Wednesday, 30 August 2017

International Open Exhibition 2018

An extra blog this week to bring everyone up to date!
The UKCPS International Open 2018 will take place at a new venue:
The Arts House
14 Rother Street
Stratford upon Avon

The hand in day and Private View will be on 1st May. The exhibition will be open from 2nd May to 11th May. The pick up for pictures will also be 11th May.

We are looking for stewards for the exhibition, all members are welcome, it is a great opportunity to meet other colour pencil artists and see the demonstrations taking place.

We are also looking for demonstrators. This is the perfect opportunity to meet the public and profile your own work along with the society.

The beauty of the new venue is that there is also space for workshops. With only eleven days available, please book your workshop in early!

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Mulling over the advice that Malcolm gave us in the last blog entry, I have been wondering what advice I would give to newcomers to colour pencil. I think the advice I would give would be to invest in a sketch book. Your sketchbook becomes your best friend as an artist. You hang out together and play with new media and different ideas, try markmaking and colour mixing, experiment with approaches to different textures . Like your best friend, it also helps you solve problems you come across.

 As Malcolm pointed out, it needs to have good quality paper. My most recent one was a Daler Rowney and the paper was 150g/m. It is a very smooth paper, lovely for graphite and ok with Polychromos pencils, but easily clogged when layering with wax based pencils. I got around the problem by using off- cuts of other papers and sticking them in my sketch book. This time around I have upgraded to a Strathmore journal, more expensive but better paper. As you will already know, colour pencils take time and patience, as a result, you don't need a large sketchbook as you will be probably trying things out on a small scale. An A5 book is probably plenty big enough and easy to carry around with you when you want to go out drawing. Your sketchbook is the perfect place to put into practice the advice and ideas you find along the way. It's private and nowhere near as intimidating as that new sheet of expensive paper waiting for your next drawing!

Remember too, that those colour pencil artist you admire did not achieve those results over night. There was a lot of learning, playing and mistake making going on, and a lot of that happened, and no doubt still happens, in the privacy of their sketchbook.


An example from my own sketchbook showing experiments with colour mixing, graphite and colour pencil drawing from life.


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.


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