August 2023 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

August 2023 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

The three artists featured in the August 2023 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase share the stories behind their beautiful artwork here in our blog. 

Feel Good Vibes by Ally McNatt
16 x 12 inches
Prismacolor, Polychromos, Luminance colored pencils on Pastelmat.
(Artist's own photo)

This piece makes me happy and I love how accurately it captures the spirit of my dog, Louie. This is the first and only portrait I’ve done of him, although I plan on doing more. It brings me a lot of joy and I hope that it will bring joy to others who see it. I took the reference photo for this piece a few years back — oversized sunglasses and all — and feel this photo 100% captures his goofy spirit! He’s a mess, a goofball, always happy, always ready to go and always bringing those feel-good vibes.

This piece is 100% colored pencil and is on one of my favorite surfaces: Pastelmat. This surface is smooth, yet textured. It holds many layers and is very forgiving. All of my favorite pencils work well on it, and it handles my favorite blending method, odorless mineral spirits, with ease.

Adding splashes to my colored pencil art has developed through the years into something I do. It helps capture the energy and spirit of Louie’s crazy self. The splashes help create energy and movement, and let’s be honest, it’s just fun to do.

About Ally McNatt:

Ally has been using colored pencils for seven years. Ally loves combining a loose, painterly background with a more realistic and detailed subject. She loves fully saturated color, high contrast and texture. When Ally isn't creating art, you can find her playing ukulele, traveling, and working as a pediatric nurse.

See more at:

Overwhelming Petra by Linda Fronk
17 x 23 inches
Faber-Castell Prismacolor Premier colored pencils on drafting film.
(Artist’s own photo)

Petra, Jordan, is truly an overwhelming ancient city, recognizable to some from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I attempted to capture part of that grandeur in my picture which was done on drafting film with 90% colored pencils and some black art marker on the reverse.

The perspective and rock faces were the biggest challenges along with changing the lighting to a summer season. We visited in January 2018 and saw this area, the narrow passage known as a Siq, just before an ice storm was about to commence. While my reference pictures revealed the rock structure, I had to use my memory and artist’s understanding to bring about the wanted season change.

About Linda Fronk:

Linda Fronk has been a student of Andrea Burchett at Beech Tree Studios in Geneva for the past four years. Prior to that, Linda was a studio-trained potter and teacher specializing in majolica ware. Beech Tree Studio is replete with talented students who are eager to give support, advice and encouragement to newcomers.

Sitting Pretty by Susan Murray
16 x 19 inches
Caran d'Ache Pablo colored pencils on Pastelmat.
(Artists own photo).

Daphne and Molly’s portrait, “Sitting Pretty,” was a commission that I had a lot of leeway with and was told I could do it any way I liked. Oh, to have all clients like this. I also took the photos so there definitely wasn’t an issue with a dodgy reference. In the end I used three photos as Molly (right) just hates having her photo taken and will not look into a camera lens. But I managed to get one decent photo of her with my trusty multi-picture button on my camera. It takes 8 or 16 in one press, and is a must for animals who won’t sit still. That little button has saved me on numerous occasions.

With this piece I wanted to create something that had a very soft background but was more detailed than a bokeh background and colorful, but not distracting from the gorgeous dogs. I used PanPastel for the background to achieve the contrast between the blurry background and the detailed portraits which were done using colored pencils. I often use PanPastel for backgrounds as I find them easy to use and much faster than colored pencil. Also, if you don’t fill the tooth of the paper, any details that need colored pencil will go nicely over the top.

About Susan Murray:

Susan lives in Southwest Scotland, otherwise affectionately known as Scotland’s Riviera. With such beautiful countryside on her doorstep, she cannot help but be inspired by nature and in particular wildlife, which she loves to draw. She is also a commission portrait artist. Susan has won many awards and been published nationally and internationally. 

See more at:

These artworks were published in the August 2023 issue of COLOR Magazine.

Download the digital version of the magazine for just $4.99, or subscribe and save 15%. Each issue is packed with step by step projects, critiques, colored pencil tips, artist profiles and much more.

Tags: showcase

Leave your comment