professional artists are finding its versatility, and lucky for us manufacturers of art materials are responding to the demand. New and exciting products are being introduced regularly..

The book will serve the reader well as both an instructional and inspirational resource.

Mo Awkati

Friday, 8 April 2016

Advice from the Derwent Art Prize

If you intend to submit work for the Derwent Art Prize, or indeed for any other competition, make sure you read this article by the Derwent Art Prize for their competition.

Link to Derwent Art Prize

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A new Prismacolor Stockist

Prismacolor are a brand of pencils used by many coloured pencils artists. A new online stockist based in the UK is now offering these pencils. Click on the link below to visit their website

Rainbow Fine Art Pencils

(Note: Although the UKCPS is happy to share new information and artists' materials suppliers, is not responsible for or liable for any issues arising from any dealings suppliers)

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Derwent Art Prize

Derwent announce Derwent Art Prize

January 16 Derwent, internationally renowned pencil manufacturers, are proud to announce

that the third instalment of the Derwent Art Prize is now open for entries.

The Derwent Art Prize was conceived in 2012 and aims to reward excellence by showcasing the

very best artworks created in pencil by British and International artists.

From the submitted artworks, eighty will be selected for display at the Mall Galleries, London

from 19th – 24th September 2016. Alongside the chosen artworks being hung in a public

display, prizes totalling nearly £12,500 will be awarded in a private awards ceremony on the

opening night of the exhibition.

Since the Derwent Art Prize began four years ago, the competition has attracted more than

4000 entries from over 67 countries worldwide. Derwent are excited to see both domestic and

international entries for the prize.

Astri Saunders, Marketing Manager at Derwent, said “We are proud to launch the Derwent Art

Prize for the third year. Our aim of the exhibition is to showcase artworks created in pencil and

increase the profile and importance of drawing as a fine art medium”.

This year’s entries will be judged by a distinguished panel of selectors: Meryl Ainslie, Director

and Founder of Rabley Drawing Centre; Eileen Cooper RA, Painter and Printmaker, and

Keeper of the Royal Academy Schools, and Michael Glover, art critic at The Independent and

London correspondent for ARTNews, New York. 

Previous First Prize (£6,000) winners of the award include Brian Fay and Chrys Allen who have

subsequently had successful solo and group exhibitions since winning the prize. Prizes are also

awarded for second (£3,500) and third (£1,000) position, two People’s Choice Awards (£700

each) and a Young Artist Award (£500) for the best artwork from an artist under the age of 25.

The deadline for entries is 1st June 2016 and artists can submit up to six of their works. For

further details and full terms and conditions on entry requirements, please visit www.derwent-

Please contact 01372462190 or email if you require any more



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