March 2019 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

March 2019 Showcase - Colored Pencil Artwork

The three artists featured in the March 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine Showcase submitted stories about their artwork for our blog. In their posts below, each artist shares their inspiration for their beautiful art.


The Heart of Passion 
by James Thomas
11.25 X 14.275 inches
Prismacolor on Strathmore Bristol Vellum. (Artist’s own photo.)

Passiflora Incarnata is commonly known as the Passion Flower or Maypop. I found a vine growing on our property, at the edge of the woods, about seven years ago. After collecting a few seed pods, I planted several around my front yard. I think they are one of the most beautiful native flowers that I have ever seen. They grow wild in the Southeastern U.S. They are a very hardy plant and can be invasive. After seeing the flower for several years I just had to attempt to get it on paper. I took a photo and it inspired the colored pencil piece that you now see. The title was given by a botanist monk who first recorded them and loosely translates as "the Passion of Christ incarnated into a flower." So in a way this could be considered a religious painting done with pencils.

About James Thomas:

James Thomas started doing artwork on his mother's living room floor. At the age of five he was drawing Flipper from the TV program. He later fell in love wth oil painting while in the 7th grade and after high school he did auto paint and body repair until he hurt his knees in 1991. He went to college and received his master's degree in 3D Studio.

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Wildcat Pride 
by Dina Kowal
11 x 14 inches
Faber-Castell Polychromos, Caran D'Ache Pablos, and Holbein colored pencils on Crescent Standard 4-ply matboard (Creative Commons photo.)

I spend quite a bit of my creative time working on commissioned pet portraits. During a break between orders, I wanted to apply my acquired skills to a drawing of a wild animal and see where that took me. Our small town mascot is the Wildcat, so I chose to work on a "big cat." I am hoping the finished artwork can be used on prints, cards, or other merchandise to help support our local schools in some way. This piece was an enjoyable challenge, with all its variations in texture and patterns in the fur. I used a weaving needle to etch the whiskers and details in the fur, and lifted out larger highlights in the fur with a detail eraser. For the more fluffy shoulder fur, I used a battery eraser to lift out highlights and add texture. I applied multiple layers of short fur strokes to build up dimension and depth over the entire piece, building from light to dark. I post photos of my progress online, and I love it when people say they feel like they could sink their hands into the fur!

About Dina Kowal:

A self-taught artist, Dina has worked for over a decade as a brand ambassador, licensed illustrator. and educator in the paper arts industry. She has recently expanded her work to include commissioned portraits as well as original colored pencil and mixed media art. She lives with her husband and four children in rural Missouri.

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by Greg Smith
10 x 11 inches
Prismacolor pencil on Crescent off-white matboard. (Photo used with permission of client.)

Liese was a commissioned portrait. The only reference the client could manage for me was a 1.5x1.5 inch black & white photo from a high school year book. Apart from being told the subject's eye color, I was left to my own devices to determine skin tone, and color of flowers and clothes. Up to that time this was my hardest challenge and I regard it as one of my favorite pieces. It was also one of my first uses of Prismacolor pencils after decades of working only with Derwent color pencils. I was pleasantly surprised at the "buttery" texture of the Prismacolor and how it helped in creating a relatively smooth skin for the subject. I am completely self-taught, having never attended art classes or workshops, or learning the use of solvents or blending agents.

About Greg Smith:

Greg is from Sydney, Australia and is retired from a 30-plus year career as a graphic designer in the publishing and printing industries. He was encouraged from a very early age to develop his artistic gift, eventually settling on color pencil as his preferred medium. He is regarded as an accomplished portrait artist of virtually any subject.

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These artworks were published in the March 2019 issue of COLOR Magazine.

Download the 40-page digital version of the magazine for just $3.89, or subscribe and save 15%. Each issue is packed with step-by-step projects, critiques, colored pencil tips, artist profiles and much more.

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