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


Friday, 8 January 2016

Patchings Festival 2016

Patchings Festival 9th to 12th June 2016 

We are currently planning the UKCPS contribution to the next Patchings Festival
and the hiring of a marquee which would enable us to have room for
demonstrations and workshops. Your help is needed in any way that you can,
whether this be as demonstrators, workshop organisers or simply assisting by
talking, guiding or selling for the total period or just one day. Please register your ideas and interest with me direct or any of the other executive members.
We would love to know if there is anything in particular that you would like to see on our stand this year; games, competitions etc. In particular, we would like some prints, cards, Step-by-Steps / How to / Colouring books / DVD's to sell on a
commission basis at the venue. These would help to raise funds towards the hire of the marquee.

We are looking for a variation of subjects, in dry or w/c pencils,
designs suitable for children, teenagers and adults would be great as well as
something to enthuse the men. Please forward your ideas to me direct, adding your name, contact details and website/blog address if applicable.

Please remember that any reference material you use, must be your own or with

For more information contact me on:
01467 585793 or 07731 840329
Alternatively Email me at
Peter Nelson

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Why we need so many brands of pencils?

Have you had new pencils for Christmas? Maybe you treated yourself for a new brand of pencils because others spoke of their quality or colours. In any case, you may wonder why we have so many types and brands of pencils.

Pencils, all varieties of pencils, have characteristics peculiar to them. It all depends on the 'recipe' of the manufacturer and the purpose it aims to achieve in the type of pencil produced.

I have a wide range of pencils in my 'collection', but I don't see the seem that a collection, but rather a range of tools in my workshop. There is no one spanner which will fit all nuts and bolts. Same goes for pencils. I get to know my pencils well, by 'playing' with them and pushing them to their limits to see what they are capable of achieving.

So what is the deal then with the different pencils? I try to discover the characteristics and identify the possibilities of the different pencil brands. Of course, the personal preference comes into it, but don't be put off from exploring the brands you are not familiar with.

I have listed below so characteristics to help you discover the potential in your collection of pencils:

- Pigment permanence
- Wax or Oil based
- Soft and crumbly
- Soft and creamy
- Hard and crumbly
- Hard and scratchy
- Waxy and creamy
- Do they sharpen well without breaking
- Do they hold their point well
- Do they lose their point quickly
- How do they behave on different paper surfaces
- Are they water soluble
- Do they retain their colour after applying water
- Does the pigment dissolve well

I'm sure more can be added to the above list, but you can see from the above there are different but very useful characteristics. For example, if the pigment does not fully dissolve is not necessarily a bad thing; think of texture, sand on a beach etc.

Happy New Year! :)


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!


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